TINA PARK

 
 

Tell me about a time God had a purpose in His timing for you.

There was a very identifiable moment for me. After I graduated from college, I planned to go home to Alabama for a little bit. A month turned into two months, six months turned into nine, and before I knew it it had been almost a year that I had been home. The whole time I was job searching, interviewing, and crying out to God—asking Him "Where are you, I thought you had this grand vision and purpose for me." I just felt like He wasn’t there. But if I didn’t stay those nine months, I don’t know if I would be so grounded now. I volunteered to lead the VBS program at my mom’s Korean church and worked at a beauty supply store steaming wigs, selling hair glue and straighteners. I was in contact with people from all walks of life and saw poverty first-hand, a side of the world I never would have seen if I had only lived in NYC. God really used that time to develop me, although I couldn’t see it then.

How can we find purpose in God?

Purpose comes through praise. Through knowing who God is and grounding yourself in the simplicity of that. Everyone has their anxieties of the day, things that they’re worried about. But when you’re speaking out loud that God has everything under control, that He leads you beside green pastures and still waters, it’s like, "Okay, maybe whatever it is I’m struggling with that day isn’t that big of a deal." My purpose is not satisfying me, but satisfying God.

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How do you reestablish that daily?

I listened to a really life-changing sermon from C3 Brooklyn this summer about the structure of prayer, and in it Pastor Brian Zahnd presented this morning liturgy, which is essentially a bunch of different prayers in one package: your own personal prayers tied in with the Lord’s prayer and the prayer of Saint Francis. So a lot of those traditional things that are basically the anthem of the gospel, you start your morning with. It brings me back to my purpose because I’m addressing God as who He is. When I start the day by saying, "God, you are Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. You died for us and rose again, and You’re going to come back again.” When you focus on the pillars of your faith, it follows: if God is so loving and gave His life for me, then my purpose is tied to His purpose—and that is to glorify Him and to spread the gospel.

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What role does trusting Jesus play in fulfilling God's purpose?

You have to believe that His purpose is truly good. If I need to work late but still have to leave the office so I can do Dinner Party, or if I feel exhausted and I really don’t want to serve on Sundays, I really have to trust that God will use my obedience for the ultimate good. Serving with the church has helped me find my purpose. My purpose is not me. My purpose is pointing people and guiding people to God, and getting to do that alongside my brothers and sisters in Christ. Pastor Josh said something along the lines of, "Through your surrender, you’re helping someone see God." Through me brewing coffee or tea for the pm service, handing out water bottles to the band, going grocery shopping before Dinner Party, I’m seeing lives transformed and even seeing changes in myself. It’s easier to be patient, it’s easier to love someone, it’s easier to reach out and ask someone to grab a cup of coffee. That is encouraging to me. His purpose is also for the betterment of you. When I’m giving of my time with a smile, I can almost see a vision of the kingdom come down to Bushwick or Brooklyn. It’s such a beautiful thing.

ELVIN KRISTIAN

 
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What does it mean to be human? 

I am fully alive when I’m joyful. Going out and doing things is against my nature. I am an introvert—we keep to ourselves and don’t really need people. But when I’m keeping to myself, it’s not me. It’s a very sad version of me. The moment I stepped into C3, the service after my first service, I put myself out there. I started carrying stuff. I said, "Can I help with this? Can I do that?"

I like how CS Lewis puts it in The Screwtape Letters. There is an uncle and a nephew demon. The older demon is teaching the younger demon how to manipulate and control people and force them to do crazy stuff, like make war. But the uncle demon breaks down one time; he understands the truth and says—and I’m paraphrasing here—"These puny humans, if they only understood what they have in God. They think God takes everything away from them, but on the contrary. When they give themselves completely He doesn’t take it away; He multiplies it and gives them more. They don’t understand what they have." There are so many things locked inside of us that become unlocked when we step out in faith. 

How do you pursue that humanity?

