Podcast #122- Turning A Problem Into An Upgrade (5:20)

Whether it’s a hotel room or a plane seat, I love getting upgrades. Wouldn’t it be great if life is full of upgrades? Here is my recent “upgrade” story.

Ever since the pandemic, I often hear about shortages of many things.  I’m glad that I haven’t ran out of toilet paper.  I’ve always been able to find exactly what we needed when we needed it. However, recently, I did run into my own “empty shelf” experience. 

One weekend, I needed to get a health supplement for my husband. It’s a natural remedy that works really well for his  medical condition. I used to get them from my local grocery store. But when I got there, what I saw was the dreaded empty shelf.  In fact, it’s not just an inventory issue.  It looked like the store simply stopped carrying it.  It was really frustrating because I had a hard time finding it before.  And now, it seems like the only store that was carrying it is not an option anymore. And I have to start the search all over again. 

And of course my first reaction was panic. It was Sunday morning and we really needed it.  And when my only option didn’t pan out, I felt frustrated.  When I run into an problem, I often feel panic and my mind just blanks out.  Frustration and panic aren’t very helpful emotions.  They make me feel like I want to curl up into a ball and just hide in a corner… which doesn’t help at all to solve the problem. 

Thankfully, I know my own tendencies well. I took a deep breath, and waited for all these feelings to pass.  Deep down, I knew God has a solution.  Even though I felt overwhelmed emotionally, they are just temporary.   And when I calmed down, God reminded me that we actually had another store really close by that offered more organic products.  Sure enough, a quick search confirmed it.  When I got to that store, there wasn’t just one item like my old store had. There was a whole isle full of organic supplements.  And many of these were even on sale!  I never have to worry about finding these again!  

Suddenly, I understood what this lesson was all about. I don’t know why, but when I run into problems, instead of asking for help, I tend to feel like I have to solve it all on my own.  And for a while now, God’s been reminding me to learn to ask Him for help.   But I’ve been hesitant because I don’t like to change the way I do things.  So I’ve been resisting him.  I know, right?  Why do we resist the goodness of God?  Well, change is inevitable in life.  And God’s solution often is so much better and easier than I could ever dream of. When I run into problems, He really is always my best bet. 

Walking with God isn’t just about changing the way I do things.  It’s often about changing the way I think about things. Over and over again, God reminds me that He is ready and willing to help me through any challenge.  If only I would invite Him into my situation, He is happy to work with me to resolve any problem I have.  And this “empty shelf” situation was yet another learning opportunity for me.  As soon as I asked God to show me what He has planned, I found an even better option.  God has upgraded my supplier situation.   And at the same time, He also upgraded my experience of Him as my provider. 

When we run into an obstacle, because of our own perception, we often only see the problem itself.  I’m starting to realize that what first looks like a “problem” often ends up being God’s way of showing me a different and better solution. The key is if I’m willing put aside my initial frustrations and my own perceptions and simply ask Him to show me what He sees instead. 

So what obstacles have you run into lately?  Maybe God also has a better solution waiting for you.  Let’s invite Him into your situation and see what upgrades He has in mind for you. 

Processing Through Anger

This is a hard topic to write about because no one likes to face or think about our own anger or negativity.  I grew up around family members who had a tendency to have angry outbursts. Part of me still feels very traumatized by these episodes. Never did I think that I could also lose control like them. I understand that feeling angry itself is not a sin. Even Jesus was angry on many occasions. However, I am still responsible for my actions and words when I’m angry.  A while back, there were a few occasions where I lost control in anger and said some hurtful things to loved ones. Someone finally confronted me about my unacceptable behavior. It was then I had to acknowledge to myself about the deep frustrations I’ve been experiencing.

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Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

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A Path To Peace

I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned on managing anxiety. In the process, it became clear how deeply personal my journey has been. I wish there’s an “easy button” to banish anxiety for good, but that’s just not the case. However, changing my mindset and learning life skills in the right areas have helped me cope with stress much better. I know everyone has their unique set of challenges. All I can do is share my experiences in hope that it may be encouraging and helpful to those who may have similar struggles like me. Here, I will give a quick overview, highlighting the key elements that made major differences in my life. Eventually, I hope to discuss and explain these areas in more detail.

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Thoughts about 2017

The clock just struck midnight, and it is now officially the last day of 2017.  In the past, I took the last days of the year to meditate and think about the future directions.  This year, however, I’m doing something different.  I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned and how I’ve changed in the last twelve months.

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The Changing of Seasons

Last week was the fall equinox, which marked the beginning of the fall season. The afternoon sun already started to take on an orange glow. I lived in the Pacific Northwest for a few years, and the seasonal changes there are especially prominent. As soon as October hits, all of the leaves turned into shades of red and started to fall.  There and then I understood why the fall season was aptly named “fall.” The aroma of apple cider and cinnamon filled the air. Pumpkins appeared on every porch. I loved how the seasons were so clearly defined. It gave me a clear message that summer was over. It’s time to enjoy the apple harvest and get ready for winter.

Similarly, we also have seasons in our spiritual lives. There are “spring” seasons where new relationships and opportunities blossom.  There are “winter” seasons where all outward growths seem to stop. However, even though we are very familiar with seasonal changes in the natural, most of us are not aware of how to adapt to the seasonal changes in the spiritual.

Leaves.Victor.Hanacek

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A Guilt-Free Resolution

We always make new year’s resolutions in January… and about a few weeks into the year, that resolution resolve quickly turns into resolution guilt. Do I hear an amen out there? Unfortunately, I know that cycle only too well.  What if this year, we make new resolutions to not live in guilt nor be motivated by guilt anymore?  What if we decided to live guilt-free lifestyles? Continue reading

Moving Break

Back in January, I asked God what He had in store for me this year. And the theme He showed me was “Upgrade.” Sure enough, the last 8 months have been full of changes that turned out to be upgrades. Continue reading

Season of Change

The end of the year is a great time to reflect – especially the day after Christmas. After giving away all the gifts and catching up with friends and family, I feel like I’ve finished “the mission”, and can finally shift my gears down.  There were so many changes for us this year – both in our personal lives and in the society around us. Reflecting on some of these changes made me feel uncertain about how to move forward into the new year.
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