Who are you to think you’re such an expert?

I was reading one of my favorite blogs the other day, Ask a Manager. This is an excellent blog if you ever need job advice, it basically has EVERYTHING covered. If you have never visited it, you really should. Even if you already have your dream job, there are tons of very useful career information on there. There’s also just a lot of good stories as well.

A recent post jumped out at me because it answered one of the things I worry most about and showed me that I wasn’t alone in thinking this. It was called “Impostor Syndrome: Do You Feel Like a Fraud?“. What is that you ask? A definition: “People who are, in fact, competent, feel as if they’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop, when someone realizes they are not up to this job/position/project and expose them as a fraud.”

I have felt this way my entire life. Every time I feel like I’m good at something, I seem to doubt myself. To this day, I still cannot believe I have two college degrees. How on earth did I graduate with a Master’s degree? It doesn’t matter that I remember slaving away in the library for two years doing tons of research so I could write very long papers. Nor does it matter that I know a good deal about archives and preservation from years of work and internships. Nope, all that matters is that someone will ask me a question about a part of history I am not familiar with and when I don’t know the answer, in their eyes I should not be what I claim to be.

It feels like you need to stop presenting yourself as an expert in something because clearly you aren’t as you don’t have all the answers. It’s ok for you to hang out in the background and pipe out every now and then as a fan but really if you’re advertising yourself as master in something, you have to know it all. Plus someone else is better than you anyways so why are you even bothering?

A lot of this is a confidence issue and how you view your self-worth, at least I know it is for me. Part of the advice is if you actually do know it but don’t feel confident, you need to learn to fake the confidence that you think you deserve and it will all be come real eventually. But that can be really hard for me sometimes. The worst actually is from other people who legit are actual experts (or even worse, FANS) and they get MAD when you’re getting the recognition and they didn’t.

The best advice is usually to just ignore all the other voices and just focus on what you’re doing. Liars will always be found out so you can’t get away with it forever. At the same time, if I feel like I actually know what I’m doing and I know that I actually worked hard to get it, then NO ONE should be able to take that away from me. You’re meant to be there, you earned it.


Stop being so scared and just do it!

I love trying new things. I’m all about getting out of my comfort zone and trying out stuff.

I just hate trying new things for the first time by myself.

I’m just going to state that people who are in relationships have it so much easier. If you can convince your partner to go along with you, the battle is already half over. Then you at least have one more level before you have to resort to friends and family. If you’re single and you can’t get any of your friends/family to go with you, you’re always going to be doing things on your own.

Case in point.

When I go back to my hometown for the holidays I’m looking forward to picking up some local beers that I won’t be able to get back in the DC area. I’m also looking forward to going to a local brewery so I can try out some of their beers plus it’ll be good to catch up a friend that I haven’t seen in a long time.

However I’m dreading the whole situation. Why? Because I’m worried about going by myself and not knowing what to do. I don’t like that feeling at all. We all know how much I love spoilers. And in scenarios like this, I want to know exactly what’s going to happen so I can avoid looking and feeling awkward as much as possible. Even just the thought of trying to figure out where to park and finding the right entrance is terrifying because I’m already admitting I don’t know what I’m doing and I have to do this alone.

See, I’ve worked in customer service. And I know from personal experience how much people hate n00bs who don’t know what they’re doing when everyone else seems to have their act together. People hate it when you’re standing in line and someone doesn’t know the correct way to order something and takes up too much time trying to figure it out. Patience is not a strong virtue among a lot of folks. I don’t like doing things new by myself because I’m afraid of acting like a fool in front of regulars. Sure there are some people who like helping newbies but there are also those who hate it when someone tries to enter what’s already been established.

I honestly can get a panic attack from worrying about this too much. I know that some of you could care less what other people think.

