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!!!
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.