More is Better
Bass fishing is a hobby for me. I love it. The problem is that bass fishing can get very complex when we talk about artificial baits, lures, rods, and reels. Is it possible to have one rod and reel exclusively to catch bass? Well… sorta… yeah… I mean, Norah caught a 1.5lb largemouth bass on her kiddie barbie rod.
But why is bass fishing so complicated? The problem lies in the type of fishing you are doing. Most exclusively I am always using artificial lures, and that is where the complexity begins. Artificial lures come in so many different colors and weights, and each lure has a specific way it must be fished. Some lures are used to fish the bottom, some lures are fished in the middle of the water column, and some lures are fished on the top water. Some lures are good around rocks, some good in brush piles, some good in weeds, some are good on calm days, and some are good on windy days, some are good on sunny days, some good on cloudy days…. And the various colors need to match the occasion of the water clarity and temperature.
Yeah, there are a lot to think about when trying to catch largemouth bass effectively and consistently. That being said about artificial lures, you have your various types of fishing rods. Each rod that I own is so uber specific on the type of lure that I want to use. Each rod has a specific weight limit, and each rod has a certain “power” or “stiffness” and each rod has there own “bend.” All these factors play an important part in catching bass effectively.
But the question is… have I become a better angler with the increase of rods, reels, and artificial lures? And the truth is… yes. I definitely can say I put more fish on the bank as I have increased my rod, reels, and lures collection. I catch more fish, lose a lot less fish, and also increased my interest in using unique lures that come out in the market every year.
Now this doesn’t mean you can’t catch fish with only one rod and reel set up. You can, of course. But it’s just easier to fish for bass with more gear. Also, it is less worry and hence more confidence in fishing with different rod and reel set ups.
Basically, the more “tools” you have the better advantage you have in successfully being a better angler, when it comes to bass fishing. So the reason why I am talking about “fishing” is a metaphor about our Christian faith. If you want your faith to grow, you need tools. The more the merrier.
Can you still be a Christian with less tools, or course! But if you really wan to grow in your faith and have a stronger faith, I do believe you need or tools and resources. You can be a Christian through your baptism, which is fine and just leave it like that, maybe go to church every once in a while, like on Easter and Christmas. You are still going to be a child of God. But if you are wondering why you feel less confidence, less secure, less faith… well you need more resources to help your faith grow and be stronger.
Some of the tools you need to strengthen or grow your faith are prayer, bible study, church, and fellowship. Each one of these “tools” have a certain purpose towards faith strengthening. And you need each one of these tools to enhance your faith, build your confidence, and live a better life.
Ask yourself these questions. How often do you go to church? How often do you read the Bible? How often do you really pray (like as in close your eyes, cuff your hands, sit or kneel, and talk to God)? When you pray what do you talk about? How often do you go to fellowship and church events? Are you satisfied with the answers to these above questions or do you feel embarrassed? At the end of these questions do you feel confident or less confident?
The crazy part is that we can all do more. It’s true. None of us have the perfect answer to the questions above. And even if you answer all those questions confidently and feel good, it does not mean that everything in your life is going to be always great. But it is possible to think that if we focus on doing these questions above more, we may a better self-esteem, a better confidence when we hit those “not-so-great days.”
Sometimes in life, more is better, especially when it comes to bass fishing and Christian faith.
Pray Without Ceasing
I always enjoyed when Eunkyung leaves to take her exams for her school, she always tells me to pray for her. And I always do. I pray for her during the time she takes her exam, and I pray after she is done in hopes that she did her best.
I do believe in the power of prayer, but the prayer is not necessarily a means to meet our desires. Prayer is about preparations for the unknown. It is about asking God to provide the strength to overcome any situation that we may face.
In the Bible, two aspects about prayer come to my mind. It is in Ephesians, when the writer says, “this is why I kneel in prayer.” And also in 1 Thessalonians, where Paul says to “pray without ceasing.” When I think about prayer, I think about those two aspects of prayer.
