The past 10 weeks have been one of the most grueling yet powerful experiences of my life. I discovered many hidden critters within my heart closet, and as I have been literally taking things out of my real-life closet, I uncovered one of the biggest critters within me... REJECTION. As I shared previously, I often struggle with the idea of “looking good” and would find acceptance from others, but I recently realized that the root problem goes much deeper. Throughout the years, I experienced pain and hurt from my people group, Koreans, and I have been unknowingly harboring resentment and bitterness throughout my life. For this reason, looking good and making it appear that I have it all together became my defense mechanism. I didn't have a clue this was the root issue to many strongholds in my life because I often surrounded myself with Koreans. However now that it surfaced, I am ready to exercise total forgiveness so that I can walk with even greater freedom.
As a little girl, I had two amazing best friends that I loved with all my heart and even til this day, I can vividly remember their beautiful faces and their loving souls. I was a super shy uber introverted girl, and I had the hardest time expressing myself. It was so bad to the point that I often refused to raise my hand to tell the teacher I really needed to use the restroom, which led to one of the most mortifying moments of my life. Despite my shortcomings and my awkwardness, Naomi and Tammy, accepted me and loved me just as I was. I was Korean and they were not, but that didn’t matter to us! However somewhere along the way, I was told by another Korean that my friendship with people like Naomi and Tammy wouldn’t last because they weren’t like us. I didn’t understand what that meant, but one day that became a reality. Unfortunately, I started to believe that lie, even though our parting was simply because our family moved into a new neighborhood. During the summers, our parents would send us (my brother and me) to Korea to spend time with our grandparents. We loved going to Korea because our grandparents spoiled us and gave us everything we wanted! However as I grew older, I began to notice that the people in Korea looked at me like I was from another planet because I was 10 shades darker than them and my Korean sounded funny. I started to believe another lie, which was that I would never measure up to the real Koreans because I was born in America.
The list goes on and on, but that’s not what I want to focus on because the list really doesn’t matter. I want to face the real problem for what it is and prayerfully ask God to help me through my process with greater humility and love. It’s not about Korean culture, but rather my brokenness and how I perceived various circumstances and created my own story in my head. Throughout the years, I realized that I took 2 different approaches: savior mentality and apathetic tendencies. Both are unhealthy ways of dealing, and I am thankful I now have the eyes to see the truth but also recognize that my process is just the beginning.
There are certain stereotypes and labels that have been placed on all people group. For Koreans, the common ones I grew up to know are as follows: men are not affectionate and they are harsh when dealing with situations, women are jealous and controlling when dealing with situations, parents are overly strict and demanding of their children, and everyone is judgemental. As I developed relationships with many Koreans throughout my life, I began to believe those stereotypes and thought I could be the one to help save and change them. Over time, I became that controlling girl who often judged people and thought I had all the “right” answers...I became the label. My perception would only allow me to see one way so I often directed the blame on others. In reality, I should've been owning up to my mistakes. After many failed attempts of playing “savior”, I eventually became apathetic towards Korean culture and began creating a wall. Because I was not seeing change or very little change from my attempts to save, I stopped caring and began pulling away. I figured Koreans are the way they are, and I just had to accept those stereotypes and move forward without caring. I’d be cordial and understanding to some degree, but kept them at arms length so I wouldn’t get disappointed or discouraged.
I want to do something different this time. I want to simply own up to my mistakes and stop playing the blame game. I want to humbly apologize to my people group for passing judgement and for speaking those stereotypes into existence throughout the years. I am sorry for trying to play savior and also for my apathetic behaviors. I am sorry to each person I judged, gossiped about, tried to change, or pushed away. There’s so much value and integrity within the Korean culture, but somehow I became blind to them over the years. Korean men, your drive and fervor are created for greatness, and I'm thankful for your existence. Korean women, your beauty and worthiness are meant to be cherished and honored and I am thankful to be one of the many. Korean parents, your wisdom and perseverance are only a few of the many things you teach us...so thank you for loving us so well! I still have a mountain of things I need to sort through, but thank you Jesus that faith can move mountains! Thank you Heavenly Father for adopting me as your daughter, even with all my messed up and broken parts! Thank you Holy Spirit for living inside of my heart so I am not alone as I face these daunting and mortifying moments...like right now!
From my heart to yours # 12
What does forgiveness look like for you? I absolutely love that everyone's story is uniquely special so please keep sharing yours. Every response and every encouragement is well-received with overflowing gratitude, and I am praying with each and every one of you!!!
They say it takes 21 days to break a habit....I wonder what will happen if I give it 52 weeks?!?!!!
I was having a passing conversation with a girlfriend, and I told her that I was going to try out this thing where I would only shop from my closet. But days later, I realized there was no real weight to my words as I caught myself reasoning why I must buy this adorable jumpsuit that was beautifully hanging on a sale rack. Yes you guys....it was on sale so that gives me a good reason to buy...why not?!?!!! And then there’s this other thing. I absolutely love my parents, but one thing I have picked up from them, and I really, really don't want it carrying over to my next generation is holding onto stuff...some people might call it hoarding. It's not too crazy excessive or maybe it is...really depends on one's perspective...haha! My problem may not be too noticeable to most because I'm pretty good at organizing...Btw, I was really good at Tetris! However if I'm being real with myself, I have accumulated a lot of junk over the years.
