Living a Life of Faith. Still.

I have been living in Korea for over five years now. In August, it will be six. Wow. That’s awhile. That’s longer than I spent in college. That was most of my twenties.

Sometimes I feel incredibly at home here. It was like that since the beginning. There are moments of frustration, miscommunication, and helplessness, but then there are unexpected experiences like the $7 hair cut I got last Saturday.

I stepped into a salon on my street to find one middle-aged woman holding scissors, another middle-aged woman in a chair getting her hair done, and a bunch of other middle-aged women congregated on the couch. When I asked if they were all waiting for hair cuts, they said no, only one of them was. The others were just chilling. So I joined them.

Soon, a middle-aged man walked in, and room was made for him. Korean news was playing on the TV; discussion ensued. I, meanwhile, found myself nodding off to sleep, not out of boredom, but from a deep feeling of safety and peace. Unable to understand a word they were saying, unsure how long the wait would be, I was overtaken by a feeling of home. I was sitting in another version of my Korean grandparents’ house on a Saturday afternoon. And soon every muscle in my body had relaxed.

Despite these moments of feeling like I was primed for this life since I was a child, like I was meant to find my home here, I do sometimes feel restless. I get hit with homesickness for America and my family. I get caught up in all the possibilities that are not here. That are out there somewhere else. Sometimes I feel the urge to bolt.

Recently God told me: I want you to put down roots here.

And I realized that, for me, putting down roots is scary. I’m not used to staying in one place for more than a couple years, and I’ve already been in this city for three. I don’t like staying behind when others are leaving, and some close friends are. It’s difficult having a mentality of permanence when certain dreams and desires don’t seem possible in my current situation.

But I keep coming back to the simple question: Do I trust Him?

Five and a half years ago, God led me to leave everything familiar behind. I left America, my family, and most of my prospects to come to Korea. That was my act of faith.

Now, God is leading me to stay. A different act of faith. A different opportunity to trust and to obey.

There is a process to these things, to making decisions and sifting through one’s heart, and as an emotional person, it is inevitably an emotional process. But when I decided to once again make unquestioning obedience my foundation, my heart profoundly shifted. The restlessness fell away. I began to recognize the value of what I have right here in this season, all the many fruits God has given me to enjoy. I found clarity.

In the end, it’s bigger than┬áKorea or any circumstance of my life. It’s about a relationship.

Without God, my life would be little more than aimless wandering and spurts of excitement. With God, my life becomes something much more: A continual discovery of goodness that far surpasses my understanding.

Jesus said, “You are my friends if you do what I command.”

So I choose to follow, to obey. Because I want to be close to God. No treasure or accomplishment, no possibility I could ever dream up, could ever come anywhere close to the sweetness of having Him near.


“Direct me in the path of Your commands,
for there I find delight.”
Psalm 119:35



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Elizabeth is a teacher, preacher, musician, and writer. She has a Master's of Divinity and a Master's of Music, which represent her two great loves: Jesus and the arts. A half-Korean, half-white American, she spent seven years in South Korea teaching English. Elizabeth is a perpetual learner, a deep feeler, and a pursuer of beauty and truth.

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