Why I'm Misunderstood

We live in a society that is constantly driven by the value of being successful and having money to fulfill. Having money is not just for status but the argument is that you can't do anything without it. I remember when I was in early college at Starbucks and someone said, "You look like a dreamer and you sound like you care deeply about people, want to learn how to make sure you have more than enough money to really begin to help people?"

He worked for a multi-level marketing company and the pitch was that if you seek safety and profit, you will be happy and help people. Now don't get me wrong, I am all for being financially wise and strategic about investments. However, I feel there are so many people who's purpose and potential is dormant because they are more concerned about getting by than by giving their gift away. The crowds are always excited for the cause, but few individuals are willing to be faithful when it starts to cost.

The Tragedy is the people who say they care, do not care. They care about their safety and profits.
— James Baldwin, I Am Not Your Negro

If there is one thing I have learned it is that there is not enough "safety or profit" in the world that is worth the compromise of your purpose. I would rather make less money, be less known, and be unliked than watch my life pass me by and allow my purpose to shrivel and die.

So if living committed to your purpose is important, how do we discover our purpose? I say discover because I believe your meaning is not something you decide to make, but is made by God over the course of your life. Here are three steps to begin to discover your purpose.

Confront your past

You can't make choices that matter unless you have dealt with your story. Questions like: how did you get here, who has impacted you in your life, why are you interested in what your interested in? Ask tough questions like what am I afraid of? Why? Get comfortable with the discomfort and surrender that to God.

Embrace your present

We all want to help end injustice however how many of us know the stories of our neighbors? Rather than trying to change LA, change your block. I am more convinced than ever the church in the USA don't need more dreaming, it needs more faithfulness.

Don't go alone

If you want to go fast, go alone. if you want to last, go together. Whatever you do, share your journey with the people around you and seek relationship over being right. We are all suffering people who need each other. This is not a negative but allows space for the humanity of us all. There will be disappointments, disasters, and defeats but when we are in community, together we can get back up and say Yes, we can again. Si Se Puede.

When you begin to live with your purpose in mind, you will be misunderstood. People don't have your same purpose and so they won't always be able to relate. They will disagree, they will say you're unconventional, and that you should settle for the safe and easy route. But I have learned that if I want to live for something beyond me, it will cost me those "security of the majority." As for me, I choose purpose, even if the cost is to be misunderstood. 

If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers— most of which are never even seen— don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
— Matthew 6:30-33, The Message

Aizaiah Yong

Aizaiah is a compassionate and visionary leader who has a heart for ministry and people. He spent the past five years serving as an Associate Pastor at a local church and has recently transitioned into higher education leadership focusing on Diversity and Intercultural Development. He is husband to his wife, Neddy Yong for 4 years and a father to his newborn baby girl, Serenity Joy. Aizaiah loves adventure, sports, and meeting people! He has a deep passion to inspire anybody who will listen to join in on God's renewing work in the community and world. He is currently working at Vanguard University as the lead for Diversity and Inclusion and resides with his family in Anaheim, California.