Standing Up For Yourself Doesn’t Feel Good

Despite what I’ve heard on daytime talk shows

Maybe some people find it liberating. I suppose it depends on your value system.

If I could go back in time and undo it, I would.

I did it because I made a big deal out of something that seems to represent all the things in life that I am discontented with. I was tired of not getting my way. I really thought they would understand, but they didn’t. They don’t understand me anymore than I understand them, even after all this “communication.” And why would I expect her to change? Why would I expect any mercy? She’s not even a Christian, but I am. I shouldn’t have done it.

There’s an old, kind of silly saying, “It’s better to be kind than right.” I think that saying is true. If I had been kind instead of right, I don’t think I would feel so lousy right now. 

I would rather not talk about the big problems with the world, but I think it’s safe to say that sometimes, with petty little problems that other people would dream to have, maybe it’s best to let the molehills be molehills. 




Calling all Musicians

I have written a soul-train sort of Gospel song, which makes little sense because

1. That is not even my taste in music

2. It’s not like I sat down and tried to write a song. It just came to me when I was lying awake in bed

3. I’m not a songwriter!!!

So I’m going to need some help, and I thought I would ask my readers first.

The vision I have for the song is a very theatrical, black-church choir sort of thing. Not to be racist, but that is the only thing that comes to mind when I look at the song, it’s that style. But I really can’t be all that picky. It’s not like I even wrote the song, God just sort of gave it to me, and now I’ve just got to find a way to show the world, or at least, a few people. Hard as it is for me to give up the reigns of anything, even things that are not mine, I suppose I’ll give up this song, and it can be whatever God wants. 

Please email me if you think you may be interested or if you know anyone! God bless you all!

Why Writing Essays Makes Me Sad

And writing in general makes me happy?

I’ve been working on a novel that is about myself, which is weird, super fun, and scary at the same time. I am definitely putting too much of myself into it (Can I get a Picture of Dorian Gray anyone?), but I guess that’s okay. You see, previously I have tried writing about other people, or writing about just one aspect of myself. But the fact is, I don’t know about other people, and I don’t know how a character can only be one aspect of myself without being something else. So before I try jumping into other people’s shoes, maybe i ought to get comfortable in my own skin.

Here’s the premise:

High school senior Julie Ashbury wants more than anything to descend from her ivory tower, but she’s deathly afraid of heights, and pretty much everything else. Naive, spoiled, socially awkward, and perpetually paranoid, Julie gracelessly stumbles through life. She believes that attending college far away from home in New York City will change her life forever, but her parents have other plans. She embarks on a journey of her own to discover what life is about, but she doesn’t discover much that she didn’t already know. She meets the same God that she has known her whole life, and the same humanity that she has always struggled to interact with. Fear is what has been holding her back, but fear is a part of her. How can she let go of it?

By the way, much of the plot of this book and the supporting characters are somewhat fabricated.

Compare that with this humanities essay that I have to write. I am arguing in this essay that Saint Augustine was converted to Christianity, and the kings of some long-forgtten dynasty were not. But I don’t like this. How could I possibly know who was converted and who was not?

What’s more, for someone who calls herself a writer, I suck at these essays. I got a B- on the last one. Not even a B+! At least no one grades me on my novels, just rejection letters. Also, I think that my TA thinks that I am biased. I also suspect everyone in my class knows that I am Christian and they don’t like me because I’m not perfect.

I don’t want to judge kings anymore. You know what, I don’t think I should be judging anyone, because the way you judged is the way you are judged. Sure, a lot of people are idolatrous and greedy. Sure there are probably valid criticisms of the early Catholic church “Fathers” and the famous Christians of our day, but I don’t know what’s in their hearts. What I do know for certain is that I am screwed up.

