How do you deal with confrontation? Do you avoid it? Stand your ground? Or do you start it? Well, I guess everything will depend on the situation, right? I think depending on doing what is right and lawful.
Everyone knows that I love to go fishing, but some people I meet on the waters banks may not enjoy the same passion. So one day I was fishing, I got into a confrontation with some persons who think that I should not be fishing in a certain location.
I was fishing a public area, and I was in the areas marked where I can fish. However, they did not like me fishing in that particular area. So instead of moving, I stood my ground and told them that I am not doing anything wrong. I then said some words that weren’t bad words, but just words of stubbornness. I fished for a little bit, but didn’t feel good. I didn’t like being pushed off an area for no good reason, and I didn’t like being harassed by people. By the way, this does happen to me a lot across the nation. I couldn’t help but feeling depressed and angry. So I just crouched down and really started to think about everything; my behavior, their behavior, my actions, my handling of the entire confrontation.
I didn’t do anything wrong, but still felt rotten. I felt like I let my Christian upbringing down, I felt that I let my family down, and my church down. As a pastor shouldn’t I just ignore this? Maybe I didn’t need to say anything at all, or just move to a different spot. I didn’t know what to really do, but I decided I just want to talk to them, start over, and just find an understanding of differences.
So I picked up my rods and started to track them. They weren’t far off, and I hollered to them and just said, I want to start over and reconcile to what happened back there. They looked confused, and wondered what my intentions were. I told them I don’t want to argue but I just want to talk and I want to hear them out as well.
We shared thoughts and I heard how they didn’t like anglers because they leave hooks and trash all over the place, which I couldn’t agree more. I too dislike seeing fishing trash laid all over the place. I told them that I felt bad for feeling like I was getting pushed around for fishing. I told them, I don’t like getting pushed around, but I also don’t like how I was feeling afterwards. In general we had a good talk, we both apologized for our outcome and making each other feel bad.
We are approaching the 4th of July and it is a time of celebration of our great nation. For the past year and even more, our country seems so divided on everything these days. Our country is diverse, there is no doubt about that. Everyone has a different opinion on everything. But that should never be the reason why we cannot let differences break us apart. Even if you may not agree with other people, there is no need to feel betrayed. We are all human, living in one country, just trying to do what we can to find happiness. We should do our best to try to listen to other people, not to try to vindicate your beliefs, but to just see the other as a fellow neighbor, friend, and citizen. It is ok, if you can’t get your way, it is ok if someone doesn’t agree with you. And it is perfectly fine.
As for my situation, there are plenty of fishing spots to go. I do not have to feel that this is my spot, this is my time, and this is the only place where the fish will be. I am human, I know I will make decisions that will disappoint the values that I uphold. Always choose peace over confrontation. Always be understanding and cheerful rather than stressed and angry. We only have one life, do the best each day to do some good in the world, even if that mean putting your ego in check.
For about one week I have been trying to think about what to write for the church blog. I have a couple that I am working on, but I am waiting to get them on the website on a different day. But I didn’t know what I want to write for this week. Should I write something that is really personal or something work related or something theological or current events? Well, nothing striking really came up to be honest. So I decided to make this entry simple.
Last couple of weeks have been a bit rough for me. A stressful week followed with a concussion and currently the kids are having a harder time going to sleep because the neighborhood just seems like it is getting louder from everyone drag racing their supercars and motorcycles, mix that in with the random fireworks going off as we near 4th of July. When the kids cant sleep well, neither can mom and dad! So, I really have been working on little energy.
When you lack energy, you often times makes mistakes, feel sluggish, and are quite forgetful, which in turn produced more stress on top of the stress that was already there. So, instead of worrying about my lack of sleep, the rough last two weeks, the kids having a rough go at staying asleep, I decided to think positive.
Thinking has power. If we recall the message of the sermon from last Sunday. God is not a God who is trying to be in control of everything. Sometimes when we are hit with tough situations or unfortunate circumstances it is easy to throw our hands in the air and demand God to fix this mess, or put God on trial and simple ask, if you are so loving God, why do bad things happen? It can be easy to pick on God when bad things happen. But remember God does not yearn to control us and our world, God wants to give us control.
Control starts with thinking. Regardless of the mess you might find yourself in, positive thinking is important. And what helps me think positive is thinking about all the things present in my life that I am grateful for. So even if I feel like my life is off the rails or that I feel that what is going on in my life is not what I had planned, I must step back and find positive re-enforcements in my life that are just straight up blessings.
