it begins with failure

A lot of times I look at success, whether it be in a relationship or a career or a mindset, as an immediate occurrence rather than constant effort. I blame myself for this mentality, but I also blame the culture I grew up in and the way I’ve been socialized to believe that everyone attains success and has their lives figured out by age 23. What a lie this world feeds us! I always forget about how Daniel and his companions suffered for their faith and how Joseph’s rise to power came with time and righteousness. Or how Esther had to sacrifice and risked her people, or how Ruth had stayed faithful to her mother-in-law and gleaned the fields for something to eat.

It’s so easy to get lost in the little things in life rather than looking at the bigger picture. I’m learning about but more importantly accepting failure. Failure is a good thing and necessary thing. I mean, c’mon… Oprah was fired from her job, Seinfeld was booed off stage, Marilyn Monroe was told she couldn’t become a model, J.K Rowling lived off welfare, etc. You get the point.

A lot of times I get embarrassed by mistakes and failures and I get shy and my self-confidence drops to the point I want to hide under my bedsheets for days, but that’s the thing. Embarrassing setbacks and attempts are building blocks to something greater, even leading to major lifestyle changes.

Yes, I’ve been in a slump this past year.
Yes, I did horribly on an interview this week.
Yes, I’ll sometimes eat bags of popcorn (healthier than chips) and live vicariously through blogs to make myself feel better.

But do I regret any failed interview or days wasted eating popcorn? For some time I was hard on myself and thought I did, but the thing is.. I really don’t. I’m learning something more valuable, and that’s to get back on my feet again.

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Flowers are always a good reminder for me of God’s faithfulness. People don’t know or understand why I dry flowers or press them or collect photos of them, but it’s because I’m always reminded of how good God is and how great his mercy is. If he takes care of the lilies of the field, how much more will he take care of and provide for me. And yet, even King Solomon wasn’t clothed as elegantly as these.

Cheers to the opportunity to be in Korea.
Cheers to flowers – dead and alive.
Cheers to living life.

thought #1

I would like to think I’m open to new cultures and experiences. That I’m able to adjust easily to changing circumstances. But why is it so difficult for me to get accustomed to Korean culture? When it comes to Korea, I’m so critical from the way they dress to the way they treat workers to the way they lavishly live their lives. Truly, an outsider and Western “I’m better than you” mentality. Because let me be honest, sometimes when I’m out with my parents, I’ll speak English rather than Korean to show people that I’m from the States. Messed up, yo.

Yesterday I went to a cafe to order an Iced Americano. After I thought I had successfully ordered, the cashier said something about having a membership or getting a discount. I’m not sure which it was but either way, my response was a blank stare. I immediately said, “Excuse me? I don’t know what that is. I’m from America” in English. The waiter just smiled and apologized.

It’s hard, and I think it’s hard because I don’t want to be embarrassed. I realize that using the “I’m from the States” phrase is only an excuse to get away with not knowing the culture or language (note: very different from being ignorant of the culture). In a sense, I don’t want to associate myself with Koreans, and it’s always been like that. I’m hoping during my time here my mentality will change and I’ll be more open to this place. Because let’s be real, there’s a lot of great things to like about this place like the sheep cafe I will be visiting next week. Yes, a sheep cafe.