When you experience third world living in a place like Africa, it does something to you. You don’t return the same. You just want everything around you to slow down so that you can mindfully live a simple life. Africa, along with other profound experiences, have become my perspective anchors:
1. Heidi Baker, missionary from Africa, believes in stopping for the one and remembering to go low and slow.
2. At the Yellow conference, I learned that I am my only problem, but I'm also the solution.
3. Author and Essentialist, Greg McKeown explains, "Essentialism is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution toward the things that really matter."
These profound words of wisdom have inspired me to call myself higher so that I can become the solution to my problem. For the next 52 weeks, I will commit to only shop from my own closet, and humbly give from my own possessions. In other words, I am making a promise to myself and all of you, that I will not buy any articles of clothing, shoes, accessories, and other non-essentials. I am also promising to weekly give away a prized possession I own to any random person. My purpose: I want to breathe life into an area that has held me captive throughout my life. No more excuses and no more shameful spending on non-essentials.
Accountability and vulnerability will keep me from drifting and compromising, so I am inviting all of you to journey with me as I embark on my #breathelife52 challenge. To all my friends and family, giving you all a heads up...I'll be doing a lot of re-gifting and hand-me-downs for the next 52 weeks. Please don't be mad if you see me giving away something you gifted me. It just means I really really loved it, and that's why I chose to give it away. The thought of me giving away 52 of my favorite things makes me want to throw up a little...not gonna lie! I figure, if I start giving away my favorite things, I'll no longer feel an attachment to my stuff. I admire those who know how to purge and live minimalistic lives. I hope to get there one day, and I hope to get there with ya'll!
#breathelife52 in a nutshell:
I'm bringing you all along with me in this because I simply need people to keep me in check and not let things slide for the next 52 weeks. What happens after the 52...only God knows! Let's see where I end up. Identifying the problem is the initial mountain. The bigger one is actually doing something about it! Mountain, move over because sjinspired is armed with Grit. Valor. Love (credit goes to Yellow Conference for adopting those 3 values and imparting them to entrepreneurial woman, like me!) I am not a fashionista/stylist and definitely not trying to be one. I am also not a noble philanthropist, although I wish I could be one. I'm just your average girl who’s willing to share my problems and ask for your help as I work through my mess.
From my heart to yours #11
What are the mountains in your life? Do something about it, and remember to have fun while doing it!
Every time I would see another engagement posted on instagram or I would come across another status change “married” on Facebook, it was when the level of anxiety kicked up another notch. Every time a family member asked, (with good intentions of course, but it didn’t feel like that at the time) “Shouldn’t you be thinking about settling down and getting married?”, it was when I frustratingly wanted to scream “YES! Of course I do!” Then there were other days when the fear of being left behind, being overlooked or even completely forgotten that stirred up all kinds of ugly. That pretty much summed up my twenties and early thirties, and the load eventually got way too heavy for me to carry.
Hello! My name is Sarah Jung, and I am a recovering Serial Monogamous Dater. It all started sometime in middle school, and somehow I found myself in a constant cycle year after year. I didn’t know how to be alone, and I didn’t want to be alone. I found my self-worth in men, and cultivated an unhealthy dependency on them. The way I bounced back from a heartbreak was jumping right into another relationship. Worst choice ever, but that was the stupid choice I made. I say stupid because I never allowed my heart to heal, I compromised my character, and I hurt other people along the way. The jaded, hopeless, and heartless person was the result of my choices.
Today, I am 36 going on 37 years old, and I would’ve never imagined that I would still be unmarried and single. I can proudly celebrate and declare that I finally broke that sick cycle and remained completely independent the past 2 years…whooohooo! To be completely honest, it was really, REALLY tough at times, and I was tempted to go back to my old ways one too many times. However truth be told, I wasn’t completely alone throughout the process. I had nowhere else to turn, and found myself turning to Jesus for answers and comfort. Sometimes He even became my punching bag when I was faced with anger, frustration, and discouragement, but thank goodness I’m forgiven! There were layers upon layers of unresolved pain and scars, and it was crucial I spent careful time fully healing and restoring before I even thought about dating again.
As I share my story, there may be some that parallel mine. However, although everything could look and sound the same, the process and struggle we’re working out may be different. And for those who experienced something completely different from me, might discover that the process and struggle could actually be the same. We are truly the only ones that know what’s going on in our hearts so we have to be willing to be real and honest with ourselves. Stop covering it up and brushing it under the rug…let everything out and get rid of the junk (note to self)! When vulnerability becomes more natural, we’ll discover that all those weighted burdens will begin to fall to the ground one by one. Doing regular heart checks was one way I experienced freedom and growth the past two years. I’ve learned to admit my flaws and also created healthy boundaries with people and circumstances. I don’t get it right all the time, but thank goodness tomorrow is always a new day!
From my heart to yours #8:
Here are some practical things I do to renew my mind and restore my heart:
I'm using this space to simply share the meaningful things that burn my heart and the random things that run through my mind. Simply desiring more vulnerability and authenticity in my life.