Failure, F-bombs and Freedom

I’ve been waiting for the time to sit down and write…and I’ve been pondering the things I would write about given all that I’ve experienced recently. A lot has been going on. I actually wrote something yesterday but just wasn’t feeling real led to share it…

So I’m sitting back down again because I know that I know that I know how good writing is for my soul. For me, it’s like working out, I never look back thinking it was a waste of time. I feel really good after I write.

And right now I just want to say that life feels really hard…and I constantly feel so dang needy.

I’m not looking for a pity party…I’m just keeping it real. My insecurities overwhelm me. And I want them to disappear but it doesn’t happen like that…or does it?

You tell me…because I’ve done my fair share of work…and yet it seems constant…there is always more.

Oftentimes, the process of healing is likened to an onion, layer by layer, we heal…so I’m pretty sure I’m the most layered onion there ever was and if onions also make themselves cry…then I’m that onion.

The last five weeks of my job have been devoted to studying for the Series 7 and 66 Financial Licensing exams. And studying just isn’t my thing, and when it consists of content like what I was studying…it makes things REALLY hard…and then when you throw in the need to achieve in me…that’s just a ticking time bomb waiting to happen.

But as I write this…there was NO EXPLOSION.

Oh me oh my. Now that’s some serious business.

It’s rare that I don’t tear up when I think back to the call I made years ago to my poor Momma and Daddy in the Philippines, who were completely helpless upon answering the phone and without any explanation had to listen to my wails of devastation over my rejection to medical school.

That journey taught me so much, and I was sure there were no more lessons to be learned…but turns out, Paul knew what he was talking about when he said:

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

And gosh, I hesitate to call it lessons. I don’t subscribe to the notion that God’s heart is for hard times so I can be taught hard lessons. That’s just icky and I don’t want to think of it in that regard.

What I am certain of is this: I want freedom…and He knows better than anyone this desire. And freedom comes with a price.

It’s why Jesus went to the Cross. For my freedom He has set me free.

And I confess to you right now…what I know gets in the way of my freedom is my worry over finances and my people-pleasing…and my fear of failure and rejection…

For me, early on in life, my identity became attached to my academic and athletic achievements…success, really.

The possibility of rejection and failure paralyzed me for so long. And my journey to medical school really helped me move beyond that.

Having basically everything I could ever want and then losing it all also helped to redefine success and make me dependent on Him as my financial source like never before, which I still struggle with daily.

I’ve definitely tasted freedom from the things which have bound me but it’s easy to get triggered when you’ve measured yourself for so long according to test scores, and then you’ve gone on to work in settings that rank you weekly based on your performance…not to even mention the measures that exist in your mind…like, I’m 37 and still single…what else do I need to do to make the grade??

So at some point, enough is enough. And on Saturday evening, I had enough…

As I was wrapping up studying for my final test…I melted into a puddle on my floor asking God to take away the fear of failure in me.

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And wouldn’t you know…for as long as I have been full on pursuing Him, out of that, I realized that that fear was in the way of truly believing in the depths of my heart that His plans for me are for good.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

So in my weepy mess I told Him that I wanted to believe, I wanted to wholeheartedly believe that.

And if there was any ticking time bomb set off, it was the anger that rose up in me against the enemy of my soul…I don’t like to direct any attention there, but let’s face it, he stops at nothing to steal and kill and destroy…and in response to that, the words spewed out of me…

F*#& you, satan. F$(#. You.

Sigh.

Anger is hard for me to express and that was so needed…so so needed and in my heart, I just knew I was taking a stand like never before.

So the next morning when I took my test, I had nothing more than your old run-of-the-mill test anxiety, and deep confidence in the One who was with me.

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

So when I walked out with a “Fail” and no earth-shattering sense of failure. That was the greatest victory.

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Failure, nor success defines me.

I’m His. And that’s all I need to be.

I continue to laugh at my current role in the financial services industry. I still have no idea what I’m doing there and I’ll need to retake this test and pass to stay…

That said, when I look around at others doing amazing things so in line with their passion and talents…I have my weak moments of doubt and envy…

But I know that He knows and I’m learning more and more just how deeply He cares for my heart.

Because the reality is I’m in this world that now comes with social media…I’m also working in Corporate America. And neither are terrible, but both offer much opportunity for comparison and rankings and measurements.

So as much as I want to avoid everything that’s hard for me and hide in a hole and never come out…He wants the most abundant life for me and FREEDOM is my gateway.

He called me back to the desert. He’s shown me the beauty in it. He’s promised to make all things new. And I do believe that.

So after my sweet victory yesterday, I went to the desert to celebrate and officially take my stand against the measuring stick that I’ve been working way too long and hard at measuring up to.

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And yes, I’m needy. So so needy…and I’m pretty sure that will never ever go away…and I’m okay with that because it gives me opportunity after opportunity to fall into immeasurable depths of LOVE, MERCY and GRACE.

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Lord, I pray…may I never ignore the call of Freedom.

Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.

