when my heart feels stacked with lamentations, i reach for the salve of your psalms, the refuge and the mirror, i have permission once again to demand and expect revelations and proverbs that crack me, the parables can transform to new meanings once again, the good news can penetrate the spaces in me no letter no song no commandment can reach, in the beginning and till the end it is your quiet hovering spirit that lit up the dark
my prayer today
i feel vulnerable and naked when i talk about faith & god
like the utterance of god is immediately followed by a need to prove their existence
this pressure closes me up
does the opposite of what i hope
what if i cannot fail
what if risking is enough
what if pressure is an illusion
what i hope is that my presence mirrors the presence of god
that my steps and my words and my actions reflect a miracle of being
that was only possible by a love so grand and unexplainable
it transformed me into what i was made for
i continue to choose god
i lack proof
i lack evidence
i lack a satisfactory reason
yet this i know
god made me different
all things i felt were not a part of me when i felt apart from god
and so even when
these days i feel that my whole, my open, my hope
are fleeting and faint
and i stand a fraud
the risk is the still choosing
i beg and i plea for god’s presence to wrap me again
god’s presence to stare right into my fears
to break my armor and my hold
to teach me once again the act of surrender and sacrifice
not from obligation but from a complete trust in abundance
to give is to believe i have enough, more than enough
to forgive is to believe i am you and you are me
to love is to believe it is the only way we will make it to tomorrow
in the valley of the in-between
after letting go of former things or finishing well something proper
waiting for the next right thing
inhaling the weight of this unpredictable life
exhaling the fear of nothing coming again
inhaling the emptiness
exhaling the ambient loneliness ever present
i find faint comfort in darling phrases
this too shall pass
the lord is my shepherd I lack nothing
what is mine will not pass me by
instead of accepting and feeding the wallow
instead I dare to fan the flame of my pale faith
until it deepens and darkens
roots in my body so the truth
of my enoughness has already arrived even if nothing is to change
of my hope of what is to come is about to change everything
Lent 2022: Surrendering Defenses & Debts
Today is the anniversary of the Atlanta spa shootings. Anniversary feels like a bizarre word to use for something horrific, but I’m mentally too exhausted to find a better suited word.
What does it look like to fast my armor and surrender my defenses today?
It looks like feeling my feet on the ground, and remembering the space I get to take.
It feels like forgiving myself when I’m not smiling even though it’s spring warm temperatures.
It feels like not being apologetic when I’m angry with rude people.
It looks like not smiling.
It feels like taking a chance at feeling joy today whether it’s from being grateful for the time to write or having the financial access to buy this too-expensive cold brew.
If feels like hoping that things will be better, even if the world throws lots of sad and bad at us.
It feels like trusting that there are good people in this world. There are many good people. I like to believe most people are good.
It means forgiving others when they forget the pain I’m in being an Asian woman in this world.
It means forgiving myself when I forget to love being an Asian woman in this world.
It means forgiveness.
It means taking deep belly breaths and being present, even if that feels extra full.
Lent 2022: Surrendering the need to punish
Nothing gets under my skin more than when evil and rudeness occur and perpetrators get away from it. From Putin’s ruthless egotistical war to Florida’s ridiculous laws against freedom of speech and sexuality to the men who never move aside and assume YOU need to move, I want to scream. I want heaps of coal to befall these evil doers. Underneath my demand for consequences is my lack of faith in God’s Justice and grace. I don’t fully believe God sees our hurt and our harm. I don’t fully believe that God has our back. I don’t even believe he fully forgives me when I’m the perpetrator of bad.
To believe in mercy is to believe in Justice
To hope for renewal and redemption and repentance is to hope for grace
To demand others be better is to demand for myself to be better. Can I trust that my grace and forgiveness and surrendering my need to retaliate will return to me, strength, love and greater clarity of the human condition?
Lent 2022: Under the Banner of Annoyance
I came home after a 16 mile run and I’m running behind to go to church service. The last thing I want to find is an occupied bathroom, and worst a roommate who takes his sweet time in it. I’m seething in my spirit, aching in my body, and positive he’s taking longer because he knows I need the restroom.
^^What do I gain by thinking that his bathroom usage was a personal affront to me? What do I gain by thinking that folks are not mindful? What do I gain by thinking the world is out to get me?
It gives me permission to be PISSED. It gives me permission to not be as kind as I should be. It gives me permission to armor up and fight the next person who looks at me wrong.
I am highly sensitive and I get irritated so easily. Because under my quickness to get annoyed is my grip on control — things need to be according to MY timeline, people need to act according to how I THINK, in my brain.
I wish I could say, now that I know, now that I’ve verbalized my flaw, I am ready to let go and surrender. Quite the opposite, now that I know, I feel myself doubling down on my need to control and my fear of surrender. I’m afraid that when I let go, I won’t be able to put the lid back on. I’m afraid that if I surrender my agenda, and the story that the world is against me, I’ll need to show up even more. When you show up more, you risk getting hurt more… but you also risk more joy and discovery.