Satan tells me that I am so screwed up and self destructive that I don’t even deserve to live anymore. But why should I crucify myself when Jesus crucified himself for me? What am I trying to prove? And what can my sin do but shrivel up and die in the glorious light of day? And what temptation is there that cannot be resisted? How can faith do anything but help me to attain the highest wishes of my spirit, while shunning the vile and base impulses that are so different from the goodness that the difference cannot even be overstated?

I am not sure how I went from promoting my book to talking about my personal battle with Satan, but, consider yourself welcomed to my whacky existence.


Sometimes I Feel Like A Chained Dog

Why God, do you daily instill in me a love of the higher pursuits, and yet deprive me of the means to attain them?

Oh that I could know your will for me and accomplish it!

Why can’t I be free God? Tell me now, what’s wrong with me?

Why, continually, must I howl at a bright moon that I cannot touch?

Why am I only allowed to bark and growl from my safe dog house, why can I run in pursuit of the enemy only until the chain tightens up?

Is death the only release from this condition? Or will it be a number of years? How many years? Get me out right now! But no, not too soon, I pity my captor…

And what if I do become free? What then? Will it spoil me? Will I take it for granted and carry out my own will? Will the flame of righteousness that occasionally lights my soul be extinguished forever? Is longing the only thing that binds me to You?

The things of this life bring me so little joy sometimes. If only I could taste the cool waters of Your mercy or the hearty bread of Your being! If only I could catch just a glimpse of you! When will I finally enter Your presence?

But until then, the Peace of my soul, the pearl of my treasure chest, the captor of my heart, let me yearn for you humbly. Lord, let me be Your servant, Your handmaiden, Your bride. 

Until I see you in paradise, let me sigh after you and dream about you (if I can’t hold you tonight, sorry I thought of that song, I hope this isn’t some kind of copyright infringement). 

Let me continue to howl at the milky moon that You created, and bark at Satan until my voice grows hoarse. And let me know, deep down in my heart, that unlike all my other vain dreams, this one will be even more glorious in reality than in imagination. 




The Cynical Gospel Reader

My reaction to the first part of the book of John was, “Why is it so different?”

“Is this even accurate? Why did he turn the water into wine anyway?”

Not, “Praise God! Hallelujah another side of our blessed Jesus Christ! This little light of mine…”

I wish it was closer to the second reaction. 

“Why is Jesus going to Jerusalem so early? What did he turn the tables of the moneychangers twice, why is he doing it right now? Why didn’t the paralytic fall from the ceiling? Why does he say this? Why does he say that?”

But the fact is, once we start questioning one book of the Bible, wondering if it is completely accurate, then we have embarked on an extremely slippery slope and basically we will plunge headlong into disbelief. 

Losing faith just isn’t an option for me. I know that the true life cannot exist outside of faith. I have experienced enough to know this much. I can’t go back to that dark place. 

Then what do I do? Well, maybe I ought to stop trying to get Jesus on the witness stand. The fact is, if we are to believe that he is the son of God, then why isn’t it possible that he did many extraordinary things in his short time on earth? Maybe he did overturn the tables of the moneychangers twice. And I’m sure he was capable of being in two places at once. What are time and space to God? Didn’t God create them? Why does Jesus need alibis for us to believe him? Why are we so concerned with the logistics and we ignore the message? 

Of course, if you don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God, then I suppose none of this makes any sense. I’m sure there are Christians that say things that make sense, but I suppose I’m not one of those people right now. If it seems that I am implying that the narrow view of the world that we call logic is an incomplete one, then call me crazy. I’m sorry for being so crazy. 

Actually, I’m not!

Where’s Joseph? I want a dream interpreted please!

If it’s not already interpreted. I think sometimes we stress out about interpretations too much. If you interpret something a certain way and if the interoperation wasn’t Satan’s (okay, maybe I just scared you unnecessarily), then why couldn’t it have been an interoperation from God? Who’s to say that there can’t be more than one interpretation of something? Isn’t it possible that our God is a very complex being?

