To my 23-year old self

Bright eyed, full of hope and possibilities for what the world could be, and how you can be an agent of positive change in that world. Discoveries are endless, internally and all around. At times, opposition and expectations feel like concrete walls that prevent you from doing what you want, who you want to be and where you want to be. A cage that you somehow need to escape. Oh sweet girl, you’ll figure out eventually that’s not always the case.

It feels like forever since I saw you looking back in the mirror. In reality it’s only been almost five years and we still have a lot of growing, maturing to do. Every day is a day for change if you let yourself have that luxury. Now, I initially thought of sharing with you insights that may direct you in the path that you are now, but that defeats the purpose of the experience. So instead, here are lyrics to a song that may speak to you in different seasons:

Keep me in the moment by Jeremy Camp

I’ve been thinking ’bout time and where does it go

How can I stop my life from passing me by, I don’t know

I’ve been thinking ’bout family and how it’s going so fast

Will I wake up one morning just wishing that I could go back?

I’ve been thinking ’bout lately, maybe

I can make a change and let you change me

So, with all of my heart this is my prayer

Singing oh Lord, keep me in the moment

Help me live with my eyes wide open

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me

Singing oh Lord, show me what matters

Throw away what I’m chasing after

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me (what you have for me)

Keep me in the moment

Oh, keep me in the moment

Keep me in the moment

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me (oh)

When I wake up in the morning

Lord, search my heart

Don’t let me stray

I just wanna stay where you are

All I got is one shot, one try

One go around in this beautiful life

Nothing is wasted when everything’s placed in your hands

Singing oh Lord, keep me in the moment

Help me live with my eyes wide open

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me (what you have for me)

Singing oh Lord, show me what matters

Throw away what I’m chasing after

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me (what you have for me)

Keep me in the moment (keep me in the moment)

Lord keep me in the moment (keep me in the moment)

Keep me in the moment

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me

I’ve been thinking about heaven

And the promise you hold

So, it’s all eyes on you

Until the day you call me home

Singing oh Lord, keep me in the moment

Help me live with my eyes wide open

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me

(I don’t wanna miss, I don’t wanna miss)

Singing oh Lord, show me what matters

Throw away what I’m chasing after (oh)

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me (yeah)

Keep me in the moment

Oh, keep me in the moment

Keep me in the moment

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me

Keep me in the moment (keep me in the moment)

Oh, keep me in the moment (keep me in the moment)

Keep me in the moment

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me (what you have for me)

Maturity doesn’t just mean having responsibilities [tasks] and dealing with expectations. Maturity is seeing all the possibilities and discerning between the voices in your head to make choices with full acknowledgement of the consequences and the values you are standing on. Maturity is daring to live your life greatly with integrity. 

Always, 

K

P.S. “Now therefore stand still and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes.” 1 Samuel 12:16

Dear lovers and fighters

I started taking kickboxing lessons a few years ago to fulfil a curiosity I’ve had as a teenager. There was something about how the fighters moved around the boxing ring and the impact each hit had that made me feel a victorious uproar. There was something about the resilience and strength fighters had between every round, more excruciating than the one before. Pain was inevitable, fighting through it was an option. 

This post is not meant to glamorize the world of boxing or mixed martial arts or kickboxing. There are legitimate precautions when training and fighting that should be considered. I’m not ignoring that and neither should you. No, this post is about lovers and fighters because we are one and the same. It takes a lot of heart to fight and to love. Most of all, it takes an unshakeable, unbreakable source of stability to hold our ground when things seem to fall apart. 

The first thing they taught us in kickboxing was how to stand, not how to jab or do a cool roundhouse kick. Why? Because how we stand has an impact on agility, the power of a hit and whether or not we keep standing after being hit. In so many ways, the way we stand has an impact on how well we fight through a battle, literally, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.

What do you stand for? 

A simple yet provoking question we’ve all seen in social media, billboards, TV commercials, or even election propaganda. These four simple words strung together speak to the core of our values and who we are as people. Whether we are easily swayed to get a bold sleeve tattoo or experience FOMO from seeing edited travel adventures on Instagram. It all comes back to the same place. So what happens when the fight gets tougher and longer? What happens when we don’t think things could get worse only to find that they certainly can? What happens when you feel like you’ve given it everything you have but nothing seems to be enough? 

Where do you turn to when life feels disappointing, unfair and downright confusing? 

