He knows your load.

For most Christians in US,  there is a book called ”
Bible”. Maybe you used to own it. Or you have seen one of them laying somewhere in your living room. There are numerous times that you tended to open it and find the place where you left. But there has always been a voice saying in your head, “why bother?! What’s the point of reading one like you really mean it!?” Today, I would like to encourage you to pick up where you left. Because He knows your load.

Lately, with a lot of school and family issues, from time to time, I just didn’t have the energy to get up and walk around the house with confidence any longer. I stopped planning my future and thinking about the next step. I thought I was coming to the end of my rope. I am sure you have been there and know exactly what I am going through right now. The phrase “my plate is really full at this time.” Well, in my current condition, I would say, ” my plate is overflowing.” In the middle of the night, as a normal person, I would get up and go to the bathroom. Come back and hit the hay again. Lately, once I get up in the middle of the night, it is truly hard for me to go back again. I tried many times. I know that I know that I know, things are not going away. I have to deal with them one way or another.

Just this morning, I began to have devotions. As soon as I opened up the Bible and found the right scripture. My tears ran down my cheek and I couldn’t help reading what I was seeing at that moment. If you have the Bible next to you, I invite you to open the Book of 1 Peter, chapter 5 :5 ~9. If you can read it twice before continuing reading my story, that would be great!

I am sure you are done now. So, as I mentioned, as soon as I started to read the words. I felt like a child who never opened the Bible before. It was like a person who never trusted Him before. I thought the warmth and passion immediately got fired up. I was weeping as I went along the scripture. Finally, I realize that He knows my load. the Lord really knows what we are going through. I am positive that you encountered the moments that you didn’t know where was the way out. You fought so hard and you were hurt by all the cuts and bruises. You didn’t know you could make it at the end. Later on, somehow, someway, you made it. You wonder how that happened within 24 hour. Let me tell you. That’s the supreme power of Him. He is the reason why we had to go through. Because the deeper we get into the water, the more trust we are able to find in Him. \

Life is a piece of sh*t sometimes and you know. It does not matter who you are and where you are at right now. You have thousands of stories to tell to others how you become a hero in the past. That’s not who you were. You God didn’t see you as the victim. He wanted you to be a champion of beating obstacles.  You have heard of the story of Job in the Bible a lot of times. He was the guy who had possible all the reasons to curse God and took revenge on Him. However, Job was a man of faith. He didn’t get sour or bitter. He got better, owing to his faithfulness and loyalty. That’s why God knows we can’t take more than we ought to handle. Friends, I want you to go back to the peace where you had before. When you are carrying the world on your shoulder, you need to know He is looking at you with the smile. He is not mocking at you. Nor He is celebrating, because of your affliction. The Lord is always by your side. He created you in His image.

My father used to tell me I was a strong man while I was little. He wanted me to know he loved me and had great faith in me. That’s exactly how our Heavenly Father sees us. He wants to be there when we are bullied by the unjust. He is willing to take up on us when we are suffering. He knows what we can and what we can’t. These are not just words. These are the truths we ought to know from the reading.

Some of us are big shopper, especially when the holiday season comes. When you buy the stuff, there is always some tag says “made in China. Made in Mexico. or Made in Indian. ” Today, I am here to tell you that you have birthmark on your neck, it says” made by the Almighty God.” No matter where you go, you always have the tag with you. It is the label which your heavenly Father inked on you. No one can wash it away and no one dares to do so.

So, if you have time today, not a whole chunk of time. Just a few minutes here and there. Find the place to read 1Peter 5:5~9. And don’t forget to check your birthmark. It is there since you were born.

He-made-His-best( Special thanks to “becomingbeautiful.org)

Take A Step Back

” Can we get it done all in once?!”  ” Why do we keep on going back and forth? Let’s get it done and get it over !” Maybe those phrases sound familiar to you. Or probably you have been saying those stuff when you are being frustrated.  These are the moments that we don’t want the time to slow down. We would love to get it done once for all, never think about it any longer! If that’s you, please don’t rush to the end of the story. I would love to share with you some of my thoughts on ” how to sit down and enjoy the journey.”

Have you ever baked a cake or cookies before? You are full of joy and excitement. You make sure you have all the ingredients, the right size of bowl to contain all the materials. Once you toss them in one  after another, you throw the pan into the baking oven. What’s the next step for you? You have to wait. We have to allow the time and oven to bake the cookies after all your work. Because there is nothing you can do and there is indeed nothing you can do. That’s where I learned the principle of “enjoying the journey in the midst of ups and downs.” Similar to the anticipation that we have for making the cookies, we ought to remind ourselves that life is full of surprises and we don’t know what’s going to happen the next minute, the next hour, even the next day. After studying in Graduate school for a while, I gradually understand the principle of  taking a deep breath and keep rolling one step at a time.