By branching out. The best connections I have with people at church were forged when I stepped out of my comfort zone. It’s interesting—there’s a thought that, "Oh, I’m going to burn myself out," or as I’ve heard a couple of people say, "I don’t want to get too lost in this church thing; I don’t want to lose myself to this." I’ve been there before, and honestly, if you don't step out you lose a lot, spiritually. The more we give ourselves to God, the more He gives back to us, gives us peace and opens up things we’ve never even thought about. 

That is how it's supposed to be. I can’t just worship and attend and see other people carrying things and not help. There’s no possible way. My hands always get itchy, even when I’m not serving in something. I heard a sermon once from this pastor, who was like, "If I come to a church and see that there are no ushers, I’m going to be an usher." Yes, we are called to do certain things, but God is so interesting. He doesn’t say, "Okay, so this person is a prophet and all he does is preach," or "This person is a janitor and that’s all he does at church is clean." God is gracious in His ways and gives us gifts so we can all partake and give into the church setting in multiple ways. 

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In what ways can we connect and build each other up as humans? 

Partaking was something big at the Søns retreat, when all the men were partaking and carrying each other’s loads. It was a beautiful picture. It was like: let’s do this together every Sunday. It's beautiful when everyone takes part. There are a lot of people on the outskirts who feel like they need to be called to something, but that’s not the picture of Jesus. His followers would drop everything they were doing and come follow Him. A lot of people are waiting to be partakers, for that audible calling from God. But He’s already called us.

What does this mean for the church?

Church, I believe, is Jesus’s dream, and we are living out His dream here in Brooklyn. It’s phenomenal. Everyone is a part of it. I love how the moment I walked in, Filmore said, "You brought something new to the plate." When you gather so many people from different backgrounds with different stories, their stories connect with your stories, and you think, "Oh, there’s an answer to my question," or "That resonates with me." And there you were just partaking and doing something maybe very small from your point of view—but you were doing it and God loves that, because those little things add up. These little things are like colors, and they just add up into a big firework. You can’t paint a picture with just one color. The more relationships you have, the more things you partake in—they’re all colors in the design.

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GAELLE DUCHEINE

What themes in the human series have stood out to you?

That it’s really easy to be an observer, rather than a participant. Being a participant is very scary. Sometimes people can come into church with baggage, and all they want to do is just be told about God's love. People might be too scared to do anything but listen because they’ve been hurt before. I get it—I come from church hurt. But it was a reminder that our calling is to actively make disciples, to tell people about God's love and Jesus’ mission. You can’t know all this information and simply keep it to yourself.

The sermon about systems of power also touched me. Sometimes in church people don’t like to talk about what’s going on in the world because it’s touchy. I liked Pastor Josh’s boldness in talking about how can the church be an instrumental part of reversing what’s going on—not just with racism but with all injustice, like How can we solve world hunger or what can we do about homelessness. It actually ties into the idea of participating. We as people, and as a church, are more powerful than we give ourselves credit for. We should be on the front lines helping and teaching others. 

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What attitude changes has this sparked for you?

Sometimes people try to be perfect when they come to church, but by building real relationships with people, I discovered that people come to church and they are broken. Nobody is perfect. Knowing that, I can’t sit there and not feel anything. If I can’t do anything but pray, then I’m going to pray; but if I can help, then I need to help. The more broken people I see, the more I feel my purpose and calling is to help in them being whole again. 

What has that meant for you in terms of actions?

Building real friendships with people. Not being a surface brother or sister in Christ—grabbing a coffee, hanging out and sharing our stories. We have to carry each other’s burdens: crying with people, laughing with them, praying with them, and dragging them to church when they don’t feel like going. It's about getting into the dirtiness of life with them and coming out the other side with them.

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Henry Lopez

What does it mean to be human?

To me, being human means having a relationship with God and relying on Him daily, rather than trying to figure things out on your own, like many of us do. I’m a pretty organized person. I know what I want to do, and if something falls out of place, it stresses me out. I’ve learned, though, that when I’m more aware of God's presence, He puts His grace and calmness over me and relaxes me. Reading a devotional every day is encouraging, but it’s also important to take some time out to read the Bible, to pray and to meditate on the Lord’s presence.