So I envision one of these three scenarios happening when I try to go visit the brewery:

  • Scenario A: I get to the place but because I’m panicking about just trying to figure out where to park, I end up turning around and going home. I mutter to myself, It’s just not worth it, and make the drive all the way for nothing.
  • Scenario B: I get to the place. It takes me a while to figure out parking but I do it. I get inside and I’m not sure what to do and everyone else seems to figure it out. I don’t recognize anyone there and I feel very uncomfortable but I still keep going. I keep looking at menu or whatever is handy that I can read and feel like this is the worst thing ever and how much I hate being a shy extrovert and wonder why on earth I ever thought this was going to be a good idea. I finally figure out how to order my flight of beers and drink alone and check everything into Untappd so that it looks like I’m just fiddling with my phone the entire time. I either don’t see my friend at all or they ignore me completely and I feel very foolish. I wait around after I’m done in hopes that maybe someone will talk to me but no one ends up doing so. Eventually I leave feeling relieved that the whole ordeal is over but glad that I made it and vow never to do something like that again.
  • Scenario C: Everything goes fine, I’m not awkward at all, I manage to find people to talk to, I’m witty and charming, end up having a good time and wonder why on earth I was worried so much about all this?

I have no idea what’s going to end up happening. It’s a game time decision.

A friend told me to just get rid of my training wheels (other people) and do things. We’ll see what happens.


I know I’m not a special snowflake….

I’ve been seeing the word “basic” used a lot lately to describe females and I didn’t know what it meant. Kids these day with their slang. To be honest, I’m still not 100% sure exactly what it is even after reading this Buzzfeed list but I have concluded that I am not one of these girls. People seem to be making fun of them but if that’s what you like, that’s what you like.

Ever since I was a little kid, I always wanted to fit in. I always felt like I stood out and not in a good way. I didn’t want to be called out for looking or acting different from everyone else. Most of this had to do with the fact that I was one of the very few Asian kids in my school. While I wasn’t ashamed of being Asian, I also wanted to blend in with everyone else. School is rough and kids will tease you for anything that makes you stand out. And believe me I got a lot of teasing.

Growing up, it was always a struggle to be my own person and fit in at the same time. Which is of course what (almost) everyone else is doing. Some just do it better than others. There are some people who have the gift and ability to do whatever they want to do and no one will question them or tease them. In fact, they become the trend setters and everyone wants to do what they do.

As I’ve become an adult, the struggle is still there though I’ve discovered lately that it’s perfectly fine not to be like everyone else. It’s good to stand out when everyone else around you appears to be the same. Sometimes though it can also feel like a bad thing because you feel like because you stand out, it makes others feel uncomfortable because they don’t like different.

Then I got through times in life where I’m living one of these situations:

  • There are some days when I feel like I’m the last one to realize something and I wonder what’s wrong with me that everyone else knew this before I did.
  • There are other days when I’m the first one to get to something and I wonder what’s wrong with me or it because t no one else has done this yet.

I can’t figure this out. I feel really weird about it. I’m pretty positive that other people experience it as well but they just don’t let on.

Here’s the thing. I know that I’m not so incredibly unique that only these things happen to me and no one else. I am NOT a special snowflake. I can’t possibly be the only person among all the billions of people who live on this planet plus all the billions of people who lived before me that go through these things. Maybe people don’t talk about it and just learned how to deal with it on their own.

It’s not that I need approval from others. It’s just I personally hate the feeling of not knowing how to handle a situation when everyone else around me either does or is pretending that they do. To quote Beth from Little Women: “But I don’t like being left behind.”

The crazy thing in all this is that I know however that I am not the same as everyone else and that’s a good thing too!

“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,  so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.” (Romans 12:4-6a)

Ultimately, I’m happy with the way I am and have become. I greatly enjoy my interests and my quirkiness and humor. I know that there are people who do appreciate it and others who don’t get me at all. That’s ok. Just like I’m not going to get along with everyone else, I don’t expect universal approval. I still want to fit in but I don’t want to be like everyone else.