Once in a while, we know we might be running out of time. We know we are jammed between here and there. The clock is ticking . We need to be mindful of “to-do list”. However, when all the things are taken care of, we never stop for one minute to enjoy the process. People used to use the cliché to tell me ” life is a journey, not a destination.” But how many of us have the time to TRULY enjoy the journey? We don’t have the time. Or to be precise, we never allow ourselves to have time to “smell the flowers, listen to the bird-chirping.” I remember people used to sit on their Sun porch to enjoy the beauty. Today, that’s considered ” a waste of time.” People would give you the strange look if you pitch the ideas to them.

Friends, today, I would like to motivate you to take one step back. Learn to enjoy what we have in life bit by bit. We rush from spot A to spot B. When we are at Spot B, we tend to think about post C,D.E, etc. Have you ever asked yourself  the question, “when is going to be the end of this?” If we don’t enjoy life right now, when will we be? I know I met people at various locations. The older they get, the more life-lessons they would love to share with you. Among majority of the advice they share with you, one thing always stands out is to “spend more time alone and get ready to live the life!” That means it is okay for us to push the tasks on hold for a day. It is totally acceptable to move the business trip three days later. Even no one will be mad at you if you decide to spend more time with the kids and family members on a Sunday afternoon.

Just this morning, it was my first time to see the snow in Virginia Beach. I knew there were 1000 things I needed to get done today. I had to be somewhere later on. You know what? I decided to shut down my laptop for a while. Instead, I went outside to take some pictures of the beautiful snow. I need to take one step back and enjoy the journey.

Snow Day in Virginia Beach

I am here to encourage you the same. Remember: business can wait, because you will have more ideas later on. Phone calls can wait, because you call them on the way to places all the time. Meetings and tasks can wait, because they won’t happen until you there are. People, won’t be there all the time. We were born, we age, and we are gone. Treasure the ones around you. When they see you smiling and looking straight in their eyes, without words, both of you know ” Love” is greater and wider.

Now, take a deep breath and sit down!

Snow is beautiful here

 

You are so close.

Have you ever been into the situation where you reach your limit while you still need to do more? Or let me ask you this way. Have you ever been encountered into the place where you didn’t think you could make it, but you did it at the end? Yes! I know your answer will be Yes! That’s what I am going to talk about today. It is called ” You are so close to it!”

I woke up this morning and did Insanity as usual. Before putting on the shoes, I was mentally preparing myself for this work-out. It was going to be a killer and I knew I might have problems. Half way through the work-out. I was about to give up. Bu running out of breath, I knew I could “die” on this one. As the volume  of Shaun T’s yelling got louder and louder, I got back up and continued to push myself to make it. There were a lot of negative thoughts running around in my mind, telling to me quit, to stop, to give up. I already reached my limits!” One hour later, I was finished. I was panting and trying to catch my breath. You know what? I felt great. One thing I didn’t realize is I had more power and energy than I thought. The 64 pushes didn’t kill me. Instead, the push-ups made me taller and stronger.

This is only one of the moments where I thought I was done. But I didn’t allow the negative voices to steal my joy and persistence. Friends, whenever we set a goal and plan to work towards the accomplishment, we know the beginning part was hard. Deep down in us, we have the clear understanding we will some “giants” along the way. It was not easy to make it to the end by one step. However, we give up on things easily. We give in without even thinking twice. We never know we are so close to the victory. If we had hung on to it little longer, we would have tasted the victory. Too often, we tend to shrink back when we face obstacles. As life is getting more and more comfortable, we tend to think “trying harder” is unnecessary. Have you ever paused for a moment to think about the big picture? We are not far from the destination. We made 97% of the efforts. 3% more we will be free. However, we give up and didn’t want to go back any longer.

We have to know success does not come easily. The more challenges we face, we better we grow. I like what Joel Osteen often says in his sermon, ” The devil never fight with you, because where you are. The devil always fights with you. Because he knows where you are going.” Come to think of it, when we give up, we are giving the power away to the devils. They can’t wait to see us being sad and gloomy. The devil got what they wanted from us. So, I am here to encourage you today to know you are so close to your success. Don’t lose your power and will, just because it is getting too hard. Think about the moments I was about to give up for Insanity. I would never grow much bigger and stronger, if I had not stuck to the goal.