What has struck you most about the Human series so far?

Ps Georgie mentioned that we have the option to be observers or participators in our relationship with God. I feel like I have been more of an observer than a participator in the past—instead of trying to connect and pay attention to signs that someone may be hurting or in need of something. Connecting with that person could be as simple as lending an ear, and just giving them someone to talk to. I fall down a lot, but when I feel His presence and grace is inside of me, all the right things come out.

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How do you feel you are becoming fully alive in Christ?

Before I became a Christian, I was a loner. I was raised that way—not to trust anyone, to keep my business to myself. I am still a private person, to a certain extent, but I’ve become more open since I started going to C3. Having a relationship with God and learning about His ways is changing me so I can be vulnerable with people. He’s all about love and being there for each other—and I’ve learned that we’re not meant to do life alone. We’re meant to help each other out. singing together, being in community together, learning about Him together, and laughing together.

How did that new beginning come about?

It’s funny. My girl introduced me to Christianity. God knew what it would take to get my attention, I guess. Soon after we met, she invited me to go to C3. I didn’t go, but we went on a few dates. Then we didn’t go out again for maybe a month. I still tried to pursue her a bit, and she asked me again if I wanted to go to church. This time I went. I remember the first day I walked in. I had never met so many friendly and talented people in one location. It was amazing, and it’s been great ever since. It didn’t feel like something I had to do—it felt like a family. And the more I learn (I’m reading John right now) the more I see that’s the way He wants us to be.

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What changed for you in the process?

One way that I've changed is in the music that I listen to. I’m not saying that the music I listened to before was all bad, but listening to it on a constant basis turned it into a form of worship, in a negative way. Now I find myself listening to more uplifting music. I like "Oceans [Where Feet May Fail]" and songs like that. Listening to them helps me get in tune with God. Singing those songs, you can definitely feel the Holy Spirit.

How is this new beginning making an impact on your life today?

Until recently, I was renting a room in my uncle’s three-bedroom apartment in West Harlem and driving from there to C3. I ended up relocating to a new apartment in Williamsburg a few weeks ago, and it just so happens that C3 is only a few blocks away. It’s so amazing to be here; it’s almost surreal. I have a strong feeling that He wants to use this move to help me become a bridge for other people. Ultimately, I hope to change the world. That’s always been my dream. He is the Creator, and I’m learning more and more, every week, every month: how strong God is, how smart God is, and so many different things I didn’t know before. It’s impossible to understand all the aspects of God’s love, but it’s a beautiful thing to watch unfold.

JOLIE EGAN

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What does it mean for you to 'Behold'?

When Pastor Josh preached the first sermon in this series, it was the first time I’d ever really noticed that the scripture is “Behold, I am.” Then it goes on to talk about how He’s sending us out. What that means to me is that the first thing you need to do is to see God and be struck by who He is. To behold is to ask myself: am I taking the time to see God’s heart and His face, rather than looking for His hand and what He can do? When you do that, everything else will flow quite naturally. Knowing who is sending you is much more important than knowing where you’re being sent because the destination can change. Abraham, for example, was just called to go. There was no set destination. Like Abraham, we are called to a person, not a place. Jesus is the true north.

What areas in your life do you have to let die to see Him more clearly?

For me, it’s always the sense of control. That has been a part of my life since I was so young. When things break down from a family standpoint, then having control and having lists and knowing what you’re going to do is your semblance of keeping it together. Another big one is ambition. Letting ambition die so I’m not tethered to my worldly identity, my idea of success and my time frame for moving forward. It’s so counterintuitive, but letting that die is when I really see God’s favor pour out in those areas.

How does God intersect your daily life at your workplace? How do you bring him into what you're doing each day?

Doing things well—a spirit of excellence—is a testament to His excellence and magnificence and the skills and talents that He’s put inside me. I want to use my talents in a way that reflect Him. I have the privilege of leading a team, and I think that’s the biggest place where I can bring Him into my workday. By being in prayer for those people, or coaching them in a way that reflects the Bible. Even if it’s not an outright conversation about church, I’m sowing seeds. But there are also moments where it makes sense to have a bold conversation, and I’ve learned to recognize them and not shy away from them.

