Photo by Ingrid Taylar

Photo by Ingrid Taylar

By Jerrica KF Ching

The idea of self-regulation is to regulate one’s self without intervention from external factors, and I for one am often influenced by external factors.  It is very easy to respond positively to a positive outcome.  Positive outcomes include: when we find out we received that job we were hoping for, when an event we planned in ministry goes well, or when we are recognized for our efforts by others.  We smile, we feel relieved, and we feel validated!  Life however does not work this way, and God definitely did not create life to always be perfect.  So when a negative outcome occurs, I know that I myself often feel rejected, maybe even dejected, and I begin to think, “Why didn’t that work out the way I thought?  Is there something wrong with me?”

Self-regulation is something that I am constantly struggling with, and something that I am sure many AAWOL sisters can relate to.  As someone who is naturally anxious, I am often anticipating how I will respond to an outcome of a situation.  For example, I will often think quite extensively on how I will react if the situation works in my favor, and then how I will react if the situation does not work in my favor.  I know I cannot predict the future, however in these moments I feel as though my preparation is being productive, useful, and helping me stay focused. Unfortunately when a less than favorable outcome actually occurs, all of that nerve-wracking preparation ends up for naught, and I wind up in tears, self-deprecating thoughts, and frequent phone calls to my mother. “Preparing for the worst and hoping for the best” is not self-regulation.  It is an anxiety-provoking and tedious way of believing that I am in control of my circumstances, and being unable to relinquish that control.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 resonates with me as I reflect on all of the times that didn’t go the way I wanted them to.  There is a time for everything, including the times that do not go the way we anticipated.  The image that I pair with this verse is of a duck floating above water.  When an unexpected wave comes its way, the duck may be paddling along quickly beneath the water, but all we see above is the duck floating along.  The duck doesn’t resist the wave either, but does what it needs to do to move with it.  The duck responds naturally and never sinks nor does it even seem frightened.  The duck is regulating itself as it needs to, depending on the waves, but it never moves before the wave comes.  May we all go head into March as these ducks above water, moving when we are moved by God, and knowing that we will not sink in His hands.

Jerrica KF Ching lives in the beautiful state of Washington and works as a Mental Health Primary Care Provider serving children, adolescents, and their families at Columbia Wellness.  She graduated with an MA in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling from George Fox University and is working towards becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist. Her research on racial colorblindness has recently been published in The International Journal of Social Science Studies.

Photo by Malcolm Slaney

Photo by Malcolm Slaney

By Melanie Mar Chow

“Self-regulation… [is] the quality of emotional intelligence that liberates us from living like hostages to our impulses.”  — Daniel Goleman, A Star Leader’s Secret Weapon

It must be February! Why?  My recent trips to the gym have thinned, post-New Year’s resolutions. Only thin people persevere to regulate body size.  Where are all of my new friends who were going to lose weight this year with me?  What happened to my own discipline, especially when I got a cold and didn’t go to the gym for a few weeks? Continue Reading »

8058650110_38e0ba2138_zBy Diana Gee

By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.

–Gal 5:22-23


This past week I was in an ordination workshop. The class was made up of people in the process of being recognized as set apart for the ministry of shepherding God’s flock. What this all means is still being worked out both for me and for my church. For the record, I have no actual agricultural experience. The closest is of the gardening variety and pet-sitting. I feel unqualified and doubtful most of the time. Nonetheless, it’s a journey worth travelling, even if it is rather daunting and lonely. Continue Reading »

Photo by Michal Ziembicki

Photo by Michal Ziembicki

By Eun Joo Angela Ryo

One of the life-changing experiences I had last year was to walk the Camino from Portugal to Spain to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.  I was part of a group of sixteen women from church, ages ranging anywhere from mid 70s to early 40s.  We walked over hundred miles in two weeks and became sisters for life. Continue Reading »

Photo by pedro sorrentin

Photo by pedro sorrentin

By Ajung Sojwal

After being ordained a priest in the Episcopal church for ten years now, I am just beginning to understand this extraordinary call from Jesus. It has taken a crisis to bring about the crushing of my ego to make room for the real heart of a priest and a prophet from God. Why prophet? Continue Reading »

By Ben Sutherland

By Ben Sutherland

By Sarah D. Park

I was reading Rebecca Solnit’s book The Faraway Near, and she wrote about leprosy as a physical condition and as a social metaphor. Interestingly enough, leprosy “strangles nerves, kills off feeling, and what you cannot feel you cannot take care of: not the disease but the patient does the damage.” Continue Reading »

Photo by Rachel Barenblat

By Maria Liu Wong

Cultivating self-awareness was critical for fully engaging in my cohort-based doctoral program in Adult Learning and Leadership at Columbia. We were asked constantly to reflect in journals, to think critically in small and large group settings, and to engage in various exercises and activities. This made us hyper-aware of how we felt, how we showed up, and how we experienced others from our positionality. Continue Reading »

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