Surely we can change

This morning, I had a rude awakening to my mom lecturing me. My door was closed, but I was already awake. I had somewhere to be at 9am, and because I hadn’t left my room (or the house) by 8:50am, my mom took it upon herself to say the following. I’ll do my best to provide a rough English translation to her words.

“Why won’t you wake up? You’re always like this – waiting until the last minute to do everything. You’re going to turn out just like your uncle. He was always like this, being lazy and waiting until the end. If you keep doing this, you’re going to spend the rest of your life losing out and coming in second.”

Needless to say, not the best good morning I have ever received. I left the house for my 9am appointment just a little after that, but I chose not to respond to my mom while she was shouting about this.

On the drive back home from my appointment, I started reflecting on how best to respond to my mom. Of course, I wanted to lash out and point out the inconsistencies in her opinion, how they’re particularly offensive/harmful, and how judgmental she is. But I was listening to this song In my car, and it reminded me of how we are intended to love people as they are and be edifying in the process. For the LORD’s greatest commands are written in Matthew 22:36-40

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

I’ve been reading crazy love as part of my 2-a-day devotional times. One of the passages I read two days ago that struck me is written here:

“The fact is, I need God to help me love God. And if I need His help to help me love Him, a perfect being, I definitely need His help to love other, fault-filled humans. Something mysterious, even supernatural must happen for genuine love for God to grow in our hearts. The Holy Spirit must move in our lives.”

As I was reflecting in the car, I asked God to intervene on my behalf. I know that I am totally incapable of loving well and righteously. I need his steadfast love to overcome my sinful desires. I naturally wanted to oust my mom’s opinions and assert myself as more knowledgeable and capable. But I know God would rather me be a loving servant to my parents who do not know Christ. My example to them everyday can and should be a testament of God’s grace in my life. Here are some of the lyrics that spoke directly to me.

“And I don’t know
What to do with a love like that
And I don’t know
How to be a love like that

When all the love in the world
Is right here among us
And hatred too
And so we must choose
What our hands will do”


Parents and Missions (long rant)

talking with my parents about missions is frustrating. At first, safety seems to be the biggest issue, but it’s not. At first, talking about SEASP, the response I get is that I need the government doesn’t want people there sharing the gospel. Therefore, you’ll get kidnapped and who knows what? Second, they said the summer project website is just a flashy website and that if I do get kidnapped, epic will have forced us to sign some petition saying it’s not their fault if anything happens. third, they said that people will try and trick you in SEA so they can get close to you and take you away. They’ll try to convince me that they’re accepting what I’m sharing and then try and get to me and blackmail my parents. When bringing up alternate projects to safer places, my dad said they’d talk about it again, to see whether it was worth it. 

Then onto the topic of money. My dad’s first comment? How can the trip cost 4100? I brought up the example of someone else’s trip that was 20 days for 2100. How can a 6-week trip not cost 4100? My dad said that it’s a luxury to for me to go overseas and spend that much money to do this. While it’s a “noble cause,” you don’t need to go and risk your life for other people. You need to think about yourself, and this isn’t worth it. On top of all this, he said that because it’s a luxury, that he wouldn’t support me financially for this trip at all, no matter where the trip is to. When I graduate my from optometry school, if I want to do it then, then they’ll support me financially. 

However, neither of these issues is what really frustrates me. What frustrates me most is that my parents and I cannot see eye to eye on God and who he is. I feel like I’m waging a constant war with my parents, like they’re the enemy and I have to crush their spirits so that I can share with people about Jesus. I feel like they’re a wall or a obstacle to overcome. I seriously envy people who have parents who are believers. In this same situation, that child can still appeal to the truth that is in the bible with parents who are believers. If the parents continue to reject the notion of going on missions, it will be on the parents’ lack of faith and belief in God, not the child’s fault. I have no common ground when it comes talking about my priorities. To them, their question to me is, “Does optometry school come first? Or does serving God come first?” Frankly, they won’t understand that those two are one and the same, and the response I get from them when I say “serving God” is explosive. Of course they’ll think this is a luxury! They can’t see how incredibly important it is to pursue a relationship with Jesus. They don’t know that life is about more than just your security, safety, comfort, and status. My parents don’t boast of success or riches; they want a simple life without any strings attached. But their are riches stored in heaven that we’re promised, and I want them to see that.

In a nutshell, right now, and for the last 4 years, I feel like I’ve lived my life in a way where I need to appease my parents to survive. But thinking this way gives me guilt because it makes me recognize my selfishness and ungratefulness. 

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Safety First!

I thought money was going to be my parents’ main concern, but it was actually about safety. I wish I could impart on them the faith I have that I’ll be safe in SE Asia. I understand the lengths to which staff go to in order to guarantee the safety of all the students, but it’s difficult to relay that to my parents. My faith rests in God alone, but because my rentals don’t believe in God, I can’t appeal to them on that basis. 

There’s no common ground. 

God please continue to work in mysterious ways in their heart. Also please keep working in my own to trust you; not by logic, but by faith. 

Give me a Break!

I’ve thought a lot about Big Break. During spring break each year, Epic has organized a trip to Panama City Beak, Florida to attend a evangelism conference. Over 1000 students attend each session to go out onto the beach to share the gospel with the spring breakers. I didn’t go two years ago – didn’t really feel like I missed out. I didn’t go last year – I felt a little bit more guilt, but nothing more than that. This year was practically my last chance to go, but again I wasn’t compelled to go. So, why?

I think I was largely unmotivated to go because I was weary about having a conversation with my parents about money. I know that the $721 for the conference this year isn’t money out of my own pocket, but the conversations about understanding money or raising support were what made me apprehensive about even asking. To be honest, I didn’t even end up talking to them about fundraising for Big Break because I was so sure they’d say no. Then, compound that fear with my lack of enthusiasm about going to Big Break, and I end up feeling like the trip isn’t worth it. I’ve done evangelism on my own campus for 2 1/2 years; why do I need to pay money to go to Florida to do the same thing when the point is to equip you at the beach with tools you can bring back to your campus? The short amount of time to raise money wasn’t very encouraging either. I had all about given up hope on being able to do any sort of missions trip.

I was convinced if I were to go on some sort of trip, I’d have to convince my parents to let me go. Whether it was with my words, or through argument, the only way I would be able to go on any missions trip or conference is if I logically convinced them. In my mind, I had three “cards” I felt like I could play with my parents.
1. you didn’t let me go to onething, so, therefore you should let me go to ___.
2. 4 years ago, you said that if I got into optometry school, you’d let me go to the unite for sight trip. Well, now I’ve gotten in.
3. I got into optometry school, so please stop worrying and let me do this. You have no reason to say no.
I could not bring myself to say any of these though. It felt too much like I was trying to manipulate the situation in my favor. The sheer fact that I can verbalize any of these reasons made me uncomfortable. Didn’t seem realistic, nor did it feel right.

So, last night at breakaway, Ben said something like, we distort our reality to match the way we want our lives to work. For instance, we convince ourselves our sins aren’t as bad because we don’t go as far, or we don’t sin as the other guy. Or, we try to barter with God. If I give God this, then he should give me this. If I give up this part of my life, he should honor me for glorifying him by giving me something else. Ironically, Ben stuart was saying, God holds all the cards. We don’t have anything of worth that we can use to barter with Him. So, why do we distort the reality? 

So, as I think about the conversation about money with my parents (the one I didn’t have), and the desire to go on big break (the one I was lacking), and the manipulative thinking I’ve been holding back on (because of the Holy Spirit), it makes me realize that I really do have an uphill battle in this area of faith.

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