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How do you find space to rest in Him in busy workweeks?

It’s not easy, and I'm the first to admit that. Getting into the Bible is huge, but it doesn’t have to be for an hour. You could read something for five minutes and get what you need for the day. Doing the things you love and that refresh you are part of resting in Him, too, whether it’s finding time to go to the gym or eating well. And by making sure I’m constantly pouring into others. In the Bible it says those who refresh others will also be refreshed. There’s not always time to catch up for dinner, or coffee, but being in the headspace of praying for people is so refreshing to me.

When have you experienced God making a way where there was no way? 

God called me to walk away from my corporate job and do two years of Bible College. He took me on this journey of finding that my identity is not tied up in my job or being successful, and when I came to New York and joined the corporate world again, this time it was with His blessing. I excelled in my job quickly—promotions, etc.—because of that revelation, and because I had given up control. I knew I had been on this journey and I was professing it: that I am God’s and I work unto Him, and He is my audience. Then, He gave me a moment to actually live what I was saying. I walked into work one day, and my company was very top heavy, and I was told my position was no longer needed. It’s really significant to me because my visa is tied to my job. So being let go from this job meant I didn’t know what that meant for my future here in the city. I was a week out from having to leave the city, and the job offer came through for the role I have now. In the very conversation in which I got laid off, I was given the lead for the job I'm in now.

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Sometimes the call of God can feel like a task rather than a relationship. Tell us about a time or experience where you felt this way and how did you navigate out?

I think in those moments where it feels like a task, where the weight of it is bearing down on us, we need to remember that the call is not a task; the call is to relationship. I host a Dinner Party. There are days I come home and I’m exhausted and all I want to do is sleep, but pushing through those moments has been the most powerful. God honors the obedience to keep pushing toward the vision. It takes getting outside of myself and acknowledging that one conversation that evening could completely change the course of someone’s week. I just love that He is so faithful to honor that obedience, and He’s not ignorant of our physical limitations or our mental capacities. The sweetest moments come out of those moments of just being honest with Him. He’s so quick to respond with the grace to keep going.

What do you feel like your specific calling is, who are you sent to?

I’m called to Jesus, and I love that this series is a reminder of that. In terms of being sent, I think right now I’m without a doubt sent to be in the corporate world. As a woman in the corporate world and as a Christian, I'm bringing those two things together. Being in a position of leadership in my job, I can have a soft heart and love people but also do my job well—and to do this job to the glory of God. Ultimately, my mission is to tell His story and to be salt and light in that in whatever context He’s placed me. 

 

MICHAEL BRUCE

What are titles you have now and in past?

I was a musician. Music was always something, and I was an actor at one time. I guess what that meant to me was that that was my soul identity at one time. Like owning singing in a choir, and leading a choir, and leading a band. I just felt like I got affirmation from people that were underneath me, when I was that title being the musician.

Yes, I was also a leader. President of my choir and also the drum major of my marching band. Music is something so powerful and speaks to so many people. I felt like, as a musician, I was able to touch people in ways that only music can. Maybe it was just playing saxophone and being able to be in a jazz band—not even singing real words, just scatting—and seeing that that could move people, I think that was cool. But again I was getting my affirmation kind of from that and from my success at that. It was always about wanting the next thing—always seeking for something better.

How did your title as a Christian intertwine with all these other titles you had?

I think my Christian faith was so in a box. I just did church; I didn’t live church. It didn't really intertwine much. I would always think I was very faith-led, but when I look back on it now I was never like, “Lord be present. Help me in the good and the bad.” It was always like when it was bad, “Oh Lord that audition didn't go well...could you do me a solid?” It was a one-way relationship, how he could help me and I couldn’t help Him. I mean I was going to mass every day. To me that’s what’s even more powerful, in where I’ve come in the last year, is that I live Christ every day. Now, I wake up every morning, and I don't have to put Christ on—He's already in me. The same as I don’t have to remember to put my socks on before my shoes, He’s there. So it’s not like a title for me anymore, it’s integrated. He is my every fiber. 