Interpretation applies to everything of course, but right now I am thinking of the BIble, and a dream I had the other night. I wouldn’t be talking about it if I didn’t think it was special. It was a very vivid dream, one of the most visually and spatially accurate dreams I’ve had. My house looked like it does in real life, and there were helicopters circling around all the time, which actually does happen to me (I’m not a fugitive, okay, it just happens). But in this dream I actually was sort of a fugitive! You see, the Chinese authorities were after me.  Random, right? Of course, there was kind of a subplot in the dream that was completely unrelated, and there was another setting, but here’s what I think is the important part. The Chinese were hunting me down with helicopters and they had my house surrounded. Which makes no sense because I don’t live in China, but it was a dream okay! Naturally, I wanted to hide, so I frantically searched. But no where seemed suitable. A closet- no, they would most certainly look through there. But I thought of my old toy box that was inside one of our closets, and it is in real life as well. Maybe they wouldn’t open the toy box. So I tried to fit in it. I remember worrying about spiders biting my butt which is funny because I know that there are probably some critters in my real toy box. But I couldn’t fit, my legs kept sticking out, especially since there were some toys taking up space in there. Dare I take the toys out and try again? No, that would be too suspicious. They would see all the toys strewn around and wonder why they weren’t put away. At that point, I wondered what I was trying to hide for. They were going to find me eventually. And it seemed like the right thing to do, the Godly thing even, to surrender and face my punishment for whatever it was I did. In the dream, there was no indication at all of why I was being hunted down by the Chinese. So I decided to surrender, and that’s when the dream ended and I woke up.

God usually doesn’t play a role in my dreams. Sure, my conscience is occasionally present in dreams, telling me to stop drinking so much. But it seemed that God was really in this one. I mean, He told me not to hide when it would have been going against every instinct of mine!

You can say that it’s just a silly dream and it has no real meaning, but I don’t really think so. I wondered, after I awoke, why the Chinese were after me in the first place, and then it occurred to me- maybe I was preaching the Gospel.

Epiphany! Lights flashing! Everything makes sense! No more worrying about career paths! My life’s goal is to preach the Gospel in China. It actually makes a little bit of sense if you think about it. Why not China? I am half Chinese. I don’t know the language, but I am somewhat familiar with the culture. I probably know more about China than some other places.

I read once in a pamphlet by Watchman Nee, who, ironically was a Chinese who was imprisoned for preaching the Gospel, that if you have a burden from God, you’ll know it. You won’t have to discover it. But if that’s the case, why am I doubting this plan? Because what if it’s not my calling in life? What if God would rather have me here? Why should I rock the boat so much? And how am I ever going to learn Chinese?!

But at the same time, what could be wrong with it? If the crazy idea entered my mind and there seems to be justification, who’s to say it’s not a sign, just because it wasn’t accompanied by a burning bush? If it’s wrong to want to share the light, I don’t want to be right!

Wow, that was corny. But anyway, I’m not sure. I know I should be sure, but the thing is, I don’t feel sure. Maybe it’s because I’m just kidding myself. Or, more likely, maybe it’s because I just don’t have enough faith. That’s probably it. That’s probably the source of all my problems, a lack of faith.


By the way, if you have time, please pray for my mom! She is not a believer yet, and also, she is having pain in her temples and other pains.


Waiting For “It”

Hope, that is what keeps up going. For years, I’ve been telling myself that it’ll get better. I was sure that “It” was going to get better in college. But the fact is, I don’t feel that “it” is getting better, and I don’t think “It” is, and what’s more, I don’t know if I’m exactly sure what “it” is and if I should have any part in it.

I suppose “it” changes. I suppose “It” is mostly comprised of things that are not important at all.

Lately, I’ve been really upset/stressed about future career plans. I know it sounds ridiculous because I’m not even close to graduating, but I suppose I’ve let myself be swayed by the motion.