In the end, I would like to share with you one of my favorite stories. When I mentioned the name ” Diana Nyad” three years ago,  no one probably know who she was. People thought the person might be just one of the lonely creature on earth. Today, Nyad is a famous person. Because at the age of 60, she broke the record by swimming across between Cuba and Florida. She never thought she could make it to the end. In this talk, I am sure you will be inspired by her story.  There was moment where she couldn’t breathe while the mask was on. There was numerous times that people thought she was gonna quit any minutes. No, Diana didn’t. She knew she was so close to the victory and she was about to embrace something she never thought about.

Friends, when you are about to give up next time, please think twice before throwing the towel, because you are so close to your own “celebration!” You are so close.

Serve or To be served?

Today is a special day for all of us. It is the day to commemorate one of the greatest heroes in our nation – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I am sure everyone who witnessed the history during the periods have more and more respect for what King did for our nation. Personally, what I learned from Dr. King is the attitude of the servanthood. Too make long story short, Dr. King used his life and stories to demonstrate we ought to maintain the attitude of being a good servant of others. It is easier to think” what shall I get? Why should I bother to make the efforts to help others? ” However, Dr. King once said, ” you don’t need college degree to serve others. You don’t need to know Aristotle or Greek Philosophy to serve others. All you need is the heart.” Today, I strongly encourage everyone to serve one another with the attitude of love and compassion.  We all have various of needs, we all know life is not fair to all of us. Come to think of it, when we are in trouble, there are people who are willing to give us a hand. There are people who are joyous that we are taken care of by their efforts. Why can’t we be the people who make the differences in the life of others?

Last December, I went on a class trip with my classmates and professors to Washington D.C. At the end of the trip, I had the honor to visit the Dr. King Memorial site. That has been one of the many places that I wanted to see since I move to US.  When I stood in front of the statue, I felt different. Deep down in me, there was a small voice talking to me, ” Mengfei. What you are seeing right now is not an accident. You should examine your hearts to follow the trail.” I know that was the Lord who was talking to me. I know He was trying to tell me to increase the volume of helping others.

I have to admit that I might be one of the person who might think about my own needs from time to time. Once in a while, people might need me to give a hand, I agreed but didn’t have the zeal to take the actions. I am being grateful that the Lord is still working in me. He is doing the best to change me, mold me, sharpen me into the better person. In the Bible, Paul talks about the principle of reaping  and sowing. It is the lesson which we are familiar that we harvest exactly what we planted at the beginning.

So, on this day, I strongly encourage everyone to be more “sow-oriented” than “need-oriented.” Let’s do what Dr. King said, to have the passion for serving others. The Lord is watching us and He knows whenever we help others. Stop thinking about “me”. Let’s think about “we”. Dr. King memorial.

Words from the wise

Love is a language

Maybe  you have heard of the saying, “love makes the world go around.” It is one of the key principles that people keep on telling each other whenever there is struggle and strife within the families or other settings. Despite of the lessons that we learn from life, love is easy to talk about. However, it is rather challenging to put action behind the words.

Right after church today, I met one of my friends at the church. We have not seen each other for a while. So, at the beginning, I was planning to have a brief conversation about updates. However, we ended up having lunch with each other and talked about the most interesting word ” love.” His name is Mark. Mark shared with me about the recent relationship he had. Although it happened two years ago, as he was telling me about his story, his eyes got watery. I could tell that the relationship really hurt him one way or another. Indeed, he could no longer held it and started to let the tear running around his eyes. To make long story short, Mark was dating a girl from another country two years ago. They met each other at random occasion. Mark fell head over heals for her and the “honeymoon” moment lasted a while began  the problems started to show up. During the relationships, Mark kept on being questions and having doubt in his mind. ” There must be something wrong with me or her. Something bothers me. ” Mark shared his anxiety and concerns with the  girl and she seemed not to understand what the issue was about.

“Mark, let’s stop you right there!” After listening to him for a while, I started to see what the real issue is. The real killer behind the problem is” the language of love is not being interpreted well.” As the communication major, over the years, I have been reading books and encountering numerous occasions about the similar situations. Some of my friends married to other nationalities and didn’t work out as they expected. The marriage went decayed after many times counseling. Finally, it dawned on me that the problems lie within the communications between the partners. Let’s take Mark for example. Whenever he had any questions and doubts about the relationships, he normally shared with his former girlfriend. He was expecting someone to listen to him. However, instead of understanding what Mark was trying to convey, the girl started to form her own understanding in her mind. In other words,  she was interpreting  what Mark was trying to say in “her own way.” That’s why Mark’s girlfriend started to freak out and had a fight with him. On one hand, Mark thought to himself ” what did I say? All I was trying to say is I care about this relationship and I don’t want to end up soon. ” In the girl’s mind, she thought, ” we just started to date for two weeks and now you are dumping me!” You see, that’s why when people are talking, the meaning can be lost in the translation.

