Get to know the inspiring woman behind the CanPlan project, Sharon Kim.
Every once in a while, the WRN staff comes across featured contributors who push the envelope and go outside the box in the task of inspiring, influencing and motivating. Sharon Kim is one of those people.
Kim’s contributions to WRN are like a light of hope amidst stories of division and tragedy, and her “Sharonisms,” Instagram doodles that present the truth of Jesus Christ in simple illustrations, are easy-to-understand guideposts for daily living. Sharon is not only an avid Instagrammer, she also founded CanPlan, a planner designed to make the lives of cancer patients better and more manageable.
In the interview that follows, we learn more about Sharon’s journey, purpose, motivations and plans.
World Religion News: I’m really fascinated with your Sharonisms, and love how they succinctly get across messages that both enlighten and inspire. What is your inspiration and motivation in creating them and what do you ultimately hope to achieve by them?
“I want people to reconnect to our source of love and life and be awakened to truth.”
Sharon Kim: Sharonism… I like that 🙂 Honestly, this whole thing started off as an experiment to see if I could challenge myself in the areas I always thought I wasn’t gifted in. That included writing, drawing, and playing any type of musical instrument. It’s kind of a backwards approach to what I’d normally recommend, but for those of you who just can’t pinpoint what you’re gifted at, I’d suggest just experimenting different outlets for your creative expression. I kind of just sat down one day and asked myself, “Where can God’s miraculousness shine through me the most?” I started with writing and realized we’re in a generation where people avoid long paragraphs like the plague. So I translated my deep thoughts into illustrations, which seemed to hit home on a visual platform like Instagram. Somehow this experiment took me WAY further than I’d imagined it would, which is what happens when your WHY isn’t to further your financial agenda, but to grow your servanthood to God. And now I guess the ultimate goal for my drawings is to portray the image of a loving father in a way that’s easy to download for this generation. I want people to reconnect to our source of love and life and be awakened to truth.
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Isn’t it funny how contradiction brings balance? In order for us to rise, we must first fall. In order for us to understand what’s good, we must also understand what’s bad. In order for us to learn, we must make mistakes. In order for the cross to have significance, we must have sin. 💕💕 God knew long before he created us that we’d be messy, imperfect, and always in process. Our sins don’t surprise him. God loved us even knowing everything we would ever do. That’s the whole purpose of the cross – To show us how passionately a perfect God pursues imperfect people. 💕💕 Yet every time I think I’m disgracing and discrediting the massive sacrifice he made to show us his love, I start feeling guilty and pulling away like Adam and Eve in shame. But 1 Samuel 12:20-22 says, “Do not be afraid. You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own.” 💕💕 Wow. I’m so shaken by God’s love. Even though I fall, he remains faithful in finishing the good work he started in me.
WRN: What is the one message that you want your audience to take with them? The core message that you wish to impart to your followers?
SK: I really hope people look at my life and can immediately see God’s glory reflected through it. I genuinely believe and want people to know that I am no one special; I’m simply just someone who screams yes to being used by God (okay if I’m being honest, most days it’s more like a hesitant stutter lol).
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I feel like if we really boiled it down and tried to simplify whether we’re walking with God or away from God, it comes down to this one question: Are we responding with love or are we reacting in fear? Because when I think back to all the times I’ve reacted in fear, I’d say it’s had the opposite effect of drawing me closer to God. I’ll run, hide, and deny my own personal growth for the sake of safety. I’ll cower into a corner and come up with every excuse to justify my behavior so that I can continue living in my illusion of comfort. When the shame from my sin injects my heart with fear, I’ll distance myself from a loving God who’s only desire is to draw me near. 💕💕 But 1 John 4:16 says, “God is Love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” And in verse 18 it goes on to say, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” 💕💕 And that delights my soul in ways I can’t even verbally explain. This verse validates the neurological claim that love does something to our brains and inhibits our amygdala (threat-response system) in “mysterious” ways. It also beautifully reminds us that if love is God sacrificing his son for our sin, we are to find the soul that is worth dying for in every human being (even within ourselves). Only love can allow us to see past the sinner and into the soul. So when the Holy Spirit gives us those brief moments of clarity where we get to choose which direction to walk in, we must remember to ask ourselves, “Am I responding with love or am I reacting in fear?” And for those of us who’ve messed up so many times it’s unfathomable how God still sees us as lovable, let’s show people how our loving teacher guides us with grace rather than our deserved punishment, and live our lives in genuine gratitude for the generous giver of grace.