 

What was your turning point? 

I think I was getting comfortable feeling affirmation from other people’s success. But even moving to New York City, I honestly lost a job, and moved to the city after two of my friends from my a capella group said, “Move to New York City with us,” and I just did it on a whim. I was so desperate to start something new. I had all this success and kind of like pressure in this smallish town. Moving to the city I was excited to feel completely lost in the chaos. I didn't have to live under expectation—once you get to a certain level of leadership, there is a certain level of expectation. So I was forever in fear of disappointment. 

If I disappointed my family or my bosses or anybody I came into contact with, they had a certain level of expectation for me to deliver. They didn't even put that on me. That was me, putting it on myself. Putting this level of expectation on.

Moving to NY was a big turning point. But also, it was me; I was so lonely. True loneliness hits when you walk down the streets of New York City and don’t know a soul. I kept thinking that If I fell down there's nobody here to pick me up— nobody. I took that even a step further, and I was like, if i'm emotionally not right or I don’t even know what I want, there's nobody there for me. It was really me getting raw with myself and stripping myself down. I felt like I had disappointed myself. 

Stepping into C3 I realized I didn't have that expectation, and that wasn't something to be ashamed of—those are chapters in my book that will forever remain. This chapter of my life is all about humility, to peel all of that back. I don't need anyone to affirm me in my success and my identity anymore, because I have it. I have surrendered all to him and now I push myself to surrender more. As my relationship continues to just grow with him in this intimate level, I find that he’s opening up different areas in my heart and in my body or in my mind that I didn't know even existed. 

How in being in finance and having success in your career how do you find that day to day?

I think that’s Him. I think that’s Him working in me. Every time I start to feel down on myself or annoyed that I'm not getting the affirmation or appreciation I need and I continue to say, “I’ve gone on interviews, I've been getting turned down.” I just have to learn to say, “This isn’t a bad thing, this is just a season where maybe this is where I’m supposed to be.” This is more growth for me to learn or this is a place for me to bring life into a particular space. So, maybe it’s like always finding that silver lining. If I start doing that, I try to be more self aware. I don't know where that self awareness comes from. I can see when that trigger happens. I think it’s because I went so raw and so deep initially, it's part of my nature to continue that, to make sure that I do not step back towards that. It's so easy to step back into what's comfortable and what is normal to what you’ve done for more than 20 years. It’s not that I live in fear of stepping back, it’s that I'm actually getting assurance every day that I’m more and more strong in who I am.

What's an area of your faith you want to see how to live an untitled life?

The faith of patience. I think that’s an unwritten story. The story that may be going on right now. It’s not finished. It’s only just begun. I don't know what that looks like. It’s patience in only certain areas of my life. I feel like I'm good at being patient in other areas, but it’s being patient with myself that I struggle and also trusting that he will deliver on that. Wanting all the knowledge and all the experience I’ll have in 30 years, tomorrow. But knowing that you actually have to work through that, to get that is tough. That’s a huge area in my life that is untitled, but I don’t think that story will never be finished. He will always prove to that to me; I guess trust and patience go hand in hand. I need the patience to trust that He will deliver or that He will pull through and show up. 

 

 

 

 

ELIZABETH GRZEBIELUCHA

What were some of your earliest experiences with titles?

The first title I ever realized I had been given was “Daddy’s girl.” I had no idea what it meant at the time, and I didn’t realize until years later that my father was slowly raising me to be a tomboy. Since then, I began to realize that there was more to life, more that I was capable of being. 

'Creative' was always there, too. I was always involved in that and took comfort in it. My parents would often call me gentle and kind. I was the youngest in my family, and just fell into that identity easily. While at a Christian summer camp during my middle school years, I was given the title 'encouraging', which has stuck with me and spoken over everything that I do in my life. I don't think my camp counselors at the time could have known the impact that it would have on my life. I think that was the first title that really stuck with me and actually defined my character, rather than just traits. 