Most of you have figured this out YEARS ago but as we all know I’m a late bloomer. Sometimes I just need to talk myself through these situations to figure it all out. That’s just something that’s uniquely part of being me. And I do like being me.


Keep My Heart Slow

Whenever messages at church lean towards marriage and family, while I still try to listen and get much out of it as I can, it still can feel slightly uncomfortable. All the teaching and advice is very helpful but if you’re not at that stage of life and you don’t know if you ever will be, it feels like it’s not going to help you. And it hurts when you feel like the church has forgotten about people who are NOT married or with children. Sometimes you make the choice to be single and sometimes you don’t want to be in that state but either way it can feel like you’re overlooked in favor of those who are in a coupled relationship.

On Sunday, I knew that the teaching was going to be on Colossians 3:18-21. I’ve heard messages on this passage several times and while I wasn’t apathetic to it, I just wasn’t super excited because I didn’t think it’d apply to me right now in life. And then my pastor said this in his prayer to open up the message: “There may be a number here who are single but this is still very much for them. There is much here for all of us no matter what state we are in life.”

Well then.

The passage from Colossians says this:

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

As my pastor explained, the world view of submission and spiritual authority is different from it actually means.

The definition he gave: “Submission is an inner quality of willing obedience that is a gift to the husband based on Christ’s example of willingly submitting to His Father that affirms the leadership of the husband within the limits of obedience to Christ.” But it does not mean that if he wants her to do something clearly wrong she has to do it.

The husband and wife are equal to one another as Christ is equal to his Father, but He still submits to the Father.

Spiritual leadership can be difficult because a lot of guys have no idea what that is or what they are supposed to do. “Spiritual leadership is servant leadership which is a husband’s gift to his wife based on Christ’s coming not to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.” He needs to submit to his wife meaning he will die for her and therefore she will submit to his spiritual leadership. A woman can have more Biblical knowledge than her husband but that doesn’t mean he should be intimidated. He just needs to see to it that her spiritual needs are being met and that the wife knows he is following the Lord and praying for her.

Couples shouldn’t use these verses as scriptural grenades at each other. The verses aren’t supposed to be used to attack each other, they are for  A man who has to tell his wife that she needs to submit to her probably isn’t leading very well and a woman who has to tell her husband to love her more may not be submitting very well. Any time you have to tell someone what else they are supposed to be doing probably means YOU’RE not doing what YOU are supposed to be doing.

“Show me a man who is willing to die for his wife and I’ll show you a woman who is willing to submit to her husband.”

The takeaway is to never ever lose hope. Your hope is not in your spouse. Your hope is in the Lord. “The gospel leads us to an ultimate hope in Jesus, not in a spouse or any other human relationship.”

This entire message was SUPER good. And I’m really glad to have heard it.

It can also be a hard message to hear. When you keep hearing how a man should want to die for his wife because he loves her just as Christ died for us, it can hurt to hear that when you’re single. I have to fight the voices of doubt that creep in telling me I’m not good enough and that no one wants to die for me. That even though I have a ton of friends who do care about me, in reality I should just prepare to die because they are going to take care of their spouses first over me. These are lies that can poison me if I spend too much time listening to them.

I’ve written before how I feel like I need to wait.

The song “I Will Wait” by Mumford and Sons has been rather significant for me over the year. There’s a line in there that’s been my prayer to God for the past few months:

Bow my head
Keep my heart slow

I’ve been asking God to help me with my heart. To keep it where He wants it now. I have the tendency to lose my heart very fast which then results in getting hurt more than I should have. I get excited about things very easily. If I’m interested in ANYTHING, I want to dive in headfirst and am very enthusiastic right from the get go. It’s not that I burn out easily, it’s just I invest more than I probably should. Which leads to a lot of heartbreak and pain a lot of the time.

So instead right now, I’m asking God to help me slow down. To focus my heart on where and what HE wants me to focus on and not necessarily on what I want. This doesn’t mean I’ve given up hope of ever finding someone (or someone finding me) and it doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be in a relationship or get married (again) but I’m not making it the most important thing in my life at the moment.

