Trophies…just trophies

(Image not mine)

I feel like I haven’t been living with very much vision for my life. I feel like I should be setting bigger goals and then going about attaining them. In the workplace, I would like to be a Director one day. I wouldn’t want to be any higher in the ladder than that…but I do want to go about two levels higher than where I’m at. I would also like to own multiple properties…a relatively stable investment with long term growth. And tax shelter. I want to travel to every continent. See the world. I want to paint again. Dance. Be physically fit and reach my goal weight.

If I want these things, then maybe I need to set smaller goals that lead to the big one and go about achieving each step right? Maybe I need to be more proactive about looking for career building opportunities. Maybe I need to just make myself get that gym membership or sign up for classes. Maybe I should start looking for a little condo apartment to invest in for rental income. Didn’t someone say once, “The best way to get something done is to just do it“?

I shared this with Skywalker.

Why do these things matter? Why do you want them?

Well, it’s nice to be able to say I’ve been a good steward of resources and be able to produce fruits of my labor. It adds to security too. And I’d feel more accomplished. I might not save the world from disease, but for myself, I would have something to show.

Do those things really add security though?

Good point. No. My security is in Christ alone. All those things could be wiped with another economic crash or natural disaster. It’s happened before and it will certainly happen again.

Would your collection of trophies last in Heaven? Not that the things you mentioned are bad, but that’s what the world goes after. It’s all going to go through the fire…will it matter then?

Probably not. And now I feel a little sheepish. I know I’m to build eternal things, reach for the treasure that is in Heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. Yet the pull of going after those things have seeped into my being. The pull of collecting trophies. Trophies that will feed my pride. Trophies that could become my idols. I have to admit, they’re just trophies at the end of the day. Thank you Skywalker for speaking Truth into those rambled thoughts!

It’s a hard balance…we ARE to be resourceful and good stewards of our material wealth. We ARE to grow whatever we’ve been given…whether much or little. But not just material things….spiritual things as well. Do I have goals for that? Am I looking for ways to spread God’s love and compassion? What eternal things am I building? (Though really, I know I’m not the one building…God is.) Those are the questions that are probably of greater importance in the light of eternity. But it’s also not as tangible…and that is what I struggle with. I can’t “see” results. I suppose that also minimizes the temptation to be proud over what *I* accomplished. A life of faith is totally not about works, but it’s not easy either. So I blunder forward, praying for direction and discernment. Anyone else going through this?

Question: How do you know you can trust each other?

Sometimes, it’s honestly by faith….but built on what I’ve observed or have heard testimony on. I didn’t know Skywalker existed before I met him so I had no idea to his character or anything. But two friends whom I trusted spoke super highly of him and his family…and that said something. When we had started dating, one of his guy friends said to me, “Skywalker is a GREAT guy. Serious. You’re a lucky girl.” So that said something too.

They say, whoever “they” are, that in marriage, your insecurities grow stronger, possibly because you’re even more vulnerable having made yourself that much more intimate with someone. My whacky female mind starts imagining all sorts of things; this didn’t happen when we were dating. I think it’s Satan throwing darts to attack marriages…to make someone distrust, then they start acting on it, which creates a vicious cycle of suspicion and acting out that breaks down a marriage. (And as marriages fall, society crumbles…which is a win for Satan.) You can either fall for Satan’s schemes, feed suspicious thoughts and doubt, or you can choose trust. This is where I say it’s sometimes by faith because our emotions can be so strong, but so unreliable.

I’ve caught myself with the thought, when Skywalker is later than usual in coming home, “Is his assistant hitting on him?” (and other times it’s “Did he get hit by a car?“) I believe Satan tries to drive fear into our marriages. But perfect love should drive out fear. So then I have to go back to whether I believe Skywalker’s love for me is real, whether my love for him real. And whether God’s love for us real. As well, I ask myself if there has EVER been ANY time or occasion where Skywalker has EVER done ANYthing that would warrant my doubt or suspicion? Nope. So, I pray for Jesus to guard my thoughts/heart, to remove seeds of distrust or doubt, and then I choose to trust. Can Skywalker trust me? I hope so….

The end of “Cute”

@lauriewang: It’s like you hit an age where you can no longer do cute. #firstworldaging

Anyone else find this to be true?

(Image not mine)

Cute!

(Image not mine)

Not Cute

We discussed this further and I think it’s either after you turn 30 or if you become a mother. Whichever comes first.
“Cute” is for children…teens even. In your twenties, you can pull off some cute stuff…but it gets increasingly awkward because it looks more and more age inappropriate. It’s like you’re trying to hard to be what you’re not (which is “young”)…and I can’t take you seriously.

The more “ageless” adjectives are words like beautiful, sophisticated, edgy, classy, sexy….okay maybe “sexy” isn’t ageless. With the advance of technology, medication and general healthy living, I can still see a 60 yr old being sexy. But I can’t see “sexy” describing 70 year olds. Sorry.