I've held onto that a lot, and I think it has shaped a big part of me.The tattoo on my arm means 'Helper alongside.' It's a reoccurring theme that has always come up in conjunction with the Barnabas spirit of encouragement. I have never had the desire to be in the foreground whatsoever; I absolutely hate it. Just being able to stand behind people is all I’ve really ever wanted to do. 

Can you tell me about a time that you were in pursuit of an earthly title?

Yeah, career. Career is huge for me, and something I’m still working with and fighting over. I just had a big victory in letting that go a couple of months ago. I wanted to be the best that I could be in my field. I’m a footwear and accessories designer, and I was really striving to be in the luxury market. I wanted to work with the best designers and materials possible. That’s a lot of pressure, though, to put on myself since I have only three years of experience. It’s ridiculous to even be thinking about that. So I’ve been letting go of that title - successful footwear designer - and choosing things before it: choosing God before it, choosing relationships before it, and not getting consumed in the place where this is the only definition of success.

God has been teaching me being able to see past what is directly in front of me, and how to see through the lens of His eyes. I was idolizing a lifestyle, and a dream that had started in design school. That version of success wrapped up my thinking and led me to make all decisions selfishly towards it. It wasn’t until I had chosen to try to live fully for God that those thoughts slowly started to get replaced with new thoughts and new more beautiful and commanding titles over my life.

My career is not what I am defined by; it is not who I am. I am not a designer. That is what I do, but I am a daughter of God. That is who I am.

Are there some other titles you feel like are not positive or true?

I think 'helpless' was one of them. Being the youngest child I always felt I had to prove I could do everything on my own instead of having other people do it for me. Like you have to prove you’re independent, because other people don’t think you are. And whether they actually think that or not, it’s just an inside fight, an insecurity that you have. I felt like everything had almost come too easily, that I didn’t have to necessarily fight for everything. So it’s like, was it worth it? Why am I here? Was this given to me or is this something I worked for? I think feeling undeserving is a big thing for me. 

How did that influence the way you lived? 

I think they have helped me in a lot of ways to be more self sufficient, but it's also hurt in a lot of ways because I hate asking for help or showing weakness. That was big for me—I wasn’t letting people through. Every time I had to ask for help it was physically painful for me. I’d feel it just twisting inside my gut. I constantly need to remind myself to live from a place of humility instead of self-preservation. It’s not the opinions of others that matter, rather that Jesus put on all of my shame and bore it on the cross.

For me, not asking for help and sharing my struggles was a way of covering and hiding. As if a fabricated façade could get me through things and then I could break down on my own and try to put my own pieces back together. I struggled a lot, and still am, with letting things out and talking through things with God and with people, but I’m now coming from the perspective of a humble heart. It gives me so much more freedom to live out of who I am in God, not who I am trying to show the world I am.

How do you think your identity as God's daughter has changed your perspective on that? Because it seems like you look back on it in a different way now?

Just to think about how He views me is incredible. How he views me through Jesus. God wants us to go to Him, God wants us to ask for help. He wants us to come to Him in that childlike manner, saying “Dad this is what's on my heart; can we walk through that together?” It's not going to be pretty; it’s not going to be clean; it's not going to be all put together - it’s going to be a glorified mess. But I think that’s the beauty of it, now. I've been working really hard the past few months on just being vulnerable and asking for help, being able to push through those different feelings and realizing that other people want to help me too. That’s a big one. Other people do care.

In closing, what resonates the most when you think about the theme Untitled?

When I first heard “untitled” I really liked it, because I think there is so much beauty in what we don’t see. My favorite verses will always go back to that. There is so much that we don’t see, and there’s so much that we can’t see and I think that when you put different titles on things, it puts it in a box already. It can change someone's mind about something. It can define someone, when they don’t want to be defined as that. When something or someone is untitled, it gives people the chance to be themselves, to grow without condemnation. 

