Last week, I had a chance to reconnect with old friends. During our chat, we somehow ended up talking about Enneagram types and told me about this project by Sleeping at Last. Let’s just say that it was a song that rendered me speechless because I felt like someone who wasn’t me talked about everything that was me. (Video below)
Generally, 3s are known as the Achievers and are success-driven. Their basic fear is being worthless, and their basic desire is to feel valuable and worthwhile. I’m a textbook 3. We generally are very concerned about how people see us and so maintaining a desirable image is very important to us. The problem is that sometimes in our desire to make sure that everyone sees us in a certain way, the masks that we put on becomes so fixed, we can mistake it as our true face. Maybe that’s why this song resonated so deeply within me. I’ve always struggled with feeling “good enough” or having “done enough”. Growing up in an immigrant Asian family context probably doesn’t help with that. There’s a constant pressure to be excellent. Yet, the pursuit of excellence can often lead one to dark places caused by the isolation, despair and the emptiness that can often accompany the drive for success. It’s something I’ve had to struggle with. Of course, being in academia doesn’t help. No one cares about an average scholar. You have to be the best scholar. But to be the “best”, one must often sacrifice many things and too often, the first to be sacrificed is our self.
“Now I only want what’s real // To let my heart feel what it feels // Gold, silver, or bronze hold no value here // Where work and rest are equally revered” – these words haunt me. Maybe because I struggle to know what’s real .. or maybe I’m struggling to know what’s really important. I would like to get to that beautiful place where I could revere rest just as much as I revere work. It has been a challenge.
The daily performance is exhausting. The smile can often hide the pain and the emotional turmoil within. Yet, expressing honesty can sometimes feel like it is to no avail. Even when I’m honest about my feelings and what I’m going through, it’s hard not to feel like other people think that I’m a joke. And so one can often feel stuck. Trapped by my own masks, I must now lay in the bed I made for myself.
One day I will “finally see myself through the eyes of no one else” but mine. I am hoping for a better day when I will finally see myself through the eyes of God.
The recent SCOTUS ruling that made same-sex marriage legal in the United States of America was met with a flurry of rainbow-themed avatars and #LoveWins hashtags. There was also a proliferation of warnings of apocalyptic destruction and the empire’s downfall from others. These two messages filled the air waves and polarized people in two camps. Social media was quick to highlight the tension between these two camps. Messages of love, hate, compassion, and confusion intermingled with one another forming an amorphous blob of simplistic explanations and pithy aphorisms.
There were many Christians who went out of their way to define and describe what love is. Some even reminded their audience of Jesus’ unconditional love for them. However, this was also coupled with a fairly lengthy caveat of sorts that turns into more like a disclaimer notice one would find in most contracts. I think it’s very important to make sure that we communicate what we truly mean. I would say that’s a basic given in trying to communicate with others. Yet, I feel like if you have to explain what unconditional love is by adding so many conditions to it, then it fails to be unconditional love anymore. If you have a son who is a drug addict, would telling him “I love you” mean that you are condoning or endorsing drug behaviour? No. If you have a daughter who got pregnant out of wedlock, would telling her “I love you” mean that you are condoning or endorsing sex outside of marriage? No. It means that even though they may have committed actions that you do not condone or endorse, you are not going to withhold or refuse to offer them your love. Displaying unconditional love means that our expression of love for another person is not based on what they have done but based on who they are.
In the Scriptures, we constantly see Jesus interacting with the marginalized and the oppressed. They were the bad people that society says we should never associate with: prostitutes, tax collectors, and cheaters. There is something startling in the way that Jesus dealt with those on the fringes of society. What startles me is not what Jesus said, but what he didn’t say. He never utters a single word of condemnation or what could even be interpreted as a “loving sermon.” He treats them with kindness, dignity, and dare I say it… love… that is so shockingly simple. This was not a love that needed lengthy explanations. This was a love that was simple and clear. It needed no further ramblings on what it meant. It was given purely. It was received purely. And it had the ability to transform their lives in ways that verges on the unfathomable.
When unconditional love is given, no words can properly define it. Why? Because unconditional love is intensely experiential. It arouses feelings within that we didn’t even know existed before. It is an incredible experience that defies logic. It may be difficult to put into words but it also unbelievably clear. There is no confusion in it. There are no doubts. Only clarity.
If we, as Christians, truly have this type of unconditional love for homosexuals as we often say we do, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have to go to great lengths to give them a detailed explanation because they would know what it means. The fact that we do makes me stop and pause for a minute and wonder if this is actually true.
Maybe it is best if we just said this: I love you. Period.
Welcome to today’s Tunes for Tuesday. My friend Rose (@GraceDefined) introduced me to this video awhile ago and let’s just stay that it is one of those videos that stay stuck in your head for a very long time. I usually don’t like a lot of “Christian” videos and music in general because they tend to, ummm, how do I say this nicely… alienate my soul! Imagine my surprise when I saw a video that was phenomenal! It’s called “Bombs Away” by Jonathan Thulin ft. Rachael Lampa). Click on the video below to watch!
Are there any other Christian music videos that you would recommend? Let me know in the comments section! =)
Today was a sick day. I didn’t do much all day. Needed to get my rest. Figured I might as well get caught up on Community. Such a funny show. Yet, also very real. Community can be fun but it can also be messy. We are all complex human beings. It’s so much easier to put everyone in the good and evil category. Sometimes, I wish it was that simple. We are all just a ball of hurt walking around, hoping that things will eventually work out sometimes. It’s just a reminder that I need to be nicer to others because I have no idea what they have gone through/are going through. I wasn’t able to go to church today (yah, I go to church on a Saturday… and a Sunday one too! lolz) But, found out that my pastor apparently made a reference to me. I sent him my paper and he talked about it from the pulpit. That’s pretty kewl!
Join me on this journey.