4 Festivals in 2 Days

I hadn’t planned on going to the Jinju Lantern Festival. Actually, I had planned on going camping a couple of weeks ago. But when a friend of mine told me she was thinking of going to the festival, I hopped on … Continue reading

Losing my Camera in Korea (and other disasters)

Well, my fear has happened — I lost my camera. Or maybe it was stolen from me. I have no idea and I may never know. But first let me go back in time and tell you about a place I … Continue reading

Stop Signs and Red Lights

Few people in this world dislike stop signs more than me. I know they’re helpful and all, but gosh dang they are ANNOYING. You have to stop, literally stop, your driving for a few seconds before moving again. Of course, some people don’t stop at all. But, I do. Maybe that’s why I dislike them so much. I actually try to obey the laws of traffic.

Or red lights. Who likes red lights other than girls putting on their makeup or people checking a text? Red lights are especially annoying if you’re in a hurry. Oh gosh. If you’re in a hurry, forget stop signs OR red lights. You might as well think the Earth is tumbling down in the form of traffic signs.

Now, let’s get symbolic about this.

Sometimes, God puts stop signs and red lights in front of me. And I wait at them for hours, days, weeks.

I can break the law and try to keep moving forward, but God is all, “No. You’re going to stop. You aren’t going to slide or drift. I’m going to do everything in my power to make you stop and PAY ATTENTION TO ME.”

And you know what’s helpful about stopping everything to get done what God needs you to get done? It works. It’s life saving. It’s revitalizing.

Without stop signs or red lights, the road would be way dangerous. And sometimes we try to ignore those stupid signs and lights because we think we’re in a hurry. One time, I ran a red light because I was so used to having a green light whenever I crossed the road. Of course there was a cop to stop me. Of course.

If you don’t stop and get done what God needs you to get done, don’t be surprised if He puts a stop sign or red light in front of you. He might even send someone (hopefully not a police officer) to lecture you on the importance of listening to Him.

Who knows? It just might be the thing you need.

Faith

Worrying

A year ago, I was worrying about what I’d be doing today. I was worried that my life would feel meaningless and I’d not be able to pay my bills. I worried that I’d be unhappy.

None of that came true. I live a life that I feel like is making a difference in people’s lives. I’m doing better than I’ve ever done financially (living at home kind of helps with that) and I’m actually pretty happy.

A year ago, I was worrying.

Today, I’m worrying about next year. Where will I go? What will I be doing? Will I still be living here? Will I be able to pay my student loans if I move?

Worrying. Worrying. Worrying.

When does it end? Then, I start thinking about next year and what will happen when changes start taking place. I worry about next year and how I’ll start worrying about the next year and the next and the next until I’ve worried my life away.

There are so many things to worry about. And still, I forget that God says “do not worry” because He actually kind of cares for me.

Why am I worrying? I just want it to stop. I want to believe what He says. I want to enjoy this journey, no matter how dark the path ahead looks because of my lack of control.

Trust me. Trust me.

God keeps reminding me of this, but it’s so difficult to follow, I wonder if anyone can.

Maybe ending the worrying streak doesn’t happen all at once; maybe it takes small steps of faith, choosing in a moment to say “no” to the anxiety. I’m going to try saying “no” a lot more.  At least for this moment.

Faith

Forward

There is one rest stop in the middle of my hour commute from home to work. It is gloomy and right beside a very large and nice gas station, which I’ve always thought was kind of odd. Why would someone go to a dirty rest stop if they could stop at a gas station? Anyways, I see this rest stop every time I drive to work. It is a reminder to me of my own rest stops.

When you arrive at college, you think your life is going to begin, and all the wonderful dreams you had are going to become reality. But really, college is full of rest stops. You are allowed time to think and behave a certain way. There is freedom and many abuse it. You can avoid responsibilities and yet gradually ease into them.

Real life doesn’t have very many rest stops.

Now that I’ve graduated, I find myself with a choice. I can live in the past–the one I swore to burn–and search among the ashes for pieces of my old self. This might mean acting like a frightened college student who is allowed time to think about risks. She is able to make excuses for not stepping out of the box because college is, in a way, a giant box. I can dig myself a pit and stay stuck in there until I decide to come out. This might mean becoming overtly emotional and nostalgic, wondering why things have to change. OR I can take a third route, the one full of darkness and webs. It is not a road I cross often because I do not like walking with a blurred vision. It is a road without clear rest stops, one that begs me to keep on even though I may not know what lies ahead. But what if I need to rest? What if I need to stop? It screams, “You’ve stopped for too long now. You’ve filled up your tank and have worked your legs. It’s time to move forward.”

