Restlessness-ness

Hey friends, two things off the bat: (wait. is it off the bat or off the back? hold, brb bb’s. okay. quick google search says I was right first time):
1) I’m not gonna even attempt to self-edit this. So apologies ahead of time of the grammatical errors. I hope you’ll be able to decipher what I meant and not what I actually wrote.
2) Here’s a link to how you can connect with me on various platforms of social media because this blog gets neglected quite often… and a lot of the promos for the book will take place on other platforms first. I’ve already slowly started a slow burn of social media marketing of the book on IG and FB.

I was reading Zero to 80 by Olu Brown and in the second chapter he writes this:

I believe big vision grows out of our periods of restlessness and anxiety.
About a year into my tenure as Associate Pastor at Cascade, I became undeniably restless. The feeling forced me to do a lot of self-examination. It forced me to review my call and purpose.
…[the church] hadn’t changed — I had.
… My restlessness was a vision catalyst for me.

page 20

Those paragraphs made me pause hard and take a gander down memory lane.
Restlessness has been a hallmark of my career.
And I always viewed as a negative on my part.
Non-committal; bored; always looking for greener grass or whatever.
I mean, let’s take a look at my tenure with appointments.
Aiea Korean UMC (non-appointment) 2 years.
Mesa Verde UMC (first appointment) 1.5 years.
Valencia UMC 2.5 years.
St. Mark UMC 4 years.
First UMC Pearland 3 years.
Then an exit from the UMC.

Outside of one appointment, the last season of each appointment was filled with restless and anxiety.
I would’ve loved to stay at Valencia UMC for as long as I possibly could, but I knew by 2011 (as did John, my senior pastor at the time) that my time in youth ministry was coming to an end. I no longer had a burning passion for youth ministry that used to be my drive for the previous decade. Yet, budget-wise, there was no way for me to stay at Valencia without doing youth.

The wife often mentioned that — like what my Chinese zodiac says about monkeys (I’m a monkey — Chinese zodiac wise) — I get discouraged easily.
I shrugged it off initially. But after some time and self reflection, there was truth in those words.

The last two seasons of restlessness yielded some big changes in my life.
One brought me to Houston of Texas.
The following season of restlessness brought me to the Episcopalians.

Brown’s words gave me permission to normalize the restlessness I felt.
I always viewed as a negative part of my personality.
Granted, I don’t think it’s a super positive character trait, but it doesn’t weigh as heavily on my heart, shoulders, and conscience as it did before.

The restlessness did serve as a catalyst for the next season of my life.
And ultimately, it really was a “it’s not you, it’s me” thing. I did change. My passions changed. My calling changed. My vision changed.

I do wish that I had handled some of the restlessness better and wiser and … holier.
But you learn and grow. And when the next season of restlessness comes, we’ll truly be able to mark the process of maturation: will I make the same mistakes? Did I truly learn from the last season?

A couple months back, I had coffee with one of my former “coworkers.”
I don’t know what to really call him — besides an old friend .. and old as in, he’s old.
I was just checking in to see how he was doing while his church faced one of the most tense times in their history.
Always cool as a cucumber, he is.
And we were talking about my last year as his coworker (I guess I can use “colleague” but “colleague” to me implies we’re also around the same age. I am not — repeat NOT — around the same age as him. He’s old. hahahahahah)
He asked, “Why did you ask to leave?”
And I sat there stunned by his question.
I asked him: do you not remember how miserable I was and in turn, how miserable I made y’all?
He shrugged and said something about perception.
Either he really didn’t remember that last year or he was sparing me — either way, I was super appreciative of his graciousness.

But the pain and the angst of restlessness always birthed a new season.
Previously, I felt that restlessness was a burden; something bad; something that must be dealt with.

But now, in the season of restlessness, it’s a time of prayer, self-assessment, and the question of, “Ok, where am I being led to?”

Speaking of restlessness (and an awful segue to end this post) I don’t think I shared this on the blog yet: the title for upcoming book is When the Saints Go Flying In: Stories about Faith, Life, and Everything in Between.

Here are two endorsements of the book so far that was shared on FB and IG (give me a follow there! — also, please brace yourself, more self promotion will be taking place here and everywhere, shamelessly.)
Book release date is not set yet, but we’re all anticipating a Feb/Mar release.


Before WTSGFI, I had never come across a religious read that was both inclusive and intentionally funny, but Joseph’s witty writing style is inviting for even a secular reader like me. I didn’t get all the references (a lot of Googling was done), but without proselytizing or pandering, he recounts how he discovered what’s essential about himself through his faith. His journey is anchored by some of the most amusing footnotes you’ll ever read. Unfortunately, even though WTSGFI reinforced my faith in Joseph’s storytelling abilities, the fact he devotes a fraction of it to naming all the members of BTS (and who they’re dating) has made me lose faith in him as a person.

Brad Kageno, Writer and Director of I Hate You
Joseph Yoo’s journey is as compelling as his writing. His quest for understanding his place in the world while fine tuning his voice in a new community is one that many spiritual seekers will appreciate. This story is more universal in tone and scope than one might imagine because Joseph invites the reader to join him on an ongoing journey with personal stories, comforting images and inspirational ideas. He questions that which he does not understand and relates what is relevant. I read this book as a rite of passage to liberation from familiar rituals and familial structures that no longer brought the security or certainty of earlier years. With the spiritual migration that identifies current generations and the religious malaise that hinders religious institutions, Yoo’s words and wisdom serve as light to a promised land for others in need of new ways to serve and live out their life purpose. 

Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth, United Methodist Bishop and author of Alabama Grandson: A Gay, Black Minister’s Passage Out of Hiding

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