Personally, I think I stopped being cute after the age of five. Even after growing out of braces and glasses, “cute” was never a word used to describe me. I just can’t pull off “cute”. I also don’t want to be cute…hopefully I will be classy and edgy. I want to stay somewhat up-to-date with fashion, but age appropriate fashion is key. You’ve seen those men and women who still dress like their high school or college glory days. That is being stuck in an era. Not a fashion expert by any means…but I’ve watched enough “What Not to Wear” to know that dressing for your body shape (admit it and embrace it) as well as for your age (can’t stop it!) is important. Yes, do work out and eat healthier so you can wear a broader variety of styles….but it’s also about accepting and being secure in your body to feel and look good through the ages. Don’t get stuck! =)

Christ’s resurrection: What difference has it made? Part 2

Looking honestly into myself, I feel Hope and Relief when I consider Christ’s resurrection from death. But the main question is still

What difference does Christ’s resurrection make in your life?

And I mean regular day-to-day life.

I think I am a fairly hopeful person. Quietly optimistic. My INTJ personality is one that looks for possibilities beyond the obvious and it lends itself to having strong faith. But I confess the times I get short-sighted, not wanting to take a step unless I can see the whole path. It’s the struggle to have everything under control, under MY control. I want to grow more in this area…of living by faith. To the world, it may look kind of crazy at times, unwise even. Or it may look like I have good intuition or luck when it does work out by God’s provision. Looking back into my own life, I can see these moments. But can anyone else see this Hope or see God at work in my life?

As for relief of not having to try to save myself. It’s really about not having to try to be good enough as defined by values around me. Or even by what God demands of us – to be perfect. Christ lived the perfect life, and I somehow, get to appropriate it as my own. All the while allowing God to transform me from the inside so that I actually become more like Christ. It’s pretty amazing to consider. It might be hard to differentiate how this transformation is going from year to year, but from five years ago until now, I think I’m more compassionate, more gracious, slower to judge and maybe a little more patient. =) Praise God!

Not having to find approval from the world also comes out in me not caring as much what people might think of my status in life. I don’t want to be defined by anything the world tries to define people by. Sometimes it’s a struggle. I was talking to Dahn about this…how our nationalities and job titles and socio-economic statuses are all just labels humans give each other. I don’t fit any of them entirely and frankly don’t want to fit. I don’t want to be known as a “middle class” “married” “female” “Chinese Canadian” “Christian”….I just want to be known as someone who’s Christ-like. (And I have a looooooong way to go.) As Dahn put it “My identity is CHRIST and my citizenship is HEAVEN.”  The more I live like I believe that, the more peace and relief I’ll have of not having to try to fit into this world. Because fitting into this world isn’t going to make me a better person; being transformed into Christ’s likeness will. Again, I’m relieved it’s not dependent on my trying or conforming to be more like Christ, but rather, allowing God to transform me from within. I just have to get out of His way. Which brings up another question, is Christ more and more apparent in me?

Day-to-day differences going forward….

I hope I am kinder and more compassionate…
I hope I am more gracious and slower to make assumptions…
I hope I live more boldly, unafraid of what the world might think of me…
…and unfettered by trying to amass worldly security for myself…
I hope my life is vibrant, as evidence of the abundant Life Jesus promised…
I hope I am more generous, with my time and finances…
I hope others can see Christ’s love through me…

Jack of all Trades

(Image not mine)

…and Master of None

That’s how I feel. I completed three semesters of Sciences. Have a degree in Commerce. And a degree in Fine Arts. Worked for six years in Information Technology. I could do an MBA or MFA or MDiv or take furniture reupholstery courses if I wanted. What is my career path? I’ve always quipped that I’m either really well rounded, or really confused.

I’m really comfortable where I’m at. My job is mostly secure. It pays well enough. I get to work from home. So many people would LOVE to have this. And I know this has been part of God’s abundant blessing to me…I am VERY thankful. Yet…a little restlessness stirs. Lil Pea and Skywalker have told me, several times, they feel I’m not using my full creative potential where I’m at. I’m not passionate. Frankly, I don’t know many who would be passionate about running queries. But do you have to be passionate about what you do in order to be considered in the “right” job? I see a job as a means to an end. It allows me to do things I enjoy. If it ever became a job I hated, then I’ll change. But like I said….I’m really comfortable right now.

Except where that restlessness stirs.

I know it’s fear. I’m not 24 with years ahead to figure things out. I’m in my thirties. We’re thinking of starting a family as my health is beginning to look promising. This really doesn’t seem like the time to go back to school or do something drastic that may cut extended health benefits and a good maternity leave pay. Yet a number of people have also told me that taking the leap out of their current blah-but-ok job into the unknown has been the best career move they’ve ever made. I respect and admire them for making the leap. I just don’t know if I could do it.

You’ve read how my “job hunt philosophy” came to be in the Brokenness Series…but basically, I’ve taken to just doing well where I am, and letting God open the next door I’m to go through. If Life was a deck of cards waiting for me to pull the next card out…I would close my eyes and ask God to pick a card for me. Sounds pretty passive. And maybe that’s where the restlessness speaks to as well…that it’s time to make an active decision?

“What would you rather be doing?” I don’t know. I really don’t know.
I just hope I’ll recognize it when that opportunity shows up.