Tag Archives: Blueberry

Weekly Favorite Links (July 9-15, 2015)

Trinity College Library, Dublin, Ireland

(Photo Via)

So… here’s a belated update: I am on week three at the new job. Everything just happened so quickly and there’s been a ton of changes to adapt to. But y’all already know how I feel about change. For the past several weeks, I’ve been in training for tasks and duties that I have responsibilities for. In addition, since someone on my team will be going on leave soon, I have extra things that I’ll need to handle in their absence. Otherwise, I have enjoyed getting to know my coworkers and other people in neighboring departments.

Funemployment seems like so long ago, when in reality, it was only three weeks ago. THREE. I also started an online course around the same time, which has only added to the busyness. Does it sound a little overwhelming? It kind of is. I think the biggest change for me during this time of transition has been the loss of free time. (And sunshine. SUNSHINE, I MISS YOU.)

When I was unemployed, I had almost all the free time in the world. It’s not that I didn’t have anything to do — I still had a schedule that I followed — but the difference was that I could practically do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. And it was really nice, not to mention super comfortable. But now, I’m quite limited in what I can do outside of work. My leisure time is limited to the couple hours I have before work and the handful of hours I have after work, before the hectic cycle repeats itself all over again. While I had expected this and had tried to prepare myself for it ahead of time, it’s nonetheless still overwhelming–physically, mentally, and emotionally.

If anything, I think resuming employment brought out certain idols in my life. I realized that I’m quite selfish with my time and I’m more of a creature of comfort than I thought I was. When a working day is complete, I can’t wait to go back home and just lock myself up in my room and catch up on a day’s worth of social media. When I clock out of the office, I wrestle with making time for others that are harder for me to love. I go back and forth on deciding whether to spend quality time with family over hanging out with friends because I’d much rather be surrounded by the latter. I grumble in my heart when I have to put aside my wants and desires, my so-called “me” time.

There are days when I feel depleted of energy, completely fatigued, and yet I know that I need to lay aside my own selfishness, pride, and love of self in order to be faithful. Sometimes it doesn’t seem “fair.” But employed or not employed, God is always teaching me how to follow him in the mundane. Every day, I have choices I need to make. Do I choose to live for myself or do I choose to surrender and let God reign in my life? Do I choose joy or despair? Dependence in God or control over my own circumstances? Anxiety or confidence in God’s sovereignty?

Sacrificial love is hard. Obedience is hard. Persevering is hard. However, if there’s anything that quickly shakes me out of my own pity party, it’s dwelling on the fact that Christ went above and beyond to demonstrate sacrificial love to me. Christ humbled himself and was obedient, even to the point of death on a cross. So in the mornings, when I struggle to wake up and have a cheerful attitude, or when I’m fighting feelings of being overwhelmed, I pray that God would humble and change my heart. I pray that I would repeat Philippians 2 to myself and that I’d cast away any self-centeredness, looking towards Christ as the ultimate example of how to serve and love others, and to have joy in the face of trials.

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Weekly Favorite Links (June 5-10, 2015)

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Some friends and I recently went to The California Science Center to see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition. I mentioned in this post a couple months ago that I was excited to see it (and sadly, no, I did not watch Jerusalem 3D narrated by my favorite Cumberbatch). While I looked forward to behold the Dead Sea Scrolls in person, I also wondered what else would be on exhibit.

I think one of the most memorable artifacts that stood out to me, perhaps more than the manuscripts themselves, were the household fertility gods that I saw. They were small figurines, probably made out of clay and were no bigger than the size of my hand. These little man-made idols made a lasting impression because it’s relevant to what I’ve been reading in the Bible. For the past month, I’ve been studying the book of Hosea with some friends. We’ve been reading about how Israel has been unfaithful to God, and how they turned to other idols for help. Their hearts did not love God, and they engaged in practices that were in outright rebellion against him.

My favorite verse so far comes from Hosea 6:6: “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” I believe that this is the central theme of the entire book. God desires his people to worship and love him only. Even when God charges Israel and Judah with a list of grievances, prophesies judgment against them, you still read about how God wants to redeem them from their adulterous ways. It was easy for me to laugh at how ridiculous those small clay idols were at the exhibit. How could the Israelites place their hope in fertility gods and follow other deities worshiped by neighboring nations when they’ve seen of the marvelous handiwork of God himself? How could they forget about how God rescued them from Egypt and how he brought the seemingly impossible walls of Jericho to come tumbling down? It seemed absolutely ludicrous.

