[Personal] I Am So Stressed

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Ugh. This happens every year, and every year it’s the same: Tax Day.

I haven’t been able to post much or do too much else apart from run on semi-autopilot. I’ve been able to keep up with my health goals and have been updating my progress on this blog, but all the other posts I’ve wanted to do have just had to be put on the back burner because I am just so, so stressed.

I hate tax day so much. Due to my situation and being a British citizen, my taxes are slightly more complicated than the regular US taxpayer, and I am ashamed to admit I am a major procrastinator, so leaving it this late is also a major source of anxiety. But this post is not for me to whine, even though I want to. No, I have to remember and remind myself that God is in control. This post is to count my blessings, so here they are:

  1. I have an accountant and he is super helpful.
  2. I have Jacky this year – he has the best head on his shoulders, he is able to think logically and clearly. He does not fear these tax forms, he does not go cross-eyed from reading them, his brain does not fog up, his palms do not sweat and his heart rate remains steady when reviewing them, and he is able to help and advise me with them for my share too. He is able to hold me when I’m about to cry from stress and anxiety. He prays for and with me at all times. He is the best.
  3. I have Jesus. He is Lord of all; all things are in His hands. He has guided me and guarded me through all the years of my life, will He let go of me now? Is He not in control of tax forms too? Has He not answered all my prayers every year whenever I call upon Him about this issue? Finally — has He not already secured my salvation, my resting place in Heaven? I already know where I will end up. Why is my heart so weary and my mind so narrow when I can just think upon the eternity that is waiting for me with Him. In light of eternity, these things are nothing.

The thing is, I always get money back from tax returns and this year looks like it will be no different. It’s entirely in my mind… I don’t know why I fear them so much. I render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, I am typically good with my finances… so why is it that whenever I look upon these forms, I forget that I am His? Perhaps this illuminates a greater heart issue: that I am so good at relying on myself for everything else that I typically do not rely on God until things get hard.

I just finished reading Philippians yesterday, how timely a reminder it is:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

The Philippians and Paul were facing major persecution for Christ’s sake. Paul himself was even in prison at the time! What am I doing? Enjoying the comforts of my own home, gorging on food and drink that has made me fat… and so far removed from having the right mind of Christ that I am freaking out over some tax forms.

I will then finish with a prayer:

Lord, may You grant me the right perspective, that I may be — and remain — Kingdom minded, knowing that all these things will be added to me as long as I seek You and Your righteousness first. Indeed, having You alone is more than enough. May You be my first priority, first point of call, first in my heart. May You reign as rightful King of my heart. May it be so in Jesus’ name.

Sermon Reflections: The Person of Jesus Christ

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These are some immediate reflections as I listen (back) on sermons from CBCWLA, often resulting in brain hurting, always accompanied by caffeine. It’s a brain-dump and won’t necessarily be cohesive or coherent, most certainly won’t be exhaustive of all important parts, but will be personal to me. Here are the questions I’ll attempt to answer with each sermon I review:

  1. What sermon did I listen to today? Title/Link.
  2. Summarise the key points in 1-2 sentences.
  3. What did I learn this time that I didn’t catch/forgot about when I heard it the first time?
  4. How has it challenged my thinking?
  5. What practical applications can I take from it?

1. What sermon did I listen to? Title/Link.

The Person of Jesus Christ – p. Nick Hsieh.

2. Summarise the key points in 1-2 sentences.

In the first 8 chapers, Mark highlights Jesus’ authority as Lord and Christ followed by 3 different possible responses: rejection, misunderstanding, or submission. In writing to a persecuted audience in a pagan culture, Mark ends his gospel with the resurrection and the call to respond with boldness and faith, with the assurance that it is worth it.

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Read Bible With Me: Paul’s Shorter Epistles, ESV

This post will be updated until all the relevant videos have been added.

I’m aiming to upload reading through the entire Bible at some point.

My current uploading schedule is one chapter every weekday. These letters, however, are shorter and I feel they are significantly more cohesive when read in its entirety to get a better sense of the overarching message, rather than breaking them down by chapters. They’re also short enough to read in one go, so that’s what I’ve done. As such, my upload schedule will vary depending on the number of chapters in a book. Thanks for reading with me!

