Reflection on Second Chances by Chuck Gallagher

Published: 2021-09-29 23:30:08
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In Second Chances, Chuck Gallagher details his life experiences and the choices that both positively and negatively affected him and the people around him. A point that Gallagher gives that truly stirred my heart is, “Sometimes looking in the mirror forces us to look past the illusions we’ve created to the reality hidden beneath our well-crafted surface. Maybe just then we can grasp the reality of how to begin to loosen those chains that bind us to the prisons we’ve created and come to enjoy the blessings of true freedom.”
Gallagher describes how while growing up and leading what seemed to be a good life, he created the illusion that he was successful. The illusions that he built around himself crumbled down when he was forced to tell the truth to his colleagues, his wife, and his community that he was a thief and a liar – forcing Gallagher into a time of change and redemption as he worked toward an honest life. Gallagher’s point has a very personal meaning to me. I can relate to Gallagher in that I also built illusions around myself, deceiving my conscious that I was happy and successful as a brother, student, and friend. Like Gallagher, when I realized that my life was getting out of control and that I was experiencing stuff that I did not want to experience, that was when I saw the illusions that I have built around myself; the lies that I told myself to keep me happy with who I was. The reason why this point is so significant and impactful to me is because it relates to my Spiritual life and walk with Jesus. Being born in a Christian family and raised in the Church, I have always been taught to be a good Christian boy. Ironically, I would never have known that I would shape my entire life to outwardly look like a good and faithful Christian, but an evil person on the inside. I built this mentality that if I was a good person, I would be praised and recognized for being what we call a “good Christian.” Not only was I enslaved to my two-faced character, I was also chained by the Asian culture.
Many people joke around and laugh about how all Asian parents force their children to do well in academics, even I myself joke around about this stereotype. However, it is very true that many Asian parents do pressure or at least encourage their children to do well in school. In the Asian culture, a family or a parent’s reputation was based on how well-off their children are. Because the Asian culture is so family centered, a family’s reputation is more important than anything else, and it was important that the children do not embarrass their parents, resulting in this pressure for Asian children to do well in academics or life. Growing up in an Asian family, I was molded to do well in school. My parents will often tell me their personal story of their struggles in life, mostly because of their lack of education. Because of their lack of education, they were used by their own friends and relatives – through labor and money, they were cheated by the Hmong culture in that they were forced to respect and obey what the elders tell them to do. Often times my mother would talk with me about how much my dad and she suffered while they were young, and how much they suffered while they were raising me and my siblings while being suppressed by the Hmong culture. Through this, my life was molded around academics. Even though my parents did not force me to do well in school, it was I who forced myself to do well in school. I built this illusion around myself that my future depended on doing well in school. However, it was through my Spiritual walk with Jesus, did I realize that my life was built upon lies.
My Spiritual walk with Jesus can be described as a roller coaster. When I was in my early teenage years, it felt as if my walk with God was doing well – I felt a passion to serve God, I loved going to Church, and I loved worshipping. However, all those were just illusions that I built around myself. It was not because my walk with God was good, but it was because my relationship with my youth was good. I did not go to Church to worship God, I went to church to hang out with my friends. I did not go to Church because I yearned for God, I went to church because I loved fitting in. It was not until my Youth Pastor left the church did I realize, my relationship with Jesus was not genuine at all – all of it was a lie. I did not build a relationship with God, I built a relationship with my friends. I valued my friends more than I did Jesus, I fell into the trap that Satan placed before me – to find pleasure in earthly things rather than in Jesus. Furthermore, a church split tore me apart. Being separated from people whom I grew up with was heart wrenching and joining a new church with people whom I did not know was and still is to this very day the most challenging struggle that I face. Through all the struggles, I realized that the troubles that I faced and am still facing today cannot be overcome by myself, but only if I let it all go to Jesus and let Him take the wheel. Just recently, I have realized that the illusions that I built around myself, the lies that I told myself, all of that was allowed by God to challenge me to bring change in my life. When I recognized that my life was not built around those illusions, that my worth is not determined by others, but my worth is in Jesus Christ, that was when I felt I was released from the chains of sin because God’s grace is sufficient for me. My identity is in Jesus Christ.

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