Philippians 1:6, Jeremiah 29:11, Zephaniah 3:17, John 10:10, Isaiah 43:19, Ephesians 3:20, Galatians 5:1

The Hard Truth

Nearly three years ago, I did some incredible healing work through the most loving and caring couple and am so grateful I did. It uncovered many lies that I had lived most my life believing. And I was aware of them, but not aware of how I had taken hold of them in a way that was hindering me…for all intents and purposes, allow me to share one specific lie that was exposed:

I am not a skinny blonde with blue eyes, so I’ll never be good enough.

Part of my process with this most wonderful couple was to reveal the following truth:

I have been created in God’s image and as I walk in my healing, I choose to accept that He has created every aspect of my being for His pleasure; my skin color, my hair, my almond-shaped eyes, my body type…they are all beautiful and lovely in His sight.

Fortunately, this is the hard truth!

On the other hand, truth can be difficult to accept when you’ve believed a lie for so long…so I have been walking out my healing around this for the last few years. But let me tell you that the fact that I’m still single can attach itself to this lie. Also, the fact that I’ve moved back to the States after living in Asia for a year, to live in a city well known for the beauty of its women who share attributes of the lie I have believed can make it difficult to believe the truth.

So all this being said, I reached out to a most beautiful and incredibly talented friend who brings healing in a unique way through Freedom Sessions. As we drove up to the spot picked out for our session, we had the most enlightening conversation about the plight of women when it comes to comparison…by the way, this friend is also so stinking wise…I loved when she told me that we need to be women who “wave the banner of freedom” over what culture deems beauty.

I also loved when she pointed out that if we’re really tuned in to what we envy in other women, we’ll likely find that it’s not the beauty we seek, it is their confidence. That was so telling…

Because my ongoing prayer has been to fully embrace me…to be confident in who He has created me to be…to stop questioning if I’m too much or not enough…to stop shrinking back, but also, to stop being prideful when I find myself feeling I have one up on another (because I do that, too!)…dangit…I just want it all to stop.

So this is what He showed me this morning…and if I can start to embrace this truth…then I can be confident like never before, and all that comparing and shaming and ickiness can start to go away.

First, I must share scenes from my session of freedom…

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Okay, so you can’t argue with the fact that my friend is crazy amazing talented with her gift in natural light photography. And okay, we can’t deny that creation clearly declares His glory (Psalm 19:1).

So often we need to allow the awe and wonder of nature to remind us of His Presence…I needed it a few weeks ago so went on a road trip for this…

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The Grand Canyon is a sight to behold. Breathtaking, indeed.

Yet this is the truth:

When He was creating all things…it wasn’t until He came to us that He spoke, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” -Genesis 1:26

So if we should be most in awe and wonder of His beauty and handiwork, it should be in light of exactly as He created us to be.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. -Genesis 1:27

In all of its wonder, beauty and majesty, the Grand Canyon wasn’t created in His image…but little ol’ me was.

Now that is some hard truth, and I’m so humbled by that but also embracing more and more that there is much to be glorified in that…

Father, may I wave a banner of beauty over others…may I be overwhelmed by the awe and wonder in every person I meet…first, starting with little ol’ me.

Amen.

Free Spirit

I’ve been back in the good ol’ U S of A for one month now. WOW. Where did a month go?

Two things that immediately come to mind are Conrad and cruising.

My nephew continues to light up my world like no child has ever done before. Gosh, there are no words to express the joy of being an aunt. No. Words.

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And as for cruising goes, having given my car away before I left for Japan, I had to borrow my sister’s wheels.

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And during my cruising, I made some friends along the way. One of them was incredibly perceptive and affirmed what I know to be more and more true, “You keep being the free spirit you are. Don’t ever make plans.”

Thanks, Obie! I’m taking that one to heart.

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So after much Conrad and cruising, the plans that I made to visit my old desert home didn’t go as I had planned, but the good news is, they came a little earlier than planned. (Go figure. Thanks again, Obie!)

So I’m back in Arizona, where I moved to after college and spent 12 years of my life. 12 years full of lots of planning, striving, fretting and longing to be anywhere but here.

Yet during the familiar and normally dreadfully long drive from L.A. to Phoenix, I was overly expectant and full of gratitude for how He has redeemed this place (Revelation 21:5). I get to see some of the best people I know.

And I don’t believe it’s where I’m going to settle, but I’m pretty sure it’s a resting place in between where I came from and where I’m going… sigh.

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Again, redemption at its finest.

But of course only He knows, and what I do know is that this once lost soul is found, and embracing the free spirit she was created to be.

I love my Filipino roots, I love the Japanese culture, and I love the country that serves as the birthplace and launching pad for this free spirit.

And I know I’ve been talking non-stop about Japan, but I love you, too, America. There is no place like you and I’m beyond grateful for you. Yesterday, I celebrated your independence and mine, too!

Thanks for the freedom you offer but above all, Jesus, thanks for setting me free.

In the Land of Opportunity, living life in Your Spirit is the best choice I ever made.

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So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. Galatians 5:1