I have a beautiful, talented, intelligent wife, two adorable rambunctious children, a great church to work at, great things happening in the church, a roof over my head, two operational cars, food on the table, my health, fishing, awesome iPhone that I can share memories on and be more efficient for work, internet for movies, staying in touch with mom and dad and my in laws, clean water, sense of humor, and honestly the list can probably go on if I think about it more extensively. But I just thought about these things in less than 2 minutes. Imagine what I can think about if I spend 30 minutes about how thankful I am with all the things in my life instead of wasting 30 minutes of complaining all the things not going well in my life.
Even in that short time of writing this article, I already feel renewed. I feel happier and grateful. Remember, thinking has power and we worship a God who wants to give us power. Everything starts up in your head. Think positive and your world will look more positive. Do not focus on the things you don’t have or lack but think about the things you do have that give you joy and gratitude. You can change your day only if you decide that the power if given to you to do so. God bless you all!
I Have a Concussion
Not a big deal, it’s mild, but definitely a concussion and not just a headache. So yeah, I am writing this blog with a concussion and man… it really takes a lot of work trying to think and physically press the right keys. So if there is anything here that does not make any sense.. there is a good reason probably. I have to wear these special glasses to watch the computer screen, so it doesn’t bother my brain (don’t know if that makes sense).
So here is what has happened. Yesterday, like any normal day. Nothing unusual at all. I went to open the car door, and from what I can remember, the door flew back and smacked me right on the noggin. I think a strong wind must have pushed it towards me or something. I don’t remember much now which is weird, but I didn’t think that I hit my head hard. There’s no bruise or anything showing any signs of trauma.
But I do have missing pieces of memory in that moment, that’s for sure. Also, I had zero sense of balance, and any sounds and lights seem to really irritate me. I also had a hard time focusing on conversation and doing anything that would have been a simple task. And apparently, I put the milk in the cupboard and the cereal in the fridge. Who knows what else objects I misplaced!
Anyways, everyone, be careful out there. You don’t have to do something extraordinary to get injured! Also, if you ever had a concussion before, it’s not a fun world, especially when you have a lot of responsibilities to do. I am forced to move slower, and it is really stressful. I am told not to think too much, but I think and worry because I have to move so slow, not to further damage by brain! So it’s like a catch-22.
Anyways, I do want to encourage people to be safe and always careful. Sometimes the unexpected things happen, and we have to stay sharp and have a strong constitution and unwavering hope. When unexpected things happen, it may force us to slow down, do our best to stay calm, and trust everything else on God. I have no idea how to prepare lunch and dinner for the kids today, but I trust in God to give me simple ideas and hopefully our cabinets are fully stocked with cereal because they can make that themselves. I just have to be more aware to put the milk and cereal in the proper places. Stay safe and God bless you all!
When I was in college, I had a friend named Moses Beauregard Fritz. I have always known him as such. His father and mother always called him Mosie… which I assume is the nickname for Moses. He grew up in Kentucky. I learned that in Kentucky calling people by their nicknames is more common. Nobody is ever called by their birth name. But at one point I had to write a check to him, and I wrote, “Moses” and he said to me, “Oh, you have to use my real name.” I was shocked, “I thought Moses was your real name!” For over four years, I knew Moses as Moses. But he then reveals that his name is Robert Keith Fritz. WWWHHHAAAATTTT!!!! “How in the world did you go from Robert Keith Fritz to Moses Beauregard Fritz? And Mosie is the nickname of your nickname?” In classic fashion he says, “I dunno.” Nice.
Choi, Choi-Boy, Change, Chewy, Troy, Asian Sensation, Korean Wonderboy, and Pocket Change, and PC. Those are the nicknames that I have been called up to this point. Each one of these nicknames has a certain story of why I am “named” as such. But a nickname, is just certainly that, a nickname. A nickname does not define who you are as a whole human being. You may come with multiple nicknames in your lifetime, but none of those names really tell your entire life story.
I was thinking about nicknames because as I was studying scripture during my daily devotionals I have come to realize the incredible names of Jesus. Jesus Christ, the Messiah, Son of God, Son of Man, Emmanuel, Lord, Master, the Word. Now I am sure I am leaving a few names out of this blog. But isn’t that astounding to think about the amount of names Jesus has been called in His lifetime. Each one of those names does not completely tell the entire story of Jesus, just parts of it. Each of those names of Christ cannot define Jesus 100%, only giving us bits and pieces to Jesus’ true identity and nature.