Kneeling is about our submission to God. We let go of our ego, our wants, our self, and recognize that God is far more beyond than we can ever imagine. But the question is how often do we kneel in prayer? Well, if you come from a Catholic or Orthodox Christian faith than this may be more practiced. But for me, coming from a Protestant background, I can sadly count the number of times I have knelt in prayer on both of my hands. I must say, that’s not very much! But does that mean that I have to physically kneel every time I pray? Well, the Protestant in me, is saying, “no.” Only because I must always remember when I pray, I must let go of my ego before entering the communication with God. I must remember that I am the created, and He is the creator. I must repeat myself, the “memento mori,” that is “remember you are mortal.” Come to God not with my expectations but come before God empty; so that God can fill me up with strength and hope for the task at hand.
Prayer is about submission, so maybe it doesn’t hurt every once in a while, to kneel to remind yourself that you are not in control, it is God who is in control. Kneeling before God is our recognition of frailty and that we come to God in need of God’s love, God’s forgiveness, and God’s embrace.
“Pray without ceasing” is what Paul calls us to do. But how do we do this when our life is so complex and that our time always seems to be limited? It always feels as if we just do not have time for anything, even prayer. But prayer is not just about our quiet time, or our kneeling before God, it is about our life and how we live it. Make your life a prayer. Maybe like what Bon Jovi says, “
Woooaahh, we’re halfway there!
Woah-Oh! Living on a prayer!
Take my hand, we’ll make it I swear!
Woah-Oh! Living on a prayer!
Live your life on a prayer. That is a life that is filled with hope, love, compassion, and grace. Never think that prayer is about asking for your desires but remember that prayer is about asking for strength to endure and persevere in every circumstance. It is about devotion to God, submission to God, and remembering that life will always have its ups and downs. Live your life in ceaseless prayer. That is life can be a rollercoaster, filled with fear, joy, exhilaration, and exhaustion, but through that ride, find fulfillment, hope, and freedom. Pray that God continues to encourage us to be a people of hope and compassion. And that through hope and compassion we can find meaning and understanding in every curveball life throws at us.
It's a Whole New World
The day has come! Ben is potty training! For about 1 year the kid has been so resistant to even try, but about 5 days ago, after refusing to go potty for about 5 hours, Eunkyung just grabbed him, held him down on his potty, and he went to the bathroom. Ben saw what he did and smiled!
So far in the past 5 days he has had only 2 accidents, and no accidents while sleeping! It’s crazy how darn fast this kid can pick up the trend. However, the only issue we are having, which is not really an issue, is that Ben after he goes to the potty will ask for the diaper right after. I usually have to tell him that he doesn’t need it anymore and then looks sad, which is kinda cute!
He is just so attached to his diaper. I guess from the day he was born all he knew was being in a diaper. Its funny, cute, and weird to think that Ben’s diaper is like his comfort blanket. Also that Ben would only prefer and wear the Sam’s Club brand diaper. He will not or shall I say, would not ever wear any other brand.
But now, Ben is moving into a different era in his life. No more diaper, which means his one piece of his comfort will be going away forever. He must go through a big change of belief, trust, and faith. That is part of growing up. We should be making changes in our life. Sometimes life in general forces change, but, we, ourselves, must be willing to make changes in our own life in order to meet certain challenges or just meet that desire to make change.
Sometimes we have to realize that the thing that may have given us comfort and stability will not give us the same feeling as it did before. So instead of trying to hold on to “what was,” why not gravitating to “what will be.”
That is the fun part of life; challenges. Sometimes we just need a bit of frustration in order to find true joy, that is when we accomplish what was giving us frustration! For Ben, he faces the challenge of a life and world without a diaper. But each day, each circumstance, each scenario will provide a new opportunity for him to face stress and have faith in a new system that has replaced the diaper system. Each day he will find victory or embarrassment, but that is all ok, because he is moving in a direction of a new state of mind, understanding of faith, and eventually a fresh world.