You put different titles on something, and it's automatically something you can compare it to. I think for me getting rid of that spirit of comparison, getting rid of the title of what people think, I think that’s been really important for me. It’s getting rid of that fear that this has to fit into a certain box. It's very freeing, It’s beautiful.

JAY PEREZ

In the past , what earthly titles do you think you found your identity in?

Rap music, rap artists. I felt like I related to them, to the music and hip hop in general. At about age seven, I remember buying my first hip hop cassette with parental advisory. It was DMX, so you can imagine. From that inspiration, I started doing my own music—people knew me as Styla J. I always wanted to keep my reputation to that name and that title. I never smiled in pictures; it was a serious persona. It was something I felt like I had to protect.

As I started getting recognized more and more in music, I was buying more into that type. They gave me this name so I started really living the name. Music can be a dark world in a lot of cases, the things that come with it. If you live the studio life, you have so much exposure to groupies and girls. I felt being in the dark felt good and cool—that title of I'm a dark kid. It was the way I grew up. I related more to being the violent person. I made it obvious—don’t mess with me. 

I was the crazy one, the risk taker, the daredevil. I always had an attitude.

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How do you feel like your identity as a son of Christ retitled you?

When I was 18, I started studying the Bible with a Korean lady who approached me on campus; I had the braids and tattoos. Despite all the dark, my heart had gold, and I couldn't say no to her asking if it was ok to study the Bible weekly. I was fighting on the inside. I was like, I don't want to become too soft, especially for hip hop music. I didn't want to be categorized as the church soft kid. It was a battle.

The church I used to go to, the way they talked about God was as a judgmental God. I felt like that was suffocating me. It was this fear, as if God was like a circle, and if you walk out of the circle for just a day, you're not part of God's love or in His safety. The difference at C3 was a breath of fresh air—taking God seriously but not getting squeezed and pressured. Now I feel like I want to follow God more.

It's cool, seeing people's lives changed—or even me changing people's lives, talking about Christ, inviting them to church. I see it from bird’s eye view; if anything, hip hop is so small. God is bigger than hip hop, than anything. It’s changed my view.

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When you hear the theme Untitled, what does that mean to you?

Since I was young I did so many things—music, film, shoot editing, websites. People tell me I’m pretty good at everything I do, but I'm not boasting. I don't really feel like I’m someone. Sometimes I feel like I'm not someone, so I feel like doing more is going to get people to know me and to respect me. It's something I battle with, feeling like this is a blue pen and here are 10 black pens. I feel like the blue pen. I feel deep inside that I want a title, that I want to be defined. It’s like your title is your way of being accepted by people.

Especially coming to church, I could be recognized for what I do. But when people meet the Jason in Christ they are even more astonished. When I’m with God He changes who I am. He shows me how much I’m loved and how much He loves me. The title He gives me while walking in grace is this love and acceptance.

CAITLIN SEO

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the word untitled?

Not to worry about status—what defines you. A lot of times people think that who you are is defined by who you know, what you look like, or what your job is. But untitled shows that none of those outside things matter. That’s not who you are. Your identity is based on who He thinks you are.

We have such a variety of different titles—what are some of the earthly titles you have felt driven to chase or run away from?

Being Asian American, you kind of automatically get a title. You always have that box you're put into. In college I realized how I was doing everything I could to avoid being labeled as Asian. It had such a negative connotation for me. In the media, if we are represented, we’re labelled as smart, super-sexy, exotic—and then later we will be a ninja who will cut your throat and seduce you.

I tried to run away from that stereotype. I didn't want to be studious and convinced myself that I was bad at school, bad at math. I didn't like being labelled, put into boxes or for others to assume I was a certain way, defined by what I looked like and where my family was from. So I did everything to prove what I wasn't.

Were there other things you did to relabel yourself?

I was really into art. In my school there are 3 academies to go into: humanities and arts, math and science, and business and industry. I was always into arts. All my classes were based around graphic design, photography, drawing, pottery and things like that. Choosing that at a young age limited me in a number of ways. I always placed myself in the category of not being book-smart, because I didn’t want to try. If I had actually put effort in, I feel like I could have been so much better at academics. I might’ve been really good at math and science (because I actually like science), but, you know, I didn't want to be labelled so I tried being different.