Even so, thin about the names of God! YHWH, I Am, Lord, Father, and the numerous idioms and metaphors for God. That is a lot of names and a lot of definitions. So why does Jesus and God have so many names? Well, I really have no idea why. But to me I think those names are personal to people who can identify easy to certain names that bring a certain meaning. Also possibly the many names of God and Jesus has its purpose that they cannot be easily put in a box with a simple definition. God and Jesus should be complex for all of us! To think that we know for certain who Jesus and God is fully is absolute arrogance.
So just think about your name or nicknames you have had in your life. At some point you were defined as a certain person, but 20 years from now, you might not be that person anymore. You have grown up, and grown out of certain names. Even you life, and life’s direction is just as mysterious and complex than you realize. So just remember, if you find your life to be complex and that naming for you has certain meaning that had its place and time, think about how much more so that is with Jesus and God.
What you know about God and Jesus when you were 5 years old may be quite different to how you identify with God and Jesus today, and it will be much different 10 years from now as well. God is always revealing not just who you truly are, but also revealing who He really is as well.
Week of Stress
A lot of decision making is happening for our family this week.
Norah, on Wednesday will have to miss school because she is going to go to Greensburg, PA to get dental surgery done. She was unfortunately blessed with weak enamel. Since she was a baby her teeth have always been a bit weak. Even though we brushed two or sometimes three times a day, reducing her sweets, her teeth still have issues. She will have her front teeth extracted in order to give her new teeth space to come out, and she will get some crowns on her molars. She will not be able to eat anything for a while, and I am so stressed about the drive, about the surgery, about everything.
Ben will be moving on to daycare in the fall. We found a place that can take him, and I have a bit anxiety over that as well. Last time he went to daycare, he threw up all day, went through all of his clothes, and I picked him up later that day, without any clean pants. Not too mention for months Ben was unhappy, and getting bit 2 out of the three days he was there. He knows what’s going on and every morning he looks at me and says “no school.” I guess he was traumatized enough. He is also going through the difficulties of being ultra-resistant to potty training. Not fun for mom and dad.
Eunkyung has to make a big decision what it comes to her internship. She received a phone call that really puts a lot of stress on the table. She is handling it with grace, and she soon will have to make a decision on what to do next. I will spare all the details. Nothing bad happened, but just an important decision she’s got to make.
So, today in order keep my anxiety on check, I went fishing at Glendale lake. Well, instead of relieving my stress, I only increased it even more! God gave me the opportunities to hook into a lot of fish… 8 times I hooked up, but somehow, some way, I get zero fish on the bank. I even lost two big bass and one possible muskie or pike. In the process I lost three hooks, two tungsten weights, one chatterbait, and one swimbait by getting it snagged in the bottom. It was a rotten frustrating day of fishing. Never had a day like that. Brutal. I got to get focused in setting the hook at the right time, especially when every fish at Glendale Lake was aggressively feeding.
It’s only Tuesday, but man… I feel like everyone in the family is going through some big decision making (expect me, really… I mean… other than fishing techniques). But that is all OK, because every decision we make, can always change the outcome for better. Every challenge that God gives us only gives us the opportunity to analyze each situation to prepare for the future. Regardless, of the situations, the future is always going to look bright.
There is a lot to think about in my head, but I am happy to be in these moments of life. Rise up to challenges, be patient, don’t get too worked up, keep trying, and push forward to the best of your ability. Make every decision with conviction and stick with it. We will all have weeks or days like this and it reminds me evermore to take everything that is in my head to God with prayer.
Prayers for Norah, Ben, and Eunkyung… and my wacky fishing day! Through prayer we show our dependence to God and with God’s help we will find peace, fortitude, and grace. So I am looking forward to these bits of stress because I know it will give me more perspective in the future. Thanks be to God for everything that life may throw at us! Amen.
By the way, my fishing day literally cost me, close to $15.00 of lost items… yikes.
Hey this is Rev. Brian Choi's random thought throughout my week. Most of this stuff, will probably be about family, church, fishing, music, movies, food, whatever I think of, hopefully it will have some sort of theological reflection (maybe).