The Challenge: Day 1

For someone like me, dumping a bucket of ice water on my head or eating a ball of wasabi isn’t a challenge. It’s easy, and it’s fun; and it puts me in the center of attention. I do that kind of stuff on a dare. I don’t find it challenging at all.

But when I’m challenged to post three positive things for the next five days in the middle of a super stressful week of starting Chinese school, menstruating, trying to figure out how to survive with limited finances, and then having my wallet end up missing with all my money to my name inside (not to mention all the other important cards that cost a lot of money to replace) right before an anticipated 4-day hiking/camping trip, I don’t feel like calling attention to myself. Positivity is the last thing I want to express. THIS is a challenge.

I find it very challenging to focus on thankfulness when I feel like every important material thing is gone. I find it very challenging to be positive when, truth be told, I’ve been crying or holding back tears ever since my wallet disappeared late this afternoon. I find it very challenging to be happy when I literally have no money. I find it very challenging to smile when all I wanted to do after work today was study Chinese and visit with a couple of friends and instead I’m at the mercy of everyone around me and filing a report at the police station. In the middle of a crappy situation, the real challenge is TO BE POSITIVE.

So here I am, in a very non-ideal state, accepting the positivity challenge. And it’s the last thing I feel like doing right now.

1. My friend Felicia, who is staying with me for a couple months before moving to the States, came into my room and found me crying over my state of affairs. She brought me water, rubbed my back, prayed for me, brought me to the police station to report my missing wallet, called my bank to cancel my debit card, and bought me dinner. She got me through all of those first steps when I couldn’t think straight by myself.

2. On our way to the Aroma Coffee Shop from the police station, Felicia and I encountered a group of runners racing by on the sidewalk. I saw that they were actually in a race and found out it was Moon Festival Night Run. Their route was 10km city run and in the shape of a Chinese character (I couldn’t tell which one). As they were running past the coffee shop, I cheered them on. They wanted me to join them and a lady gave me this paper folded in the shape of a heart:

photo (23)
Translation: “I am so happy to have encountered you in this beautiful city.”

She has no idea how encouraging those words were to me in that moment.

3. Two of my friends gave me cash without me asking for it. And my friends I’m hiking with told me not to worry about not having money right now. It’s moments like these when I’m not sure if I truly let myself receive the kindness of other people on a regular basis.

Focusing on what I HAVE, not on what I don’t have, is the key to positivity. And I have been challenged to intentionally tap into this and share it with others for the next four days. Challenge ACCEPTED.

Thank you, Jill. This post is for you and Andrew and all of the other reasons we have in this life to choose positivity over the darkness and the voices of a crappy situation.


  1. God I pray that you would give Vicky peace as this unplanned stressor has caused some panic. I pray that she would see your provision even clearer through this. I also pray that if it is your will, her wallet would turn up, everything still in it.
    Thank you for showing Vicky positives through a situation that is hard to find positives through.

  2. I pray for peace, I pray for clear eyes to see God’s provision, I pray that the wallet would turn up with everything still in it, I am thankful, Lord, for showing Vicky positives in a not so positive day.

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