i guess i am the kind of person who paints my toenails now.

i’m proud of how much work i’ve done with A in the past few months. it’s been a difficult journey of healing & identity formation. i’m grateful to karl for pleading with me and walking with me. i don’t think i could have done this without him or while i was still working.

daily relief that i no longer work at G is like a big bear hug when i get up in the morning.

someone just tried to open my back door, which was open. i turned the lock in time.

went to my first pitch event last night at k’s behest. i’m not sure why i’ve been so resistant to the whole tech-for-good/civic hacking/smart social impact movement. maybe it’s easier for me to write off all technology as evil (or rather, humans as too weak to use technology in a non-detrimental way). but that sort of mentality is going to cause me to shoot myself in the foot.

grateful for this spacetime to start from square one.

the work God gives me to walk in is my food. it sustains me.

many things i am tempted to be anxious about but they are things i can do nothing about.

meanwhile i have such a rich life.

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arbor

Sitting here in arbor again, land of the wifi, ten in the morning on a memorial day, i forget what it is we are supposed to remember, a man just leaned over my desk to tell me about magnolia wellness next door which is a weed dispensary accepting new customers.

Been thinking an awful lot about relationship with body, what are the truths about God that inform and govern how we conduct ourselves re: food, exercise, alcohol, drugs, sex, sleep, caffeine, etc. And of course how technology & consumerism super-complicate all of those things. And how Word, faith, and healthy community can be powerful agents of healing. But in the deepest moments of confusion (and there have been/will be many) it has been the most helpful to return to the word worship. God wants – deserves – my worship. Worship is more than a goal, though it is that — it’s why I exist. Raison d’être. The most core part of my being, and I know this is true when I am not foggy or asleep or blinded by selfishness or pain or disbelief. To worship is life.

I have time now to read. More accurately, I always had time to read, but only now am I making time to read.. I think reading is hypnotizing, one form of blessed freedom from relentless self-selfselfselfself. Reading through the Alcoholics Anonymous big book, which has been surprisingly fortifying/encouraging. I never thought I would say this, but i think it’s a hugely important book regardless of whether or not alcohol addiction is a part of your narrative, because we are all addicts to something & chronic self-medicators. Reading satire from ancient rome but also silicon valley (don’t you think reading about yourself / about your culture helps achieve a form of distance / clarity of vision?), reading poetry, of course reading Madeleine L’Engle, reading geeky essays about classical reception…

Man behind counter casting gaze of judgment in my direction because this Oakland cafe is cash only and I spent my last $2.75 here three days ago. Oops.

lalala

it has been more than a year since i wrote here, and everything has changed!

i got married last month, and wore my grandmother’s earrings for the wedding. they were heavy so the first thing i did after we extricated ourselves from the reception was to relieve my tender lobes of their pearly burdens. but i had no idea where my normal earrings were, so i enjoyed our honeymoon in a state of aural nakedness, and my ear-holes – which have always been precarious and flammable – closed up within a week.

that’s just an example of one thing that has changed.

other things include living in a new city, worshipping at a new church community, and oh, waking up every morning to a warm-blooded loud-breathing boy by my right side, a mere arm’s length away.

my bed has always been a sanctuary, a framing structure from which i depart and to which i return. blankets thick and heavy over me, sheets soft and supportive under me. i think of my bed when i read psalm 139: hemmed in behind and before. in college my bed was in the living-room, separated away from the dining area by a secondhand ikea bookshelf, which stood flush against the right side of the bed frame. the weight of words a center of gravity, a shield, a firm boundary between the communal space and my private space. so my room was hardly a room, but the bed – an island floating in a sea of carpet – was a safe zone.

i ate many meals and drank many cups of tea and did all my best reading and writing in bed. i cried in bed, hidden from view, muffled by pillows. many nights i was not able to sleep in my bed, and the psychologists will say that this was probably due to the fact that i did so many other non-sleeping things in bed, leading to a weak association between bed & sleep, leading to my insomnia. but i think my bed was a space reserved for a broader kind of rest – rest from being seen, rest from persistent social anxiety, rest from the endless putting on & off of various personas that we learned to do so well.