Nelson Mandela once said “if you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to a man in his language, that goes to his heart.” It is the same principle to our love relationship. As we all know,  communication in a relationship is rather crucial. However, how we talk defines the quality of the message that we want to send out. The key is to make sure the receiver of the message have full grasp of the message. That’s why it is very useful way to ask the respondent to repeat the message by asking ” what did I just say?” Through this way,  the core of the message can be confirm one way or another. Back to Mark’s story, he thought the girlfriend fully understood what he was trying to say, However, in reality, the girl understood the messages from Mark from the opposite direction. There was mutual ground between those two people.  It is for this reason we ought to communicate more and reaffirm that our messages are clearly sent and understood.

Second, besides understanding the messages translation, another key elements is the power of listening. From the communication perspective to show the example. Have you ever been into the situation where you turn on the TV at your house before doing the cleaning? Even though the cleaning is more important, the TV is running. We don’t pay attention to the content on the TV. We just walk by and know “the noise” is from the TV. That’s the exactly what happen when we stop pay attention to other people’s talking. We we communicate with other people. What are we paying attention to? The cell phone? The text? Or the book we  are reading? When was the last time you looked at people in their eyes while they were talking to us? Between friends, couples, we tend to listen to the content of the messages selectively. We tend to choose to pick up the messages based on our attention distribution. In other words, if we are not listening to the messages, we just simply do “heard it!”

Over the years, I have been reading and researching, observing on the key point of effective communication methods. When I came across many references and observations, I find out that “listening” is so important to this part. Are we listening to the messages or we just heard it? There is a huge difference between listening and hearing.

Go back to Mark’s example, he also told me that his former girlfriend seemed to be distracted by something whenever he was trying to communicate with her. Whenever there was a argument, most of the time, the girl just walked out the door and didn’t want to hear a thing from him. He thought he explained precisely and explicitly, however, the girl didn’t understand a thing Mark said. Because she was busy “on her mind.”

Maybe I am not an expert on relationship. I might not understand what each individual is going through with their own marriages or relationship, however, love is a universal language. There are many ways to interpret what we say and how we say to others. The same thing I told Mark today at lunch. Relationship is complicated and we are longing to be in a relationship with one another. That’s part of who we are.  In order to make it work, we have to know whether we successfully understand the message  first. Then, we ought to examine that our listening brings the meaning of the messages to the fullness.

Never Lose Zeal

Just two days ago, while I was studying in my room. One of my friends dropped by. After a a few minutes talk, he began to share with me his life-changing story. He mentioned to me about numerous adventures and trips we went on over the breaks.  Out of curiosity, I asked him ” are you happy about your life? I bet you are” After a long pause. He told me that he was planning to leave his wife and start a new life again. I was very shocked by what I heard and started to question him and dig deeper with the story.

As it turned out, my friend was very honest.  The only answer he gave it to me was ” I couldn’t find passion anymore. Our marriage is mundane and we do the same thing over and over again on the daily basis.”  Without even knowing how to explain to him, I have to admit that he is not the only person who suffers the same issue. Life is getting too comfortable and we begin to think ” everything is great and there is no point any longer.” Unfortunately, this is what we tend to think after a while. We know those thoughts will come sometimes in life, however, we never have any anticipation when the thoughts are here.

I am here to tell you a key principle behind this issue.  The answer is we allow ourselves to lose passion and fall into the “boring cycle.” Come to think of it, we go to church to have people praying for us. We attend the Bible study to have the friends caring about us. We always need someone to be the “cane” for us. Have we ever thought about encouraging ourselves when we are emotionally down? Why do we always need someone to comfort us when we are capable to do it on our own? Friends, you and I have the full capability to motivate ourselves when we face obstacles. Just because life is comfortable, that does not give us the reason to lose sight of the righteousness.  When we tell  others about how life is sweet and life is precious, we never know we can say the same thing to ourselves.

When we wake up in the morning, we ought to know that this day is a gift for us. There is no one can take our joy and energy away from us. It is us who can make the decision whether we push through the hardships or give up on the half way. I believe you can do the former one.  Famous US pastor Joel Osteen once said, ” We all have the power to make the choice between persistence and giving up. The person who persist to the end will smile bigger. ” Let’s all smile bigger and better!