But then I look at my own life. I may not have physical idols scattered in my home, but I have idols hidden in my heart that I worship apart from God. I worship things that are just as ridiculous and silly as those fertility gods that I saw. The only difference is that the idols we may worship today may be more ambiguous and subtle. We may not bow down and pray to those things, but those idols emerge in our conversations and are evident from how we spend our money to how we utilize our time.

I’m thankful that I left the exhibition with more than a glimpse of historical artifacts. While the Dead Sea Scrolls were cool and I’d go see them again, I went away humbled at the daily grace that I’ve been given and a reminder of just how undeserved I am of God’s patience and love when I’m constantly so disobedient. Amazing grace, indeed.

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Weekly Favorite Links (April 17-22, 2015)

bedouin campfire

(Photo Via)

On my way back during an early evening run, I was surprised to see dark orange-pink clouds rising from what seemed like the back of my neighborhood. It only took me a few seconds to realize that it wasn’t clouds that I saw, but actually smoke, and that there was a fire burning from beyond my point of view. At the time, I didn’t know where the fire originated, but it seemed really close to my home.

Thankfully the fire was farther away than my observations, and my family and I were safe. We weren’t close enough to the fire for any necessary evacuation (praise God), but our entire house did smell like a barbecue pit for two days afterwards.

In unexpected, unforeseeable situations like these, how would you respond? What if the fire was really close? Would you try to run back into your house and save your most prized possessions? Would you run back to warn your loved ones?  It’s hard to say how I’d respond. I’d probably only have seconds to make some important decisions in that situation.

There were still some lessons to be learned. That fire was a good reminder for me that this life is short. In seconds, everything that our family worked for up to that point could have gone up in flames; our house could have turned into ashes. The reality is, something like being caught in a fire or an earthquake or a shooting could happen to me at anytime, anywhere. It’s totally out of my control.

On the other hand, I do have greater control over my responses. Yes, in that scenario, I would’ve probably had an immediate, natural human reaction. If we did have to evacuate from our home and if the fire did end up burning everything that we had, I would be upset. But I pray that if something like that did happen to me, I would still have joy and peace. I pray that I would still have faith in God’s sovereignty and choose to dwell on his grace. What are houses and other material possessions in this life when we have something better and eternal in store for us?

I hope that I’d respond with joy because of a greater truth that I believe in, which is this: my salvation can’t be taken away from me and my citizenship is in heaven. This life is temporary, this life isn’t my home. I’m a foreigner here on this earth until the day that I’m reunited with Christ. How comforting is that truth. If I’m ever tested one day, I pray that I wouldn’t just know it but believe it with all my heart.

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Weekly Favorite Links (April 9-16, 2015)

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Sorry this weekly favorites post was late, guys! I’ll make it up to you soon. It’ll be a surprise. 🙂

Something I’ve realized, after taking my half-marathon training a bit more seriously this week, is that I hate to exercise alone. I much prefer exercising with at least one more person. It can be a bit humbling, but I need accountability. I lack discipline when it’s just me, myself, and I. I can easily talk myself out of running that extra mile or doing a few more reps. I’d much prefer being a bed potato and choosing to nap instead of venturing outside. It’s so much more painful and difficult (and lonely, too) when there’s zero accountability. I mean, it’s not that I couldn’t exercise alone, but it’s just so much better to do it with others.

I have more motivation and energy when I’m working out with someone. When I’m with others, I know I need to suck it up. Don’t complain; endure the soreness and keep going. When one person is on the verge of giving up, the other can support and encourage them to continue. And when the workout’s over, we can cheer and do little happy dances, or crash onto the floor. Together.

The Christian life is also just like training for a half-marathon, except the prize and stakes are higher. And others running it can definitely tell you that accountability with others is a necessity, not an option. We need to make it across that finish line, because we’re promised to receive the crown of life from our Lord and Savior. We must learn to be patient with the sanctification process along the way in order to be reunited with Christ. It’s not meant to be a sprint, but a test of endurance and faith. It’s an arduous race, but when we reach the end, it will be a sweet, glorious reunion. Persevere, persevere, persevere.

Like the saying goes: no pain, no gain.

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