Forward? That dreaded fate. The truth is, I’ve been waiting all my life to do the things I’ve started to do – write, minister the Gospel, raise awareness about human trafficking, become a somebody in the film industry. And yet, I can feel my heart beating, my breath growing heavy, and my body tempted to turn — no, run — around. I want to go back. I want to stop. But I can’t. The only way out of a rut is up and onwards.

So forward I will go – with shaking knees and blurry eyes – but forward nonetheless.

A Trip to Burbank and Back Again

Note: the events in this post are very much real though they sound fictional because of the strangeness of my life.

There are days when everything goes wrong. You hit your knee on random things, you discover your car is broken, and then to top it off, someone demands you pay back a debt. But, on occasion, there comes a day rarer than Christmas when everything goes spectacularly well. Yesterday was one of those days.

A week ago, my father received a phone call from someone representing a film company asking him if he’d like to watch a movie and perhaps share it with the church. He agreed, and much to the egging on of my mother (thanks, mom!), asked if I could fly to California with him. To my delight, they said “yes.”

So, yesterday at noon, I was on my way to Burbank, California just to watch a movie. BIZARRE.

I just kept thinking about how random my life is. Like, seriously. Who in the heck goes on a three hour flight to Burbank just to watch a 2 hour film? Not only that, but after the film, you immediately get on a plane to fly BACK home. I’ve always wanted to do something of the sort and being able to accomplish my secret dream was pretty awesome, but I mean . . . come on . . . it’s bizarre.

Let me back it up a sec before I get too crazy here.

Yesterday, I was on a plane to Burbank with my father. When we arrived, a lovely girl a couple years older than me picked us up at the airport and drove us to the studio. THE MOVIE STUDIO. One of the “Big 5” movie studios. We parked in a real parking garage where all the movie producers and directors and important movie people park. We got a real pass to walk onto the studio. We went through security. And then we arrived. ONTO A REAL MOVIE STUDIO.

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Did I mention how my life is bizarre?

A bunch of interns/assistants guided us the entire time and even though I didn’t, I really wanted to ask, “So . . . do you think this is as cool as I think it is?” But I didn’t because I didn’t want to sound like a fangirl which I am most of the time. On the internet, I’m a total fangirl, not judged by other social recluses who are also secret fangirls. But in the person, I like to try and keep my cool because I’m a lady, dang it.

We walked onto a sidewalk which had a row of doors with numbers next to them. I’m assuming they are all small theaters. And then my dad, one of the interns, one of the assistants, and I got to watch the movie in one of those private theaters.

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Let me tell you something. Those seats were the most comfortable movie seats of my life. They were so comfortable that I didn’t even put my feet up during the movie because I thought secret security would say, “Hey you! Stop that! This seat costs more than your car!” Which it probably did.

the theater

I wish I could tell you how the movie was but I signed a contract saying I wouldn’t say anything about it so you’re out of luck on that. Also, I felt pretty fancy signing a contract because I was about to watch a movie only a few people had seen.

After the movie, we went straight to the airport. No hugs goodbye or tour or going to the bathroom. We left as soon as we had arrived. The whole time I just kept thinking, “God, what the heck are you doing?” Because this wasn’t just any other day in the book, it was a weird one. It was a day where you wonder what choices got you to where you are.

I’m not even lying when I say this is the fortune I got in a fortune cookie that day.

Goodbye, Burbank.

Most of the time, I think I know where I’m going. I think I know what’s going to happen in my future. Yesterday was a reminder that I literally have no idea what’s going to happen. But if God can do something as random as bring me to a private screening of a movie just for the heck of it, then what else is He going to do? All I can say is “thank you.” I’m so thankful that the Lord does random things like send us on a day trip to California. I love that He is always providing. I am so thankful because I am so sinful and am always running from Him. It always brings tears to my eyes knowing that God loves me, truly loves me. And He sees our secret dreams and knows when maybe we need a day where everything goes right, where we feel as though our hearts could burst at knowing His love. I don’t know how you think about all that, but I think it’s true and I think it’s amazing.

I just hope I never forget it. Not ever.

Faith