So in that sense, I know in my heart that ANYONE can be used if they’re willing to take the road less traveled and remain hungry for truth. All they need to do in order to access the divine outpouring, is to position themselves inside of love, and practice holding the posture of love against all the lies and fears that try to prevent them from entering God’s perfect presence. And I’m not going to lie and say it’s easy. But it’s more about willingness than it is about giftedness.
WRN: How would you describe your personal relationship with God? What is religion’s role in your life?
SK: I prefer to use the word relationship over religion because I view God as more than just a commander who tells me what to do. He actively invites me into conversations, guiding me with love rather than governing me with laws. And I think the word religion has been tainted with this false image of a dictator, when really, God is like a loving dad.
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Sometimes I’ll get these random reminders of an experiential truth deep within my soul; That if God can use an ordinary, unimpressive sinner like me, he can use anybody. His love is never contingent on my goodness; It’s contingent on his goodness and he’s ALWAYS good. But for the days I forget that success is never the end goal, I hope this drawing will pull me back into the beauty and boundlessness of grace.
But really, I feel like he’s more than just a dad to me; He’s like a lifeline I need to be deeply connected to at all times. While the rest of the world is trying to connect to free WiFi, I’m trying to connect to my source of love and peace. I know when my signal is bad because I’ll start to give fear a vote in my decisions. But when that connection is clear, love flows out of me in a contagious way. So I’m constantly communicating with God throughout the day, asking him to clear the clutter that’s blocking our signal so that our conversations can be full of clarity.
“Once it started gaining attention, I began watering the seed with my sweat because I knew I was onto something.”
WRN: You started CanPlan as a result of your mom’s battle with cancer. Can you tell us more about this journey, and where it has brought you today?
SK: Watching my mom battle cancer was probably one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever been through, and often times I think seeds of opportunity are planted in the soils of pain. The seed for CanPlan was planted when I began tracking my mom’s cancer on a daily basis in order to find any helpful trends that might help us regain a sense of control. It took me about a year after my mom passed away to finally start watering the seed. I guess I first started watering it with my tears since CanPlan began as an outlet to help me grieve. And once it started gaining attention, I began watering the seed with my sweat because I knew I was onto something.
CanPlan is still a baby crop that needs constant nurturing in order for it to grow into the firm oak tree it was designed to be. I’ve received glimpses of its future potential and know that the price to get there is perseverance. But God planted that seed and I strongly believe I’ve been called to nurture its growth.
WRN: What are your future plans for CanPlan? What are some future goals that you have for your project?
SK: I’m currently working with a pharmaceutical company to get CanPlan into the hands of patients for free. Once we can gain the capital and the traction, I hope to extend the benefits of CanPlan beyond the war grounds of cancer. I believe it has the potential to help anyone navigate a difficult season in their life and provide them with a roadmap for both recovery and discovery. So the goal is to make CanPlan the number one health planner for any type of disease, illness (mental or physical), or life crisis.
WRN: Would you say that CanPlan has brought you closer to God? What has it meant for your personal relationship with Him?
SK: I think living out our calling is our best form of servanthood to God. It gives us purpose, and it gives him power to move in our lives. So I definitely think my devotion to CanPlan has brought me closer to God in every way possible. He’s revealed his faithfulness to me every time I stepped out of my comfort zone in trust. And I’ve learned that we must be faithful in order for God to reveal his faithfulness to us. No miracle or act of faith can be done in the comfort zone. So CanPlan is really an opportunity for me to live outside of this box society has tried to put me in. And it’s a choice I must make each day to live outside of the obvious, in order to obediently follow my calling towards the unseen.