so now i have had to learn how to re-negotiate that space. marriage is undoubtedly the most intimate of all human relationships. i don’t have my bed to myself any more, nor do i have freedom of movement, nor autonomy over my sleep time & waking time. i have to leap precariously over my beloved in order to get a drink of water or to go to the bathroom – and there is a glorious, six-inch beauty of a bruise on my left shin to show for it. but i suppose in some ways now karl is himself my sanctuary, the place i can go to at the end of the day with my restless thoughts and relational hurts and philosophical wonderings, half-finished sentences & mishaps & worries about tomorrow. he is the one who frames my day, sending me off with a sleepy kiss & a smile and welcoming me home with the same five words, hi baby how are you? he is my home, and our marriage is a sanctuary that we are working hard to fortify with trust & extraordinary displays of grace that God gives but also with the ordinary passage of time, which God also gives.

exhaustion & then some

have not been spending my time profitably…wrapped up in worry, sleepless and giddy, feeling floppy and lifeless. and at the same time so pressurized to maximize every moment. 

I have zero inner strength. love is such hard work.

abba I have no one but you & no one like you. need you desperately now. I need you to rescue me from whining, blaming, grabbing. give me more patience to deal with tiring and frustrating moments. give me tenderness and compassion in the middle of difficult,  stilted conversations. when I feel like I’m getting the short end of the stick, help me to rejoice because in truth, you are helping me to be rich towards you. change my heart’s desire from building myself up to building your body up. and dear god help me to rest, and to stop shaking…abba I’m messy and sticky. I wanted everything to be straightforward–coming home, moving, catching up, leaving, sleeping, etc. but things aren’t going my way. thank you that I can be assured that things are going Your way. 

I really feel so stupid…help me get over myself

also i repent of doing things out of guilt, envy, insecurity. I do want to be the best.

where does worship begin? I raise my eyes to you. I’m waiting. please show yourself. 

Hello.

From the whirlwind. Never-ending lesson of dependency and self-helplessness. Let me fall on grace.

I am…

Wrestling from convos with J about justice, vocation, mission, self-centeredness, broken systems.

Giddily anticipating time back home in the next ten days.

Grateful that my lot in life is so rich!

Mournful, because wedding-planning, house-moving, traveling, and life-logisticking in general have revealed a lot of selfish anxiety to be the dominant ruler of my heart, rather than the peace of Christ.

Hopeful that even in my failure I will have many, many chances to boast about my weaknesses to testify that God is good, and that all of my life is sheer grace.

Determined to take a Real Rest From Work.

Trusting because there’s no other way to emerge from each day with its worries/stresses/frictions unscathed.

In this season I am Humbled by relationship. Humbled by the magnitude of the ministry i am walking into. I think April 15 would be really symbolic — smack dab in the middle of the resurrection. We are caught. Tension-y.

In this season I am re-thinking a lot of my ambition. I have refused to identify with the ambitious, driven type – but maybe that refusal has just been my chronic fear of failure talking. Maybe the fact that God is God and I am man means that it is OK to be just OK. A fear of mediocrity can be a thin veil for swollen pride. And I don’t mean corporately-defined success. More like Christian-defined success. We have such deep presumptions about what a ‘successful’ or ‘faithful’ or ‘intense’ Christian looks like. What if I’m just OK and I make a lot of mistakes and don’t do anything palpable or significant??? What if I’m called to be normal. What if I dared to let the law of love define my priorities & my calendar. I.e. what if loving God + loving my neighbor were the motivation for everything?

God, be lifted higher. Higher in my life. Help me to humble myself before you as appropriate. You are true, you are good. I love to be with you and to rest in your word. It’s the only real rest I have found in my twenty three years of struggling. Everything else is toil & hype. Make me yours. Unsnare me from the lies that are so immediate that I have a hard time calling them out. I’m still so insecure. I haven’t fully worked out your salvation in so many areas of my life, though I am encouraged by how You are already doing such a clear and good work in me. I still see me first, then You. I still tend to my needs first, then his or hers. Unbuckle me – undo my foolish cover-ups & shame-avoiding tricks. Rearm me with the armor of God. AMen.

HELP ME

abba , i’m at zero again. or at least now i’m aware of it.

vaguely i know that you are fullness and abundance and blessing and joy. very vaguely. help me not just to know this from a distance. help me to testify that it is true in my life.

am so frustrated with work, people, life, myself

like a thread snagged and now i’m coming undone

oh well. you bind up what is broken. i give up.