Late at night I was sitting by myself at my apartment, my gaze fixed on the floor and my head laying on my sofa cushions. Tears started streaming down my face while music was blasting on the background, partly to drown the silence but mostly so that my next door neighbors wouldn’t hear my groaning. The only thought that echoed in my mind was, “I don’t know what’s worse, rejection, grief or betrayal?” I didn’t expect to have the privilege to experience all of those things within the same year, let alone in the same sentence. Bruises on my shins and an overworked shoulder didn’t seem as painful anymore. But it was a privilege because that much pain was an invitation to heal. That much pain was an invitation to grow more compassionate. That much pain was an invitation to expand God’s love and mercy. 

Fighters are taught to fight through the pain and to use every last bit of human strength they have left – to give it their all. Some have an innate inclination to keep fighting, a fighting spirit. I am a fighter. Always have been and for sure not by my own design. God made me to be a fighter, but He also made me to be a lover so that when all of my human strength is completely depleted I can turn to Him. 

The book of Ruth tells a story of a faithful Moabite woman who showed great loyalty, tenacity and integrity. Ruth became a widow early in her marriage but chose to stay faithful to God and her late husband’s family despite hunger, discrimination and extreme poverty. A lot of theologians interpret her story with great emphasis on her unwavering faithfulness and though I agree with those interpretations, when I reflect on Ruth’s story I picture a fighter. It would have been easier for Ruth to leave her mother-in-law, and it would have been easier to walk away from the marriage covenant that she made with God when her husband died. She’s human like us and would have had to fight through her grief, temptations and doubts. Yet she didn’t give in. Ruth chose to fight through multiple rounds and came out a redeemed woman of faith. 

I’m not Ruth. But like Ruth, I have my own fight to bear. The reality is, the enemy will whisper and try to distract my focus from the transformation that God is doing in my heart. The enemy continues to do so every day. And when he does, these are the fighting words that I will choose to remember:

God is good even when circumstances feel cruel. 
God loves me in ways I may not understand sometimes. 
God has already redeemed all of us through Jesus Christ. 
God will give me the strength, patience, grace and empathy that I didn’t think I had more of. 
God will give me more love I didn’t think I can give others.

Always,

K

P.S. “She is not afraid of tribulation, for all her household is covered in dual garments of righteousness and grace.” Proverbs 31:21 (Passions Translation)

Re: Delayed Delivery

I’ve looked at the Amazon order tracker everyday since my order was confirmed, while being fully aware that deliveries are delayed because of the global pandemic. How irrational is that? It only took me 14 days to admit that I’m absolutely stricken with the need for instant gratification even when I know that somehow the order will eventually be fulfilled. 

Instant versus delayed gratification is not a new concept. Actually it is so ubiquitous that we often forget that it exists in our everyday lives. We want something, anything really, and we want it at the moment that we want it. So what happens when the thing that we want will take longer or would require more effort or would require for us to overcome a challenge? Does it mean that the thing that we want will never come? Does it mean that we should settle for what’s within our reach? 

Here’s the thing I’m not supposed to say but will say – We don’t know and we may never fully know. 

God promises us goodness and blessings throughout the entire Bible. And throughout the entire Bible we can read stories upon stories of men doubtful of His promises mixed in with characters/disciples exemplifying incredible faithfulness. Why is that? Some might say that the circumstances we are dealt with makes it feel impossible that His promises are coming. Others may wonder why God allows pain and heartache in our lives to begin with when He has unimaginable power to eliminate it.  

Here’s the other thing that I’m not supposed to say but will say – We don’t trust beyond what we conceive to be possible, ignoring that our view of the world is imperfect. 

Imagine losing your family, your financial wealth and contracting a disease that drastically changed your appearance. Then include losing everything else you might care about. How do you think you would feel? The Book of Job tells a story of a man who experienced exactly that, yet he didn’t lose faith in God. Although, I’ll admit that at some point in the story Job did question why God allowed this much misfortune. He questioned because Job is human. He is like one of us – only seeing the present devastation, relishing on the riches of the past, and feeling completely anxious of the future he doesn’t have control over. This may look like an extreme example, but in reality isn’t this what I had been doing by checking my Amazon order tracker every day? 

The package will come when it’s meant to come. God has the most sophisticated fulfillment and logistics system. We just don’t see how the supply chain is progressing. Our job is to make sure that we’re ready to receive the delivery when it does come. 