At what point did your relationship with God mature to accept His titles for you, instead of your own?

There are two defining moments where His view of me shifted. The first moment I went to this conference in Kansas. I was in high school at the time. I really didn't want to go, but I was forced to by my parents. I grew up in Baptist church where they spoke in tongues so I was used to that, but I wasn’t used to the conference people prophesying, or people speaking into your life. I was very jaded—I guess I was hard hearted and didn’t really engage with people there. I didn’t care about them. I remember praying to God, “I don't care what other people say. I don't care what they think of me when they look at me. I don’t care, just as long as you think I'm beautiful.” I didn’t mean looks or anything. I just wanted Him to look at my heart and know who I was from the inside and just love me for who I was, and that was my prayer for the entire week that I was there. I didn't tell anyone.

There was one day where people pray over you and they just kind of speak into your life. These three people prayed over me. They turned to a verse in the Bible, and the first girl said, "You’re beautiful. He sees you. You’re beautiful, and He calls you good." When the girl said that, I just broke down. I hadn't told anyone what I was going through. I was like, Oh, my God, He hears me! That’s so true. He calls me good, He calls me beautiful, and it's not because of what I look like: it's because of who I am. And that was when I was like, man, God’s got me.

 
 

How did that change your walk with Christ resting in that new revelation?

In college, things kind of shifted. I knew that God loved me and He still called me good. So I went down this life being rebellious and just doing my own thing, not caring what other people thought about me. It was a really dark path that wasn't healthy.

I went to another leadership thing that I didn't want to go to—again—but my parents made me. Thank goodness for my parents. This time I was gone for a month and a half. They give you alone time while you’re there, to meditate and pray. During that time I read the New Testament and just read it all the way through. That was really the first time that I did that. It’s like, when do you have time to do that? But I had 40 days of doing nothing and they give you set time to be still, and encourage you to sit there and read your Bible. That was when God spoke to me. I was like, God is real and His characteristics are so distinct and perfect. And I thought, I really want to be like Him, and if you’re like Him then the way that others see you does matter. You affect so many people. Living my life for Jesus is not just about me anymore—it's for other people, too. You have to be that light to other people. That's when I became less selfish and stopped living for myself and my own selfish worldly desires. I knew it wasn’t about me anymore. It's about me being like God and like Jesus—and being an example and a light to others.

These are two of the titles I’ve adopted from Christ: He calls me good and He calls me to be a light.

 
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What is an area that you want to see the Untitled “theme” realized more in?

Being here in NY you start comparing yourself to other people; there's always somebody that can do what you do a hundred times better, that it comes easier to or who has more talent. Not comparing myself so much is something I’m working through.

When I was living in Seattle I had everything. I knew where I was going. Each area of my life was compartmentalized. I knew what I was getting myself into, everywhere I went. I kept busy, and I had an agenda for each day of what I needed to do. I had it together in my head, or so I thought. When I moved to New York, all that changed. I was suddenly in a job where I had no experience, no business background, and I'm like, "What am I doing here?" Even now, I have no idea what I'm doing. It's such an opposite side of what life was like in Seattle. For the longest time I was struggling because I was like, "Caitlin you don’t have it together, what are you doing? Other people have it together, they know where they’re going. You don’t even know why you’re here?"

You know, Ps Josh said one time, "The humble will be exalted and the exalted will be humbled." And I think that was really powerful for me, especially living in New York where everyone is so ready to take what’s theirs.

That’s exactly what happened to me when I moved here. I thought really highly of myself in Seattle, I thought I’ve got myself together, and I'm going to New York. When I got here I was super humbled. I have to remember I need to stay humble— It's not about status and titles and what you do anymore. I am learning a lot, and I still have a lot to learn. And, I'm being humbled so I can grow—humbling myself so I can be open to new ideas and open to learning from other people.