Eugene Cho

what are your “life giving” questions?

I love what I do but it’s amazing how even that which you do and that which you feel “called” to do can grow in an unhealthy way to become idolatrous or simply draining. While we all know we don’t live in a fantasy land where everything is life-giving all the time, there are important things we ought to be doing – not because we have to – but rather, we get to preserve vitality in our life.

The consequence – if we dont’ care well for ourselves – is that you can get in a funk.

So, recently, I’ve been asking myself some questions to check my balance because spirituality isn’t just about “going to church” for an hour on Sundays or in my case, preaching a sermon on a Sunday.  I’m incredibly grateful that we’re wired in such a way that our spirituality is holistic and also unique. What is life giving to me might not be as life giving to others or our priorities may be different as well.

As I regularly check in on the “how is my soul?” question, here are the numerous questions I’ve been asking myself:

Am I praying?

Praying. Listening. Praying for myself; For others. Being still… As my mind whirls around with dreams and ideas, am I being still…

Am I reading the Scriptures?

And not just for the purposes of teaching but for my own self? That I open myself to the teaching of the Holy Spirit.

How am I doing with my wife?

Are we still dating and growing together? Are we experiencing intimacy? Good communication. Deep conversation. Laughter.

How am I doing as a Dad?

I need to be more present and to deeply enjoy them. And not go #TigerDad on them. I so much enjoy playing with them, praying with them, and creating memories with them.

Am I sabbathing and sleeping?

Shabbat. Seriously.

Is there a day or rather, let me be more realistic, is there a full half-day where I’m remembering, resting, and rejoicing in the Lord.

Sleeping as in resting.

Friendships?

Do I even have friends that aren’t just focused around ministry or what we can do for one another but simply care and enjoy one another,

Am I writing?

Blogging and writing is actually really good for my soul. But sometimes, I have to remember to write for myself and for my vitality rather than looking at writing as another “task” or ministry item.

Am I exercising and playing sports?

Damn it.

This used to be one of my passionate hobbies…

Am I fishing?

Refuge. Solitude. Peace. I used to go fishing twice/week and asides from a two week intense plunge over the summer, I no longer fish. And I need to…

Am I playing music?

I need to get back on my guitar. Sing. Write.

How about you?

What are some unique or common things you do to fight the funk, restore balance, and get the mojo back.

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21 Responses

  1. JBen says:

    I would put all of those on my list (except that I don’t have a wife or kids). I recently had a prayer retreat where God reminded me of how much I love to study Scripture so I decided to build an hour of it a day into my schedule. So now I am blogging through the whole thing. I love it.

    But sabbath and writing? Oh yeah, those are great things to do. Laughing with friends? yes please! hmm, you and I seem to have a lot in common. Peace!

  2. Bryan says:

    Great questions

    My list includes everything except writing and fishing.

    Some I have that you don’t

    Am I sleeping?
    Am I drinking enough water?
    Am I reading in a balanced way (fun, theology, ministry, history, current stuff, etc..)

    Some “Get the funk out” habits I have
    1. I set quarterly goals instead of annual and that includes mixing up spiritual disciplines. I get bored to fast to just keep up the same old thing for a year.
    2. Sometime you just have to lower the hoop. Dunking on a 9 foot rim makes me regulation height.
    3. Playing with kids like I’m a kid. Coloring, drawing, video games, and other goofy stuff that keep me young.
    4. Solitude – I know I am in a funk when I isolate, but when I am seeking solitude in prevent mode or in intervention mode, it brings great health to my whole being.
    5. Fasting – sometimes for spiritual reasons, sometimes for health, sometimes to just change the pace.
    6. Lament – I like to write my own Lament psalms. I think there is a pretty regular pattern in the psalms and I like to follow and do my own. If I start to get extra cynical, it’s time for some biblical blues

  3. kristi says:

    Understanding how it’s all connected, and thus all important, was a big turning point for me, too, Eugene. Another big one is, “How’s my diet?”

  4. Kenny Jahng says:

    Great post and challenges!

    Here are two more that I need to be asking of myself:

    1) Who am I mentoring and actively encouraging?

    2) Am I creating something new, useful, or inspiring? Do I have an active or soon to be active project that is an outlet for creativity and contribution?

    Thanks for the reminder to de-funk ourselves from time to time!