“You must network! You must get internships! You must get involved! You must get good grades, get a job, oh and have some fun while you’re at it too.”

My response: I can’t do any of that! I’m being kept down, kept down I tell you! Ugh, how frustrating! Don’t you think I’d do anything to jam my foot in the door? And what’s more, my grades aren’t good and I’m not having fun. I feel so lonely, my life is a joyless waste of time…

Why is this a big deal for me? I mean, it makes sense why other people are concerned, but why does this stuff matter to me? Why am I stressing out about it? Even if none of this works out and I have no money and no job after I graduate, I could probably just live with my parents for a while. So it’s really not a life or death situation at all. And what’s more, this kind of worldly stuff should not be my goal anyway. Because of the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.

I always know in the back of my head that none of this matters, and yet I still have a hard time convincing the front of my head.

Why do I sometimes think I lead a wasted, joyless life anyway? Do I even need to explain why this is not true?

Yesterday, I talked to someone. I mean, I really talked to this person. That’s something that doesn’t happen to me very often. It seems I rarely get out of the small talk realm. She asked me more questions than most people, and I ended up telling her a lot of things that I usually don’t tell people upon first meeting them. Not super personal things, but not trivial things either. I don’t know, she just seemed to get me. She even said I was “funny.” Most people don’t know what to make of me. I suppose that’s really my fault. I should try being myself every once in a while. I’m just not good at playing a role. I’m going to be weird no matter what, why not be weird in the way that is most natural to me?

It’s things like this that are the joy in life. It’s the one time out of ten that you meet someone who seems to appreciate you a little. It’s the one homework assignment that you really understand. It’s the one day that the Bible made sense. It’s the time that you almost get slapped by a turning semi truck, but you don’t. It’s eating fish. It’s playing chess with your father. It’s picking a piece of fruit from God’s creation. The joy is not in “it.” The joy is not “The American Dream” (which is a little different for everyone).

But above all else, the joy is in knowing that whatever happens, whatever in the world happens, that God is with you, and that He loves you, and that He will let you serve him forever and ever in bliss. “It” is a pain. “It” isn’t what I need. If I got everything in the world I ever dreamed of, what would I have? If I had friends who really liked me, if I was free to do whatever I want, if I got my picture in magazines, if I had all the money in the world, what would I have if I didn’t have God? And what would I have that I don’t already have now?



The Parable of the Ten Pounds

Since I have started to feel a little sick, I have been worrying about the future. How will I take my tests? What will people think if I get salmonella again? I have been fighting, eating healthier foods and herbs, etc. But what is more important than the health of the body is the health of the soul.

What I should have instead been thinking of, all along, is how to share the Good News in whatever small way possible. I have been given the truth by the grace of God. Why not share it?

There is a parable that I think is relevant to this, unless I have been misinterpreting it. You should read it, it’s in Luke 19. Anyway, a nobleman gives ten slaves a pound each. The master commends the one who turned the pound into five pounds and the one who turned a pound into ten pounds. But one slave wraps his pound in cloth. He says, “For I was afraid of you, because you are a harsh man; you take what you did not deposit and reap what you did not sow” (Luke 19:21). This slave gets his pound taken from him.

You may think that is unjust. After all, the slave kept his money safe, didn’t he? Sure, he didn’t earn any interest, but look, he kept it safe and sound. What’s wrong with his master anyway? That is the same objection that the slave had against the master. As you can see in the part quoted above, the slave thought the master was somewhat unscrupulous, accusing him of reaping what he did not sow. In the same way that we may think, secretly, that God is unjust. Maybe that is what stops us from sharing His word sometimes. We are afraid of offending others. We are reluctant to defend a God who judges people based on the way they live (although he also loves).

Enough of this! Let’s take the apology out of apologetics! Why should we apologize for the fact that God is sovereign? Why must we dance around the truth? What will they think of me? Won’t they think I’m overbearing or weird or a hypocrite?

I know that’s my thought process.

