Interview: Become & Belong with Migum Gweon

BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD

2017 Women’s Retreat: “Become & Belong” from ODPCEC on Vimeo.

Who are we striving to become? And how are we seeking to belong? As we wrestle with different definitions of humility, we are going to consider what we do out of anxiety, envy and fear that tear down sisterhood. By understanding how to see ourselves through God’s eyes, we are going to take our pursuit of humility and place it in the context of community.

Becoming more like Christ requires a healthy community, and belonging to community requires more people who are striving to become like Christ.

-Migum Gweon, LMFT on ODPC’s 2017 Women’s Retreat “Become & Belong”

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1. You have an incredibly diverse background.  You’re a classical pianist by training but you’ve also worked in investment banking and served in full-time ministry.  Now you’re a licensed marriage and family therapist and core faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary.  How do we compute?

I believe I was supposed to be a therapist all along – it just took me a really long time to figure it out!  I think God in his wisdom allowed me to explore all of my different passions and skills so that I could eventually become a versatile therapist.  I also think I was goal-oriented, prideful, and stubborn, and I really needed God’s direct intervention to halt me in my tracks and guide me in a different career path.  A good example of this is how I went from piano to ministry.  I had been playing the piano since I was 3 and had my sights on Juilliard.  When I received my acceptance letter, I was elated, but strangely enough, my parents and my piano teacher seemed to have a change of heart.  So as I prayed about it, God kept putting this small liberal arts school in Ohio on all of our hearts.  I obeyed and went to Oberlin, and on the first day of being on campus, I broke my finger and was in a cast for months.  It was during this time that God challenged me about my motivation to play piano and stirred in me a deeper conviction to go into ministry.  I became devoted to my InterVarsity chapter and joined InterVarsity staff after I graduated.

Going from investment banking to therapy was much more painful.  It was through the emotional upheaval of my divorce that I questioned my identity and my purpose.  Who am I?  What do I want my life to be about?  What’s important to me?  Who do I want to become?  Through therapy, prayer, and much soul-searching, I heard God’s calling to be a therapist, an instrument of healing in people’s hearts and in their relationships.  The timing was perfect as well:  I left Lehman Brothers to start graduate school in 2008!

2. Earlier this year, ODPC hosted Dan Allender’s “To Be Told” conference, which focused on the power of story. This year, ODPC’s women’s retreat will be unlike any other since we have a speaker who’s also a licensed therapist. What can we expect from a speaker who also happens to be a counselor?

I am passionate about promoting healing in relationships. But in order to promote healing, the wound must be identified and cleansed. Hence, I do have a way of poking and prodding, so you may find yourself squirming a bit during my talks. But no worries, you’ll be with others who are likewise experiencing discomfort! And we will together pursue courage in being honest and vulnerable, which will hopefully lead to self-awareness, acceptance, and healing. I will weave together some aspects of psychology into the fabric of our faith. Our Saturday morning session will definitely feel like a group therapy session!

3. You and your son enjoy deep-sea fishing. This sounds pretty hard core. Care to share a fishing story or describe your greatest catch?

I’m not sure what I enjoy most:  the four hours of pure exhilaration as the boat goes at top speed in endless ocean waters under a perfect California sky, watching dolphins and whales go by, having fresh delicious fish to eat afterwards, or the actual activity of fishing!  It’s all wonderful!  When we were on a family trip in Alaska, my son really wanted to catch salmon (his favorite food is salmon sushi).  So we went out on a boat and caught some huge fish in the morning:  some halibut and pacific cod.  And just as we were about to chase some salmon, a huge pod of killer whales showed up and chased all the fish away.  We were all so disappointed, but it was equally amazing to see killer whales.  My son is looking forward to next year, when he’ll be old enough to do an overnight fishing trip, so that we can catch some tuna!

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Migum Gweon, LMFT will be speaking at ODPC’s women’s retreat “Become & Belong” this month on October 20-21.