From Lose/Lose to Winning for Him

I could not believe it. Why was God doing this to me? Here I am an Asian American being trained in mediating conflict. And who is my assigned co-mediator for our 2 hour conflict role play? A 78 year old godly woman who is dominant and a professional psychologist who had practiced marriage counseling at our church for over 8 years. I was grateful to work alongside with her. But the irony of it all was that her counseling approach was actually a disservice to her and us as we sought to facilitate reconciliation with the parties involved in the case.

Why, God?
Do you want me to learn again how to speak up? But I am so Asian, I hesitate more since she is older and learned and experienced. I was truly struggling to say things to her…
I was tongue tied….I was taken back. I had to figure out the nice way to call a caucus with her so we could be on the same page. How do I gently tell her that her methods were very judgmental? How do I have the heart to tell her what I really feel. I felt stifled.

Later on as I reflect over that moment, I got upset at God. Why God, why indeed? It is not fun to be AA sometimes. I was also reminded of times when I would be like that dear old lady…where I was the older one with younger leaders. And I recalled how in those scenarios, because I am so American, I would defer as well so that I could also empower younger leaders leading with me. It hit me like a ton of bricks….it feels like I am always deferring….be it to younger or older leaders….

It almost feels like being Asian American is not working for me. By my Asian self, I naturally defer to older people. By my American self, I naturally defer to younger people so as to not misuse my power with them. I don’t abdicate influence; but I use that power to accept these younger leaders and believe in them. From the world’s perspective, being AA feels kind of like I lose in both scenarios. I was a bit bothered by this as I discussed this with God.

But once I went into his sanctuary, I was reminded of how in God’s economy that you have to lose your life to gain it. Really, in both of these situations that God puts me in…I get to love people the way he would want me to. I get to truly not think of myself as I often do…but to love others while respecting them without losing myself. And loving others is always winning for God…He gets the glory….

So, I am not so mad at God any more….I am glad I am me…AA and all.

The Differrence That Changes Life….

There I was all nervous about a very important meeting. I was trying to prepare; almost like a lawyer…since it was so important. I was writing and writing to sort through my thoughts.
Ring…it was my friend S calling to check in with me. She wanted to know how I was feeling about that morning’s meeting. She also called so she could pray for me. So, she did over the phone.

I was feeling good and very at peace having been prayed for by her. Ring, ring…another call?
It was another friend named S. He was calling from another time zone. He was my pastoral friend…he had been with me this whole year….giving my pep talks and attending to my soul.
He also wanted to call to pray with me. So, he did on the phone.

I went back into my prep work for my difficult conversation. Then, it happened!!
That moment when I sensed God’s presence…I felt God’s whisper of his still voice.
He told me: Look, M, you are busy prepping for a meeting. But you are so loved and supported by such caring friends. You are really gifted with much from me. The greatest gift you have is your friendships of support that I have given you! Relax and trust me and trust that they are all rooting for you as well. (Of course, they were rooting for me…I knew that!)

That same moment, the feeling that dawned on me was one of compassion. I started feeling for others who may go into similar difficult situations in life and yet, they know not that support from friends. I began to feel for those who know not of the love of God via the saints who are true friends. Right then and there, I felt this surge of power and security or confidence that I knew not of if not for God and the love of his people. It goes to show you that a person can do anything if he or she knows that she is deeply loved.

What a difference!

A year of Remembering….

How funny is it that for the woman who tends to quickly move on in life that God orchestrated this past year as a year to learn the discipline of remembering. How appropriate!
As I struggled to make sense of all that happened this past year, I find Him teaching me
about remembering who I am and what He has done in my life.

This year, he has put 4 pivotal events to help me to remember my heart, my passion, my life and my calling.

1) The book: Let Your Life Speak, by Parker Palmer has really helped me to be mindful of
my life. From day one, there has been a unique Margaret Yu’s mark that God has put in
my life. That I have always been me! And really it is as I have grown up, like all of us, that I have lost my way. The way seemed subconsciously easy to fit into others’ dreams of my life or what I think my life ‘should’ be instead of what it is…truly God’s creative beautiful creation.
I think I forget sometimes that I have always been me. From my birth to now, I have always been me. And that God is most glorified when I am being true to my calling of being me…and being me shaped by Him to become more like Him. I was reminded that the most difficult calling in my life is not just following my vocational calling, but that the most challenging calling in my life is being ‘me’.

2) This was a year in which I longed to avoid the waiting of a difficult relational process that helped to basically caused me being removed from my job. It was very painful. In August of
’06, I knew in my intuition that the big horrible move may happen (I was right about being removed from what I loved to do) and thus, I wanted to leave staff. But God would not let me. And throughout this year, I have so often wanted to leave this process. To my chagrin, God would not allow me any of the leaving.