Not right now, though! Not today. In real life, I may hide in my corner of cowardice, but not here! Jesus is Lord! I dedicate my whole being to Him! Who’s going to stop me anyway?

How a Chicken Skewer Changed My Life

Not because it was so delicious that I had to rethink everything. It wasn’t bad, besides that it was undercooked. Well, let me explain.

So there I was, leaving the library, reflecting on The Kingdom of God is Within You  which I would Recommend with a capital R, by the way. So I was thinking about how all our lives are filled with such insidious lies, how everything that we know and love and are accustomed to is so vastly different from God and His truth. And in the spirit of this, I decided to avoid the capitalist’s food court and get a chicken skewer from this booth whose sign had the word “mission” in it. I was down, so I bought one, liked it, and then went back for another, and a cookie. I wish that I hadn’t asked for the cookie or the second chicken now. I should have just let them keep the money for free since they were church kids, like they almost thought I was going to do. Sure that would have been weird, but well, not quite as weird as what happened next.

The second chicken skewer was questionable. I mean, one of the pieces was quite undercooked in the center.  I just sort of ate around the worst part. I don’t know why I took the chance in the first place. Why couldn’t I have just thrown it away and gotten something else? I knew it was a bad idea, why did I do it? I feel like such an idiot. And then I ate a cookie. A cookie is the last thing you need after eating questionable poultry!

And then, I became plagued by one of my many ridiculous moral dilemmas. Should I report the problem to the people at the booth? I knew it was going to be intensely awkward, especially since I had talked to the people there while I was buying it and they would remember me. For my own sake, I really didn’t want to go. Why complain? I’m just too shy for that. However, I was afraid that the problem would go unnoticed and someone would get sick. So I finally forced myself to go back, but I’m sure that it did no good and I only offended them. My conscience was not released like I thought it would be. Honestly, I don’t know why at times I am so conscientious and at other times, unscrupulous. 

Soon, I started to feel a little sick. I still feel a little sick. Well, it serves me right. I don’t regret trying to help the missionary booth, but I do regret feeling smug about it, and I suppose I also regret my cowardice. If I thought that alerting them was the right thing to do, why didn’t I do it right away, and do it in such a way that they wouldn’t get offended at all? And why did I eat the chicken in the first place when I saw it was undercooked?!

I was half-asleep driving home, and when I finally made it back safe, I rested in bed for a little while, reflecting on my life, God. I know that I might be overreacting a little, but at the same time, I’m not, because life can end at any moment. People die from sickness every day. Not to make light of it, but I think it’s ironic that often the most dangerous things are certain bacteria, which are so small that they can’t even be seen with the naked eye, and yet they can cause more destruction than big things like guns and armies and governments. I don’t know, just a thought. Anyway, I thought about life and death, and I came to the conclusion that in some ways, It may be kind of nice to die, because I would finally get to be with God. It would also be nice, I suppose, to have people, hopefully, appreciating me for once, and remembering me fondly, but I suppose this is a vain and self-indulgent reason to wish for the end of the life that God has so graciously given. And my life isn’t so bad, I don’t know why I complain so much. 

But at the very same time, I don’t really want to die, because I feel like I still have things that I want to do. I suppose that I worry about dying a little, mainly what people would think of me if I died for so silly a reason as a chicken skewer.

Of course, for the next couple weeks, I will be thinking about this chicken skewer and wondering if and when the salmonella will set in. Actually, I had salmonella as a small child and was hospitalized. Maybe that is why I fear it, because I am told of my light brush with death as a child. Well, I don’t want to deceive, I wasn’t that close to death, but not that far either, I guess you could say. 

I should always remember that life can end at any time, that life is too short to worry, and that I must rely on God for everything. Maybe this will also help me remember that I should be making more of an effort to do what I was really placed on this earth to do instead of “chickening out” all the time. Whatever it is, exactly, that I was put on this each to do.