By keeping my heart slow, it means making wiser decisions. It means having clarity and discernment. It means spending less time worrying. It means letting go. It means really trusting on God. It means waiting. Every single thing God has told me over the past three years to do.

I still don’t know what God has planned in my life for me. All I know is that right now I know what I need to do.


Say something, I’m giving up on you

Something must be wrong with my phone.

I mean that must be the reason why I haven’t heard anything back.

It’s not showing me that I have any notifications.

I don’t see a text. Or a call. Or a email. Or a chat.

After all I do have Sprint. I mean sometimes their service can be unreliable.

Maybe my message didn’t go through. Or perhaps the return message didn’t go through.

So it must be the phone’s fault.

It can’t be because I’m being deliberately ignored. Right?

I could think of a bunch of excuses. To justify the reason.

People get busy. People forget to respond.

Maybe it’s the OTHER phone’s fault. Maybe it got stolen. Or broken.

Or maybe there was a kidnapping, illness, natural disaster, moved away.

Hoping that there wasn’t a death and no one contacted me about it.

Most likely though, it’s not intentional. Though it could very well be.

Maybe there just needs to be space. And time. And waiting. And being patient.

There’s always a reason. I just don’t know it yet.

The point is that despite all the things I just wrote, I’m not worrying about it.

The message on Sunday in church was yet ANOTHER one of those ones when I was NOT expecting it to be relevant to me and yet it was again. The speaker filling in talked about having a “black water” experience, and how hard helmet diving is a good illustration about facing a trial when you’re a Christian. Just like diving into places where everything is pitch black and you can’t see anything, going through trials makes you feel like you’re isolated, alone, and in the dark. You don’t know what’s going to happen and you get lost and scared. The only thing that you can rely on is having trust in someone who will tell and show you what you need to do. And then when it’s all done, you’ll come out of the pit, the hole, the darkness and you’ll look and be amazed at what you went through and still made it.

God is the only one that knows what exactly is happening and why it’s happening in this way. From past experiences, I know that I’ll be in the pit looking up and I have to trust that God will rescue me and bring me back up. And when I do come back up, everything seems so much better. And I also know I couldn’t have done it without my faith.

The waves of death swirled about me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.
“In my distress I called to the Lord;
I called out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came to his ears. (2 Samuel 22:5-7)

Basically, it’s going to be ok. It’s scary now not being able to see and not knowing what’s ahead. But because I know that I can trust in God, because I know that he’s not failed me in the past, it will be ok.

Maybe the phone will ring or a text will come. And maybe it won’t ever. It’ll still be ok.


Ask God a Question? You Get an Answer

It happened again.

Those times where I swear God decides that I’m being too dense and He chooses to speak directly at me through someone else so that I’ll actually listen to what He wants me to hear.

You may have noticed that I haven’t been really writing a lot of faith posts lately. Not because my faith has changed or gotten any less. It’s just I’ve been busy and focused on things. One of my major prayers got recently answered and while I’m very blessed and thankful, worries that had gone to the back burner are back in full force again.

It was one of those Sundays where I started off my drive to church being honest with God. I wasn’t angry at him this time. Just frustrated with things. And I told Him how it was making me feel. I know that some people don’t like complaining to God but I’m all for letting him know what’s going on my end.

This particular time I was frustrated with myself for worrying so much about the future. I’m a planner by nature. I like knowing how everything is going to be so that when it happens, there are no surprises that will cause me stress or worry. Ironically though because of this desire, I still get stressed out and get anxiety because I can’t make things go smoothly beforehand. I don’t like not knowing the future because I hate uncertainty yet worry about things makes it worse.

I told God about how I wish I could be someone who lives in the present and never seems to worry about anything. They have such a carefree anything goes attitude and just seem happy all the time. I feel like I could never be that kind of person however because I DO like planning ahead and the thought of never planning for anything is terrifying.