But over and over again, I sensed God wanting me to stay in the process so I would learn and live through the pain. As the year unfolded, I had felt the urge to move on very quickly with my career…and realised that I had a drive to just move on and avoid the hurt. But God remained stalworth to keeping me to remember my own grief. I have had to learn how to grieve and to stay in the pain and gain freedom from that. God made me stay in my grief as I had to say goodbye to co workers who were close friends and kindred spirits to me. I had to grieve over what my life, work and dreams were before being shaken out of my role. At various times this year, I would find myself ‘shoulding’ myself about how I should be able to forgive or let go of my hurt or pain, or even be able to just look for a new role or job? At those times, God would teach to slow down and remember the reality of what I was going through. I am learning to give myself grace to feel, to heal, grace to grieve and the grace to remember my own hurt and pains. (This is still a daily struggle for me…that is why this blog is so good for me…)

3) At the Learning to Love the Master Retreat (with Journey Companion, I was reminded of the importance of inviting God into all of our memories…be they great or horrible.
I was blessed to be able to see Jesus in my stories from my childhood. I was thoroughly challenged to do this for the rest of my life. I also reflected over all of my life…and discovered God has always had a theme to teach me. From my times with Him, he made it clear that from day one, He has always been giving me Songs of Confidence. And that really throughout my life, God has given me Songs of Confidence via many venues in various lifestages.

In my younger years, He gave me a Song of Confidence via supportive friends who believed in me more than I could ever believe in myself. During this dark year, He has given me a Song of Confidence via hardship and self doubt. From this time when I was so shaken from my loss of confidence, He somehow was able to instill in me a truer confidence in me. The miracle of God’s power is that from my crisis of confidence, He has gained it in my soul…as I breathed and exhaled. He did this as I exhaled what I greatly feared and he inhaled in me a resolve in my soul to not be anyone other than myself. After my initial shrinking back, He infused in me a stronger sense of myself. That is the power of the Holy Spirit and community.

4) As a part of my transition on staff, I participated in a tool called Motivated Activities Pattern (MAP), this again confirmed who I am. The tool required for us to sit and reflect on all of our achievements from all of our lives and we had to pick the top 8 and write about each achievement in a one page report. From there, we did an interview with a caseworker who recorded everything we said about our top achievements. Finally, he comes up with themes of motivational thrust in our lives.

It was helpful for me even before the written 21 page summary of my patterns.
I was again struck by how God has always been weaving his design in me.

As a result, I am now more abled to determine which jobs will fit me or not. I am able to figure out what will give me the most satisfaction. This totally excites me as Frederick Beunchner would say:
God’s calling is the intersection of where our deepest satisfaction meets the needs of the world.

As I sit, I feel so free having had this time to slowly remember and recall who God is and who he says I am. I am so humbled by his calling for me to walk in integrity of being me, even in my pain or hurts. I am challenged to choose to give him the greatest glory by being me and not anyone else. I am so much more secured knowing that God truly wants me to be me and not anyone else…that indeed he loves me for me….no more and no less.

What a year! I am still in it….I am still learning to remember….

Quote of the Day

This is from James Houston’s Joyful Exiles (the book).

On slow progress. “Often I think faster than I can act; and I have more actions than I can incorporate in my character. Consequently I need a greater unity and integrity of faith, while realizing that any progress God gives occurs at the lowest pace of all”

I love this and I hate it. As someone who is divinely designed by God to be an achiever for Him, I find this my struggle while I live on this earth. This thought does help me to be at peace with waiting on God during those times of quiet or what seemed like inactivity in my life or silence from God. This gives me hope and assurance that God is doing what he will to shape my character even while I may fight him on it. This is the reality…this struggle that He has given me.

I need a greater unity and integrity of faith and a reverence for His ways and his timing in my life. Oh, the waiting…..oh the heart…..oh to not go ahead of God in my actions and in my desires.

easy counterfeits

Recently, a good friend of mine was discussing somethings about spiritual journeys and life.
And he again reminded me of how our lives as Christians can be so counterfeited.
As he reflected about life, he was mentioning how he wanted to not just be a person that does the right things or the right Christian things, but that he truly wanted to abide in his heart with Christ.

As I thought on that, I was reminded of how it is so easy to think we are abiding in Christ when we are only doing the Christian acceptable thing…and even with our divided motives. God made me think on how much easier it is to just do the right thing. Really, the Christian life is not doing the right thing…but being rightly related and connected to Jesus. It is very tempting to be a good spiritually moral person. Oh, but to be a spiritually attuned and abiding follower of Jesus is another thing.
To not be about trying to be a good person or Christina is actually more challenging and more complexed. (Sometimes, I wished it were not so…but I guess it would make sense in that God is simple and yet complexed being who He is as God.) But to be trusting God for to live this life with us is easy and yet challenging all at once.

I have seen in my own life, how I often try to do the good spiritual Christian or even spiritual leader thing….and have missed on God and have had Him missed out on my heart.
Our hearts have missed each other as I would try harder with being good. The good grace of God is that he never allowed me to continue without causing me to missed out on his heart. Or he never let me be satisfied enough with the counterfeit of being a spiritually moral person…but somehow in his divine kindness, He saw it fit to send friends and mentors to guide me towards a deeper part of my heart. He gave me this thirst for more than the fake deal….a thirst for his loving heart.

I am so grateful for friends who would not let me just stay there and be happy or content until my heart was stirred to long for more….For that, I am truly blessed.

I loved seeing a small glimpse of my friend’s heart….he and his wife are truly co-journers with God with me. How fortunate I am!