The full playlist is here:

Individual books are below:

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Sermon Reflections: A Resolved Response

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These are some immediate reflections as I listen (back) on sermons from CBCWLA, often resulting in brain hurting, always accompanied by caffeine. It’s a brain-dump and won’t necessarily be cohesive or coherent, most certainly won’t be exhaustive of all important parts, but will be personal to me. Here are the questions I’ll attempt to answer with each sermon I review:

  1. What sermon did I listen to today? Title/Link.
  2. Summarise the key points in 1-2 sentences.
  3. What did I learn this time that I didn’t catch/forgot about when I heard it the first time?
  4. How has it challenged my thinking?
  5. What practical applications can I take from it?

Before we begin with the reflections, I have to admit this took about 2 months to complete. I’m trying to figure out why it took me so long, but my initial excuse is that the audio cuts off half way through, and that just broke my concentration for the longest time. Then, when I’m having to read through just the sermon notes when I’m not a big reader, it takes me longer to get into it.

It’s not a good reason, but I’ve also been busy or distracted and have had other things to write about that require less brain power. I don’t know how realistic it would be for me to do one reflection per week so maybe if I target myself one every other week, it’d be less daunting and I’ll actually be able to stick to it.

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A Christian’s Open Letter to Myka and James Stauffer

Dear Myka and James Stauffer,

You are trash and I hate you.

This is what I’d love to write. This is honestly how I feel in my heart right now. But I am a Christian, and I am called to not hate you, but rather love you despite hating your sin, and oh boy do you have a lot. Not that I don’t have my own sins, but you — how dare you? How could you? How can you?

You call yourselves Christians, so I will judge you as a Christian according to 1 Corinthians 5:12. Listen well, “Christians”:

You live in unrepentant sin.

This is not an exhaustive list of your sins – they are just the ones that I can list for now without exhausting myself mentally when I think of you:

You live in the unrepentant sin of uprooting an innocent child from his loving foster home in China.
You live in the unrepentant sin of exploiting him for views and millions of dollars.
You live in the unrepentant sin of lying to your viewers to fund your lavish lifestyle under the guise of paying for your child’s medical care.
You live in the unrepentant sin of abusing your adopted child.
You live in the unrepentant sin of acting upon your White Saviour Complex for shoulder pats and affirmation.
You live in the unrepentant sin of attempting to gaslight a non-verbal 4yr old to absolve yourself of responsibility.
You live in the unrepentant sin of inflicting unspeakable mental damage and trauma upon him for the rest of his life. As if he wasn’t already struggling enough.
You live in the unrepentant sin of declaring that you are the victim here, and that you are justified in abandoning him. Sorry, my bad, you “re-homed” him. Like an animal.
And the worst part: you live in the unrepentant sin of using the name of God in vain, suggesting that He is all-loving and therefore forgives you for everything.

How dare you.

God does indeed forgive. But He forgives those who are repentant. He forgives those who come before Him, crying for forgiveness, begging on their knees for mercy, broken by the weight of the sins on their shoulders. He desires mercy, and He will never turn away a contrite heart.

But you? You are shallow, selfish, narcissistic, greedy… insolent, haughty, boastful, an inventor of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. You are filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. You deserve to die.

So repent. Genuinely repent. You do not fool anyone with your crocodile tears. Come before Him with your true heart and your true tears. Beg for forgiveness – not so that you can manipulate your followers for more money and continue your social media career, but so that you can learn to truly love others as you love yourself.

I would love to see that day, because the world can see how much you love yourselves. I’d love to see the day you love others the same amount.

If you do not repent, you will face the wrath of my almighty God. You do not know Him for you worship the god of yourself, an image created by you. But I hope you come to know Him. I hope you come to true repentance, and receive true forgiveness.

Remember this:

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.

Revelation 20:12-13, ESV

And thanks be to God, I no longer hate you, for I know that vengeance is His, and He will repay.

I implore you to seek truth, to seek Him. I pray that if you are grieved, you will be grieved to repentance; be convicted. I know that child is in His hands, as are you. My God will protect him, but as for you – decide if you will be true to your Christian claims, or stop using the name of God in vain.

With all the Christ-like love I can muster,
Crystina.