And then sometimes I feel like I live in the past. Not that I want to stay there but memories keep popping up and I want to get them out of my head and they just will not go away. I had been catching up with episodes of this season’s Doctor Who and there was a character who continually had memory wipes so that he could forget things. Even though I knew the consequences of not remembering things, I totally envied him because sometimes memories carry too much pain with them.

I walked into church feeling very meh that morning. I did pray that hopefully I would get something out of the sermon but I wasn’t feeling very into it. And then of course, it would be the Sunday that all the worship songs we sang seemed to jump out at me.

Focus my eyes
Away from myself
You become greater
I become less

Promise maker, promise keeper
You finish what You begin
Our provision through the desert
You see it through ‘til the end
You see it through ‘til the end
In the silence, in the waiting
Still we can know You are good
All Your plans are for Your glory
Yes, we can know You are good

When the songs finished and the guest pastor walked out, I was like oh, I’m not going to get anything out of today’s sermon. It’s not going to be anything I can relate to. This is ——“I am a planner. I am always thinking about the future. I am always thinking about what’s to come,” he said. I immediately shrunk down in my seat with my mouth slightly ajar.

Are you kidding me God? Seriously?

He then proceeded to talk about how we all tend to default to living in the past, present, and future. Some of us might focus on just one area, others will dabble.


All have good qualities: you learn from the past and don’t want to repeat mistakes, by staying in the present you become less anxious and don’t worry as much, planning for the future can be wise. However all have negative qualities as well: you become focused on reliving the glory days or staying focused on what’s hurt you before, you have to keep getting a kind of “high” every day to stay happy, and too much living in the future makes you not focus on what’s in front of you.

We’ll have arguments with God where we just ask him to show us that he’s there, to throw us a bone, give us a sign, just prove to us that he’s there and hasn’t abandoned us. (Have I been bugged????)

He instead then said that the best thing to focus on was being in the presence of God. That no matter what is going on in life, no matter how good or bad things will get and how much you may worry, it’s better to realize that God is always there.

In Your presence there is freedom
In Your presence there is hope
In Your presence there is healing
Love restores me, I am whole

No matter how far I run
You are with me
No matter how far I fall

Your love is everlasting
Your kindness never ends
God You never leave me
Your presence goes before us
Your glory has no end
God You never leave me

The focus of the message was on John 14:1-17 and while I won’t post all of it here, the passage basically explains how Jesus is telling the disciples that they need to just believe in him. They don’t need signs or other miracles (though he has already shown them these things). Just have faith.

Well. Geez. I don’t think it could have been any clearer that God was choosing to speak to me through this message. Yes, I know that it wasn’t made specifically JUST for me. Yes, I know that all this had been planned for at least several days beforehand. And yes it does seem like a big coincidence.

But I know it isn’t. I know that God didn’t create specifically this for me because there are many people who benefited from hearing something like that. But He knew I needed to hear it and He knew WHEN I needed to hear it. It’s just always is incredibly freaky when it happens mere minutes after you tell and ask Him those exactly questions and He answers it immediately. True, it doesn’t always happen. And sometimes you may NEVER get an answer. But those times when it does happen? Awesome.

Therefore all my worries about God not caring and turning a deaf ear to me? Yeah…He just pretty much pulled one on me. God: Infinity. Deborah: Zero.


The Power (and Danger) of Imagination

I don’t know about you but I have a really big imagination.

Ever since I was a little kid, I used my imagination to help me get through things in life. And yes sometimes I still do that to this day.

If I have to eat something that I absolutely hate but I HAVE to eat it, I just sometimes pretend that I’m on the Oregon Trail and this is part of my meager portions that I need to eat to survive.

While I’m running, when it gets really hard and I feel like I’m about to die, I pretend that I’m being chased by zombies and I just need to go a little further to make it to safety.