I missed February

For reference though I’m making a concerted effort to be more disciplined about small things. This has been attempted about 2000 times before – never with much success – but I’m willing to keep trying. This means

  • Drinking more water (even when i just want to finish what i’m doing)
  • Exercising ~3x a week
  • Prioritizing ‘set apart’ time (30-60mins) every day to soak in word/prayer
  • Reading fiction & poetry
  • Writing down whenever I tell someone I will pray for them…and then doing it
  • No throwing clothes on the floor
  • No mindless & unintentional entertainment/social media – go memorize word or talk to people! For me this is mostly foodblogs & youtube food channels
  • Saying STOP to work-thoughts & worries when i’m not officially working
  • No drinking coffee merely out of habit/boredom that’s silly

I know i know most of it sounds so bland, but i think I’m coming back to a lot of these resolutions with a renewed sense of why they’re important for life and dignity…less concerned with being a certain kind of person (lifestyle design) and more interested in how to invite healthy disciplines into my life so that i can train for godliness. am thoroughly convinced that how i treat my body and channel my focus/attention throughout the day has everything to do with worshipping God. these are reflections of the huge luxuries i have in my life – having clean water, technology, community. if i do not learn to steward them and subordinate them to a love of Christ, they will ruin me.

overdrive

Five am my mind is in overdrive. i’m so worried, so angry, so sleepless. whimpering to Abba to save me. So lost and disorientated. Teach me to pray in this difficult season. Teach me to tame my unreasonable anxiety and anger. Help me receive grace and give it.

sweet

sweet jesus save me save us
trying to think feels like … ?
a metaphor won’t even come to mind haha
but in moments like these
no “flow”
no words
overwhelming sense that i cannot keep up, or find clarity, or plumb depth of friendship like im supposed to…can’t desire you like im supposed to

all the usual suspects start gnashing their teeth, selfpity and ..ew. assorted stuff. an overwhelming desire to be alone. wanting to give up. this call is too high. let me just be me. let me just be me, because changing / dying / coming-alive is whitehotsearingpain sometimes

surrendering my moods-i have no control. feel SO weak. weak weak weak small poor.

anxious thoughts

test my heart abba. know my anxious thoughts.

you want so much more than just to smooth away wrinkles. feeling anxious and panicky are symptoms. PM word from the weekend = self-medicate; we are all self-medicating addicts. i cannot self-medicate my insecurity or my hunger for glory. you are the real physician and you will not perform symptom treatment. you have given me a new heart, and now i’m working it out with plenty of help.

spirit of wisdom and revelation, please help me know God.

i remember reading ntwright after you believe and being so encouraged, because it was giving the reader permission to stop thinking of sanctification and mission as mutually exclusive endeavors. being like Christ and implementing Christ’s work are one and the same. resting again in the beautiful-crazy truth of ephesians 2-we ARE his work, as part of body (of course this goes with a radical redefinition of ‘body’). no longer slaves, but sons. Jesus you must be lifted high inside of me and outside of me.

thank you for sending me to PHL this weekend, for preparing so many good works for me to walk in. You have given me words, for others and for myself.

i confess that im really anxious about work.

i confess that im discouraged by my own slowness to learn any real humility. slowness to grasp that You are worthy of praise and not me. slowness to want the whole world to worship GOD.

i confess that i tire so easily because i am building my own kingdom – forcing others to approve of me and admire me.

again, you soothe and liberate and rebuke me with the Truth. i have nothing to prove because i’m already done for – already a goner – without the saving work of Jesus Christ covering me. He has proven all, proven victorious, proven glorious. all i have is for you. my job, my friendships, my money, my time, my intellect, my heart-emotions. big shared truth of the weekend = all my stories are God’s story. this world is playing out his narrative, even in rebellion. he’s that much in control.

i’m not ‘cool’, except for what you have done in me. not able to uplift or counsel or even FUNCTION without grace moving in and out of me.

here goes…a fresh season! i want to be full of thanksgiving. koreana paper-scribbles are good nourishment even when soup is undrinkably salty. confessing need is the beginning of gratitude. prodigal son story.

OK here we go here we go. 650am. up up up. full and feasted on word. and you will continue to be with me. be with us, lord. you are emmanuel. your NAME is presence, is being.