Identity

This morning, I read a blog post written by an undergrad who’d been accused of plagiarism by her professor. She wrote on the obstacles she faces as a first-generation college student and U.S. citizen, and how superiors in her field of academia don’t expect her to be capable of achieving above and beyond the many accomplishments she’d already worked incredibly hard for. They assume she isn’t smart enough to grasp complex ideas, or to write scholarly and engagingly enough for her class assignments. This is, of course, a systemic problem with deep roots. But what struck me the most about her post was the fact that she felt “invalidated.”

How many of us have ever doubted “ourselves, our abilities, and our aspirations” based on other people’s opinions, as she did? I would guess that the number would include all of us. It is so ridiculously easy to let other voices infiltrate our emotions and influence our thought processes. We hear opinions from all sides, all the time: from friends, co-workers, employers, family, peers, society, media, and perhaps from what could be worst of all – ourselves. We allow the resulting doubt to fester in our minds until it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We wonder, Wait… can I really do that? Am I really that capable? Do I really have that talent? Is this really what I’m supposed to do? Continue reading

Love v. Knowledge

“Beware you be not swallowed up in books! An ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge.”

I read this quote by John Wesley a few days ago, and admittedly, the first thing I thought was: Hm, so in that case, love is 16 times the worth of knowledge. (I chuckled to myself then… I have no shame in my love for science-y jokes). But aside from its technicalities, it struck me deeper than that as I thought a bit more on showing love versus showing knowledge. It’s interesting to me how Wesley equates a ton of knowledge with being “swallowed up” — is he saying that growing in knowledge suffocates us? Now, clearly he’s not speaking on necessary academic knowledge or common sense needed to succeed at daily ambitions. I really get the sense that he means the type of knowledge that leads to unsavory pride.

Have you ever met a person who has to be right above everything? No matter what, the person will not accept that sometimes, the most important thing is to lovingly listen, rather than to be right. For a lot of situations in life, people will not be swayed by knowledge. It’s love that really turns the tide. In Proverbs 13:10, it says, “Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.” Okay, let’s be honest here. It is incredibly difficult to take advice – the unsolicited kind. But friends, I have to say that even my stubbornness quickly fades when I’m offered advice that comes from a place of love, rather than a place of prideful knowledge. It’s here where I realize that this quote works both ways: if I try to relate with someone on a know-it-all level, like Proverbs says, it’ll cause strife. And in the same way, if I retort with an I’ve-got-all-the-necessary-knowledge-I-need-to-know-on-this-topic kind of attitude (with a side of some rolled eyes, for effect) to family or friends who’ve been building me up in love, it’d be safe to say that those conversations may not end on the best note. I think of times when I’ve felt that I had to be right in certain situations, and truthfully, is IS a feeling of being swallowed up! It’s so easy to get sucked into a vicious cycle of proving that you’re right no matter what the other person responds with. These are the times when “an ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge.”

When just a little bit of gracious love will calm quarrels.

When just a smidgen of love will help engage family and friends in meaningful conversations rather than push them away.

When just a helping of love will expose sincerity and tear down barriers dividing two sides.

Love versus knowledge. Which is greater? Which is better?

And yet I will show you the most excellent way. (1 Corinthians 12:31b)

Come To Me

Goodness, time flies – it’s already the last day of February, and a week since I turned 23 (I got to celebrate with my friends for most of the week, which was quite spectacular!). As a small end-of-February celebration, I thought that I’d share some music that I’ve been listening to as my bread and butter for the past month, a song that I’m sure will encourage and refresh anyone who hears, as much as it did me. I don’t remember how I came across it (probably on Pandora – that app seriously gets it right sometimes), but it was close to the end of January, and I remember stopping whatever I was doing to listen to the words of this song. The words gripped me, not only because of their simplicity, but because of the power and absolute truth behind them. They’re written as if straight from God’s heart to ours, and it’s just overwhelmingly beautiful to me. Continue reading

Rest Time

“Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength… It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.” – Charles Spurgeon

I read this quote about a week or so ago during my morning quiet time, and the concept of doing more by doing less struck me greatly. But like many things, I thought to myself, Huh, that’s an interesting paradox, and that was that.

However, I’ve been slightly under the weather this past week; being holed up under my blanket on my couch keeping warm (I guess I should turn my heater higher!) forced me to take a break from my normal, which reminded me of this quote and its importance. We tend to equate busyness with meaningful purpose. I know for a serial list-maker like me, this is especially true: sitting down at the end of the day, checking off all the tasks I’ve managed to accomplish feels great! But it can also be a trap. It’s so easy to chalk up one’s purposefulness to the number of errands completed. The truth of the matter is that completing tasks do not necessarily equal a meaningful life. Sometimes, life requires periods of rest (however forced this rest is… read: sickness) that allow us to gear up to be more productive down the line. In taking time out for rest and rejuvenation, we’re actually taking time to do more, by sometimes doing less.