Always, 

K

P.S. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

Saving the best for last.

This random thought dawned on me when I was brainstorming ideas for an essay. I looked over my right shoulder and noticed that on top of my books from last semester an almost empty box of Ferrero Rocher rested. My dear friend gave them to me on Valentine’s Day and you know what? There’s still ONE left! I specifically remembered thinking that I was going to save one just in case something bad happens and I needed a little boost. I thought that by now someone would have eaten it when I wasn’t around, but I’m pleasantly surprised to say that no one has…yet.

Image

This got me thinking about how often I wait until I finish everything else on my plate with the exception of the very thing I wanted to eat in the first place. I always seemed to save what I wanted the most for last. Why is that? What am I waiting for? I kept these thoughts at the back of my mind and it would re-surface every now and then when I went out with some friends and family. Everyone’s eating habits varied. But how much did each of our eating habits transferred into our habits beyond eating?

This idea came to mind again while tucking away my last white chocolate and macadamia nut cookie during my study break for an exam with a friend. She blatantly asked me, “why do you do that? Why don’t you just eat it now?” We talked about this idea for a moment. It became evident to me during our conversation how relative our eating habits are to our personalities and behaviours about other things outside of food. I’m going to use myself as the subject for this inquiry simply because it’s much easier to scrutinize my behaviours considering I have some grasp of my justifications for them.

Let’s just start with eating that last piece of Ferrero Rocher or really eating the last piece of whatever it is I want the most at the time. Like what I said, I was saving this piece of delectable chocolate goodness for another day, if I’m being honest here, for a bad-a really bad- day. I find that this is closely related to how I shop for pretty much anything and with relationships. So let’s say I’m going to Walmart to buy a notebook or a pen and obviously there’s multiple choices varying in brands, styles, prices and colours. I stand there, looking at every single one of them before making my top 3 or so choices knowing that within my top three is the one I want and usually get. Granted most days I don’t usually go for what I regularly get because I seem to always want to try different things, but come on we’re talking about a notebook/pen here. Either way you’re going to need your hand to write with it or hold it. It doesn’t change why you want that thing to begin with. So, why the struggle? I know what I want, why not just get it? If you read a few sentences before this I think you’d know the answer. There’s two-choices and trying everything.

It seems like I am self-inclined to try everything else on my plate before eating what I want to eat because of these two reasons as well. I want to try everything because, well, I haven’t tried them before. Meanwhile, I eat whatever item last, despite of really wanting to it, because I already know what it taste like. I already know that it tastes really good. The same thing with choices, especially nowadays when we have so many. I know which choice, is the safe choice, the more reliable choice, but I don’t seem to want to take it. It’s kinda like taste testing every flavour in an ice cream shop before getting a brain freeze to tell you which flavour you liked the most. Sound familiar? Doesn’t this have some societal implications of consumerism pervading our individuality? Just something to think about.

While I’m at it, it seems that this mindset crept its way to how I behave in my relationships, in this context, romantic relationships. Reflecting on this, I feel kinda bad about some of them. Let’s just say, I’m not the easiest person to persuade that I can or want to commit to you. It takes time and effort. I know I mentioned this somewhere before? Probably in my other blog’s post. Anyway, point is, this whole idea of saving the last piece, the piece that I really wanted, for last somewhat reflects how I interact with my relationships in the same sense that I always seem to try to look for something more than what I already know I want. It’s kinda like always wanting to know if I can find something-someone-better. And in retrospect you can always find something or someone better, BUT just because something or someone is better, it doesn’t make them the right choice. I can’t tell you exactly what the ‘right’ choice is or how I would be able to make the ‘right’ choice when I need to. Sometimes it’s a feeling or intuition but I’m not going to pretend as though I know exactly how to tell because I truthfully don’t. More often, I just try to have faith that the choices I’m making are the right choices.

Needless to say, what I’m beginning to learn is to not cast what I want aside in pursuit of something better. It’s generating some continuous short-lived satisfactions when I am conscious that what I know would satisfy me is simple. Don’t get me wrong always striving for the best and recognizing that improvements need to take place is a good thing, but knowing when something is enough, I think, is even better. At the end of the day what we want doesn’t necessarily equate to what we need. And you know what, our needs are simple. Maybe next time, I will just finish that last piece of chocolate exactly when I want to.

Always,
K