Living is about growth and becoming. Never think that everything will always stay stable or “the same.” The only thing stable in our life is God. And that God is all about living and having each one His children grow in the midst of challenges. It is God who tells us to explore, challenge, change, while standing next to us saying, “I will always be your foundation.” It’s ultimately putting our faith in God. Because as we change, the world changes, we realize that if we put our comfort and trust on “things” in this world, whether it is political systems, justice systems, people, objects, money, wall street, education, welfare, or healthcare, those are all the things that are suspect to change. When all those things change, we can feel certain kind of stress. But it is always God telling us to never put your faith on things that can and will change. Put faith on God who does not change. At the same time the changes that happen on the “things” in our world should never gives us worry or stress, because if we already had our faith on God, the “things” in the world really doesn’t matter. Easier said than done right? As a matter of fact maybe it is God causing those changes in our world in order for us to grow and thrive! Maybe it is God giving us the opportunity to be more than we originally realized, to accomplish a task that we first felt is impossible, and ultimately God giving us these occasions for a higher atmosphere of joy to experience.
You can’t always be in a diaper for the rest of your life. As stressful as it is to force yourself to face challenges, I know that w new feeling of immense joy will be felt once to find victory over such challenges. It’s not a feeling of “patting yourself on the back,” but more about feeling freedom. Finding a new source of power and strength. It is building a confidence of faith in overcoming all challenges.
Land of the Free
Did anyone shoot off fireworks for Independence Day? I didn’t have to because all my neighbors shot them off for us! Always cool to see fireworks and the beauty they display. However, if you saw my backyard and driveway the day after Independence Day, you would think we had an arsenal of fireworks.
Apparently all those fireworks and rockets decided to drop in our yard, roof, and car. I never thought about the fact that fireworks can cause a ton of trash! It blew my mind (pun) the leftover of trash fireworks cause. And also it makes it impossible for people shooting the fireworks to clean up after it. How are they going to know where the pieces of plastic will fall? Apparently, some of the fireworks exploded on the house as well. You can see the scorch marks on our house and my neighbors house. However, no damage was done, but a couple of scuff marks on the car and house. But no fires, just a lot of clean up. God has surely blessed us in allowing us to pick of firework leftovers!
But, Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays. I just love the atmosphere that surrounds it. I feel like there is a lot of positivity in the air, and the fireworks are this symbol of celebration! So, I never mind picking up the trash from fireworks. It’s like I like eating an apple, eventually that apple will be a core that you can’t eat and you just throw it away. I have no idea if that makes any sense!
I am still riding the positive energy that Independence Day gives off! It always makes me proud of not just my citizenship, but my heritage. I didn’t grow up as a typical American (if there is such a thing!). I grew up eating kimchi, rice, Korean marinated pork and beef, mandoo (dumplings), nengmyun (cold noodles), kongnamul (bean sprouts), and cham-gi-reum (sesame oil) was the staple. My school lunch came in containers when my other friends lunch came in ziplock bags.
Whenever I think of Independence Day, on the 4th of July, I remember my upbringing, heritage, struggles, and survival. I am honored to be living in this great country and I am honored that I can live my life that I choose any way I want to. What is great about being an American is that we are all different. Everyone of us grew up differently. Each one of us has a certain family go to dish, has a different bedtime, grew up with certain family traditions. Just because we are all different, doesn’t mean we can’t find friendship with each other.
Life would be pretty dang boring if all of us are the same. We are diverse because God made us all very unique! The United States of America is a melting pot of culture, heritage, accents, language, and ethnicities. We can all trace our family background somewhere other than the United States. But isn’t it amazing that God has brought us all here in this Land of the Free?
We are here together in one nation. We have our differences and that should be embraced. Instead of trying to divide ourselves, and allowing media to tell us that we should all think the same or that if you think differently you are wrong, let us embrace our diversity. Embrace it, not arrogantly show it off, but just humbly live your life with serenity. Never think your difference is a hinderance with other people around you. Live your life, live you life well, others will see how amazing you are. Live you life and never let anyone tell you that you can’t live it.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Independence Day. God bless you all and God bless the United States of America!
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).