So. I guess it’s inevitable. No matter how hard you pray to God, time doesn’t stop. In just a short few days, I’ll reach a milestone in my life: 30 years of existence. I remember being 15 and thinking 30 is soooo far away. But now, it’s right around the corner.
When I finally got around to accepting the call into ministry, I was about 23. I thought about where I would be when I would turn 30.
By 30, I hoped to be married.
I planned and hoped to be at least a father of one, with another along the way very, very soon.
I planned on leaving Hawaii for good. Never wanting to go back to Hawaii.
I planned on living in the East Coast, where public transportation was convenient enough that one could manage without a car.
I thought by 30, I’d have a book published about ministry and being in ministry.
Church-wise, by 30, I thought I’d have my own church of young, vibrant, second (and beyond)- generation Koreans, doing things that were radical and innovative.
Somewhere in our office, we have a picture that says “Wanna make God laugh? Tell God your future plans.” It’s not bad at all to plan for the future. I still have a 10 year plan, of where I would like to be when I’m 40. But, it’s planning your future, and also trusting in God and following God wherever God may lead, even if it’s dead against what you have set and planned. Trusting that God knows a heckuva lot more than you do, well that’s faith.
During my 3 years of seminary, I was home-sick for Hawaii more than I would like to admit. I desperately wanted to go back and live in Hawaii for a long, long time. (Turns out, a year into returning to Hawaii, I realized why I wanted to leave in the first place… )
I now live in sunny California. It’s far better than shoveling snow and driving in the snow of Washington DC.
I’m nowhere near the level of the authors I respect, and my writing has never been good, always filled with grammar errors that drive my wife crazy.
Sure, I’m not a senior pastor of my own church, but I’m part of a church family that is doing amazing things in the community and Kingdom of God. I’m blessed by a wonderful and dedicated staff that inspires me to give my best every single day. And, yea that Pastor John isn’t that bad either. ;)God is using Valencia UMC and the people of the church to mold me and shape me to serve God at the utmost of my potential.
And of course, there’s no addition in our family. (And I’m thankful to be part of an anglo congregation at this point, because if I were in a Korean congregation, every time a church member would see me or Rahel, they’d ask “Why aren’t you pregnant yet?” We still get that question when we visit my parents church in Oxnard from their congregation.) But, I’m blessed to have such a wonderful and caring wife. And, I trust in God that soon, there will be an addition in our family. Even if it means that you see us in the nightly news for stealing a baby.
But I can’t live my life with my heads in the clouds wondering what is ahead of me or lingering in the past.
God is fully present today! Even as I sit here at Starbucks with my cooling pumpkin spice latte, I know God is present with me. Right now, stirring my heart and thoughts with His presence.
Let us not hang around too much in the past, dwelling on past mistakes, beating ourselves up, wondering what we could’ve done differently. Or wondering what life could’ve been if we made a different choice. Let’s also not linger on past glories, either, and try to relive them today. If you’re 50 years old, there’s really no need to wear your varsity football jacket from high school and talk about almost winning state. (Unless it’s at a reunion…)
Let’s also not stress over what may come tomorrow and beyond. We don’t know what the future holds. We don’t know how long we have on this earth. We… just don’t know about tomorrow and what tomorrow may bring.
What we have is today! So let’s be fully present in what God is offering us today. Be fully in God’s presence and God’s creation and all the things God has created just for you!
A good friend of mine shared this poem by Helen Mallicoat with me, and I would like to share it with you.
I was regretting the past
And fearing the future…
Suddenly the Lord was speaking :
“MY NAME IS I AM.” He paused.
I waited. He continued,
“WHEN YOU LIVE IN THE PAST,
WITH ITS MISTAKES AND REGRETS, IT IS HARD.
I AM NOT THERE.
MY NAME IS NOT I WAS.”
“WHEN YOU LIVE IN THE FUTURE,
WITH ITS PROBLEMS AND FEARS, IT IS HARD.
I AM NOT THERE.
MY NAME IS NOT I WILL BE.”
“WHEN YOU LIVE IN THIS MOMENT,
IT IS NOT HARD.
I AM HERE.
MY NAME IS I AM.”
May we be fully present with I AM.