the mid-year grind


Well, I guess this is what you would call the mid-year grind. I’m about half-way through my master’s program. But I’m starting to get so lazy. I mean, I still enjoy the subject, but I’m like already in 5th gear of procrastination, and the end still seems so far away. It’s really ironic that I’m in grad school, cause I’m such a horrible student.

I guess I’m just restless. I keep reminding myself why I’m doing what I’m doing. It’s to prepare me for my life/career, whatever that is. And I know, I should be using this “prep time” to learn and grow and all that fuzzy stuff, but do will I ever get done with preparing? I was just thinking today…If I died, and reported on my status in life, I would say, “Well, I was in school preparing to do something great in life, but never got to it yet….I was still getting ready.” Yeah, though preparation is important, I want to be doing something right now. If I were to die, I want to be able to say that I was actively making a positive impact on the world….(continued a few paragraphs later, sorry, my mind is scattered like that).

So far my teaching aid job is going alright. The students haven’t stumped me yet, so at least I’m still holding onto the impression that I’m a genius. Let’s see how long that will last. But… of the students asked me if her friend could attend my session even though they’re not in the class. So I guess that’s a good sign – my sessions are actually entertaining enough to attract outsiders.

I am so frustrated spiritually. Once in a while I’ll hear sermon on a podcast or read a certain devotional that totally gets me fired up. I spend the whole day in prayer, just crying out to God to speak into my life and use me. And then it disappears the next day. I don’t get it. I can’t maintain a steady level of devotion and I realize more and more just how desperately weak I am. I know, it’s not up to me, it’s God that gives the grace to strengthen me. But what does that mean?

For those of you in the church, have you ever thought about that? We throw around phrases like, “Let Christ live through you,” “Let his grace carry you,” “In your weakness, He is strong,” etc. Yeah, those are great thoughts, but what does it really mean? How does it play out practically? I think we just get so used to church culture that a trendy discourse is developed, and everyone sort of knows what we’re referring to, but no one actually knows what it is. So I say a prayer like, “God work through me.” But what’s supposed to happen? Am I supposed to gain more confidence? Does he stimulate my brain to have a longer duration of focus when I’m reading my Bible? Should I “feel” a greater inclination towards good choices?

I guess that’s why I’ve always struggled with the whole idea of “being versus doing.” Being is so abstract. It’s hard to “connect with God through prayer” or “have His word dwell in my heart.” In my rational mind, doing good works is a greater evidence of God. It makes more sense, and is more tangible, to feed the hungry or clothe the naked. It’s just more practical to love your neighbors and help the poor. In a way, it’s more measurable; I know whether I’ve done it or not. Maybe that’s why I have such a strong drive towards humanitarian stuff and social justice. My pastor once said, “Don’t feel your way into acting, act your way into feeling.” I don’t know….

Anyways, I’ve mentioned to some of you before about this guy I know in Kenya. Over the past year, I’ve been sending him money occasionally to help out with housing. (Don’t worry, it’s not some internet fraud, I spent 2 months with the guy in Kenya). Yet it’s always been kinda obligatory, and I felt both guilt and annoyance every time he would email me asking for help. But I know he truly needs it…Kibera is the second largest slum in Africa and people are literally dying from poverty. I’ve always complained to myself though, saying that he is just dependent on me and sees me as a source of money. Yet at the same time I want to help the poor.

Somehow, God finally got through to me and revealed my inconsistencies and self-contradictions, and I couldn’t fight back any longer. This whole time I’m asking God how I could be a blessing, how I could do something to change the world for the better, even if it were just one life. And here God places an opportunity in my life, a family with a survival need, and I just complain about it. So I’ve made the commitment to support him in prayer and financially for as long as I’m physically able. There’s just no excuse anymore. Even on my meager teaching aid paycheck and student loans, I still have more than enough wealth to support him and probably a few other families. Of course, my desire is still that he would become self-sufficient and not have to depend on me. Which leads to the next part.

Plans for my business/organization are under way. It will be 3-part. One is to buy products directly from people in Kibera at a fair price to stimulate local economy, and resell them in the US. The second is to direct those profits into community profits, like orphanages and schools. The third is to make small business loans to help people get started and become self-sustaining, since they usually just don’t have the capital. And this friend in Kenya will be the first “trial” client. More info coming soon as I get details ironed out. And by the way, the business will be called “Renovatus,” a latin word meaning “restoration” or “renewal.” Steal that, and I’ll hunt you down. Oh, and I’m also in the process of creating this website that will display profile information and weekly prayer requests for local churches in the slums of Kibera, Kenya. That way, you, the American church, can pray specifically for our brothers and sisters and also be able to send them letters of encouragement. More info later as well.

It’s interesting, that my career goal isn’t necessarily what I’m good at or what I like, but more of what is needed. I find it so hard to concentrate on all these world issues, though I know there is such great need in that. But what I waste my time on is playing my guitar, mixing tracks, editing videos, and designing websites. I could do so well and have so much fun in the music industry or graphic design or something. And so I wonder, what shapes our calling? Our desires? Our talents? The needs? Randomness?

Well, that was a lot of thinking head stuff for this blog. I’ll stop now. It’s been raining like everyday here. Yuck.

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