    Kenny
    http://www.twitter.com/godvertiser

  5. Long time RSS reader. Thanks for the insights.

    Today I’m finally commenting because as a borderline workaholic these are the kind of questions that help keep me stay on the right side of the line.

    Scott

  6. alexoh says:

    Is that from fly fishing or deep water? I recently saw A River Runs Through It on your recommendation and it made me want to go fly fishing.

  7. Ramon says:

    When I get into a funk I usually write poetry. Nothing too deep and intellectual. I just play with the words and let them bring healing to my soul.

    Thanks for this post. You have inspired me to try fishing!

  8. Pat Pope says:

    I tend to allow myself to stay in the funk rather than fight it and then I look to the things around me that I have to do and begin to pick myself up out of it. Sometimes I just need the alone time and I’m usually stronger for it as I’ve gotten it out of my system and am able to move on stronger and determined. Last night I did laundry and my taxes and just being productive again helps even if it involves taxes! I think by staying in a self-imposed funk I get sick of myself and that’s what motivates me to move on.

  9. Hanker says:

    Thanks, I’m in the funk due to some issues at the church. Thanks for the list, as an extravert I would add be with people, talk and connect with friends and colleagues.
    Pax,

  10. jchenwa says:

    nice catch!

  11. Kayce says:

    Those are some good questions. I think I will start using them from now on. Thanks!

  12. Jason says:

    Except for fishing [it would be rock/mountain climbing for me]our lists are pretty much the same.

  13. […] read this blog entry from Eugene Cho’s blog about “life giving” questions and was encouraged to make […]

  14. […] to do ministry at my current pace for another 30 years.  As I continue to ask myself the larger “life giving questions”, I needed to slow down, practice Sabbath if even in creative ways, and honor the rhythm of my […]

  15. […] the effort. (For help with identifying your life-giving routine/s, I recommend this old post “What Are Your Life-Giving Questions?” by Eugene […]

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One Day’s Wages

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Window seat. For the win. As leaders, we must not see ministry and family as competing commitments.  We must not sacrifice our marriage and kids for the sake of "ministry." How can we? Loving our families IS ministry & good leadership.

And on a side note, we took this goofy photo for Mother's Day last Sunday at @seattlequest. I was shocked! What in the world happened to our kids? Our 13 year old son blocked four of my shots on the basketball court yesterday. He's since been grounded... I fear that we ask God to move mountains, forgetting that God also wants to move us.

In fact, it's possible that we are that mountain. Time flies. The eldest is wrapping up her 1st year in college and the college tours have begun for the 2nd child. The youngest enters high school in the Fall. Can't say enough about how proud Minhee and I are of the kids - not just of their accomplishments but the people they are and are becoming.

But...man...we can't wait to party it up when we're emptynesters. Party at our house. It's going to be epic. Humbled. Grateful. Mindful of God's grace and faithfulness in my life. It's all grace... It's an unexpected honor to be invited back - even with some mini-drama - to @princetonseminary to receive the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award - exactly 25 years after starting my journey there as a student in 1992. Wow.

Princeton isn't necessarily for everyone. And to say that I loved everything about my experience would be misleading but it was very formative. Ir challenged me to examine why I believed in what I believed. It reminded me that God could handle my questions. It prepared me for a post-Christian context where I am not entitled to be heard but I had to earn the right to be heard, and of course, it taught me that all is good with a Philly cheese steak at Hoagie Haven.

No one is an island to themselves and I am certainly an example of that. Many people - women and men, young and old, and of many backgrounds - prayed, encouraged, mentored, and loved me along the way. Grateful for my professors at seminary, my many classmates, and the numerous fellow staff and co-laborers I've had the privilege of serving Christ with past and present. And of course, I'm forever inspired by my parents, my children, and my wife, Minhee. Thank you for your faith, hope, and love...and oh, for your patience. Only your family will know and see both the best and worst of you. They've seen my worst...and keep on believing in me.

Thank you again, PTS and President Barnes, for this honor. Then, today, and tomorrow...by God's grace, just striving to be faithful to my Lord and Savior...to preach and live out the convictions of the whole Gospel. Amen. So humbled and grateful to be with @catalystleader in Cincinnati to encourage leaders from all around the country about the invitation to Uncommon Fellowship.

Preached from John 4. We can talk, preach, sing, philsophize, liturgize, and spit rhymes about Samaria...but we still have to talk through Samaria.

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