I read a lot of fiction and I watch a lot of movies. While I do read a good amount of non fiction, I prefer fiction because I enjoy seeing how others use their creativity.

Imagination does get me in trouble sometimes however. There’s the whole daydreaming when you’re not supposed to, like in class or in church during a sermon. Sometimes it’s hard to focus when the speaker just goes on and on about a boring subject and they refuse to attempt to make it interesting.

And then there are those times when I worry or have anxiety and I let my imagination run away with me. I will gather just the bare bones information of what I have and I will concoct a wild and crazy scenario that will probably be completely untrue. Sometimes I am right, sometimes I am wrong. Either way the thing is, I don’t know 100% what’s going on.

Sure, I can be realistic and prepare for something that could possibly happen. But if it’s something that I’m dwelling on without confirmation? It’s my imagination running away with me and THAT’S when imagination becomes a problem. Because that’s when the worry, fear, anxiety, and stress will all kick in just because I start to think something may be happening based off of assumptions and an overactive imagination. Though I will say, if you don’t respond to a reasonable amount of texts, voice mails, emails sent over a significant amount of time and no one has any idea if you’ve fallen off the face of the earth, I may start imagining that you’ve died in your house and we all just don’t know it yet.

It’s perfectly fine and healthy to have an active imagination. But you have to know when it’s real and when you’re running away with it. As long as you can tell the difference (and perhaps confine it to a certain room), you’ll be fine.


Having Faith In God vs Having Faith in the Results

This past Sunday, my pastor continued his series on Philippians. This week he only focused mainly on two verses:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

As you remember a couple of weeks ago, I have trouble when it comes to worrying. I do it a lot over certain areas in my life. However, in person I hide it pretty well. Even if you know me really well, I’m usually pretty good at keeping it from you unless you ask me. I can be a “ninja worrier”.

That being said this week’s message gave me A LOT of food for thought. Like pretty much a good deal amount of folks in the service, it seemed as if the message was specifically for me. Everyone worries to some degree about something. If you’re a parent, you’re going to worry. Our pastor mentioned that there was a man he met that said he never worried because he trusted God in everything. While I wish that I had faith that strong, I do wonder if he was a parent because I highly doubt that anyone can be a loving parent and not worry about their children.

The takeaway of the message for me was that we need to hope in the Lord and not in the results. Which is what I don’t do AT ALL. My focus tends to be on what the outcome is going to be. It’s hard to not hope for that. If you think something is going to happen, if you want it to happen, if your prayers have been centered around something trying to happen, then it’s no wonder why you focus on the results.

There’s a difference between concern and anxiety. Example: Say someone told you on Sunday they were going to get in touch with you to get together during the week. It’s now Thursday and you still haven’t heard from them. Concern: “I guess that person forgot. Maybe they got busy. I hope they’re ok. But since they said they would take the responsibility for contacting me, there’s nothing I can do about it.” Anxiety: “WHY AREN’T THEY CONTACTING ME????!! Did I do something wrong? What is wrong with me that I keep getting ignored? It’s my fault isn’t it? Or maybe they died? Should I do something about it??? WHY DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING TO ME????!!”

Yes I think you can see the difference. (And I don’t mean from the increase of punctuation)

I borrow from tomorrow’s worries a lot. I’m scared of what the future could possibly bring. Unfortunately it’s in my genetic makeup to worry and I have to fight it. I have to trust in the Lord. I don’t know why things happen or don’t happen but I have to trust that God has his hand in all this. And even though I may not understand right now and there’s a good chance that I may never understand until I get to heaven and ask God why (and believe me I’ll have a list of questions), I must have faith that God knows what is best for me.

It’s hard. Because I don’t know what’s going to happen. BUT I am going to keep having hope IN the LORD and not in the results. And keep praying that my desires will line up with the Lord’s and that he will take care of me and provide and protect. And even if what I fear the most does happen, that the Lord will be with me throughout it all.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:25-27)