I think I loved the pandemic emotions because I was allowed to be sad and scared without having to explain myself. I mean, look outside. But now that the pandemic is falling to the background and the world is opening up again, I see myself putting on the mask of happy and gratitude, when I’m just desperate to be sad and be disappointed. I believe you can be sad and disappointed without self-pity, and I want to be that, without having to explain myself, without having to first give a disclaimer of joy.
I love my sadness and fear because I’m sensitive and vulnerable and easily affected by the feels of the world. Now I want to be comfortable to exist in that without the gearing up to fend off people that want to fix me or make me feel better. I want to be confident enough in myself that how you see me isn’t as important as me living honestly.
Lent 2022: How’s Your Spirit?
A friend just asked me, how’s your spirit?
I respond: I’m fine.
She follows up: Are you really?
I think and respond: I don’t know…
I do know, but I got scared to say it because I didn’t want to disappoint her or tarnish her idea of who I am. I think she assumes I’m really strong and courageous. I am those things, but I’m also often really terrified. Because what I wanted to say, or actually, let me give myself some grace. Maybe I really didn’t know how my spirit felt, but after the breath and the pause, I do know.
Without self-pity, I feel like a disappointment. I feel like a loser. I feel like I’ll never live up to my potential. I feel scared. I feel lonely. I feel like my ship has sailed. I feel that my self-sabotage is too strong for me to break. I feel that my self-judgment is too thick for me to tear down. I want to feel confident and patient. I want to trust in god’s timing. I want to be fully seen.
Lent 2022: Fasting my defenses
…and surrendering my armor.
I have spent most of my life feeling like I need to protect myself, and showcase strength in a manner that feels on my skin. I have been taught and I have experienced a world that doesn’t have my life and presence as things of importance. Well, then let me show you I’m worthy to be respected. But this actually has only pushed people away, built my own guilt, and encouraged me to build narratives of fear & separation.
Can I trust that my worth is secure by surrendering my need to self-protect? Can I hear all the words and see all the actions from eyes of compassion and grace? Maybe they are not against me. Maybe they are simply hurt and you came across their path. Maybe your lack of defenses will be a connective strength…
Today a man was very rude to me, and I felt my body tense and go into anger. My thoughts built tales about him. I was so angry that he got away with being so mean to me. Already feeling like I missed my fast… I took a breath, and slowly let go. What was under my anger and within my stories? My sadness. My fear. My ability to still hope and still go about life not expecting rudeness. That was an exception. That was not about me. My response is about me.
Advent: Day 10
Today’s waiting feels heavy and unfair.
Today’s waiting entices me to compare my life with others.
Today’s waiting makes me want to eat my feelings so I can get to tomorrow and hope IT HAS ARRIVED.
Today’s waiting is really forcing me to be present in each moment.
Today’s waiting made me sensitive to the arrival of the most meaningful gifts that I might not have fully felt if I wasn’t in this present state.
Today’s waiting reminds me that I can rest in my waiting.
Today’s waiting reminds me that maybe this right now is part of what’s to come. It’s already here. I’m sensitive. I’m expectant. I’m hopeful. And it’s all about the ways to build up that hope.
Advent: Day 9
I emailed on Wednesday. No response. I followed up on Friday. No response. I gave them the weekend and this morning I sent another email, this time with extra vulnerable & heart sauce. Very soon after I got a response in the vein of, these things take time, we haven’t forgotten about you. My immediate reflexive response was, ugh my fault! Sorry!!
But no! One, why didn’t you respond with that to my first and second email? I just wanted to know that you heard me, that you saw my ask. Two, why did I feel like I did something wrong when I was the one with a very reasonable request? Pushing back, standing up for yourself, advocating for your needs feel uncomfortable in a body that has been comfortable with being walked all over. Three, maybe I could have started with the vulnerable and heart space from the beginning, rather than the business/professional tone people around me suggested I use? Where is the sweet spot of integrity, self-advocacy, self-worth and vulnerability? It requires giving the recipient the benefit of the doubt and a deep certainty in one’s own worth.
As I wait for this response or for god, or for my life is change, or for some magic or miracle to bloom, I have to remember that I am worthy to receive, worthy to want, worthy just as I am to have a life that is full. I also have to remember that god is good. God is not forgetful. God didn’t miss your email. God isn’t feeling awkward that you’re asking again and again and again. God is not dangling possibilities in front of us just to taunt us.
God can handle our push, our vulnerability, our belief that we are worthy. God needs us to be all that and do all that. Waiting is exhausting because it requires me to believe it can happen, it will happen, and god has NOT forgotten about me.
Where can you demand a response from God, even if it’s a not yet, or keep on, especially if it’s this?
Where do you need to advocate for yourself as a practice of self-worth?
Where can you sprinkle in vulnerability and heart in your professional and difficult relationships?