Tag Archives: Lemons

Weekly Favorite Links (May 28-June 4, 2015)

Sorry for the hiccup and that this post is so late. This week’s weekly favorites will resume back on Wednesday!

Strangely, it has been quite an exhausting week, considering that I even cut back on the half-marathon training due to some of my scheduled plans. I went to visit old friends at my alma mater last week. This visit was much more memorable and worthwhile than I originally anticipated, despite also getting my car towed and having to spend a fortune getting it back (ask me in person or in the comments below). I really didn’t visit all year, but I wanted to catch up with those that were preparing to graduate soon and to see some of my underclassmen-turned-upperclassmen friends. I wanted to support and encourage these friends of mine as they prepared for the next chapter of their lives.

It was weird being back as an alumnus because once I stepped on campus, it still felt oddly familiar — almost a bit like home. I attended my old college Christian fellowship, and was surprised that I couldn’t recognize a lot of people. More than half of the room was filled with strangers and new faces. But it didn’t really matter when the lights turned off and the musical worship began. We sang some of my favorite hymns, but there was a particular sense of brokenness as we all loudly sang “Be Thou My Vision” and when we cried out, Oh God, be my everything, be my delight. Be Jesus my glory, my soul’s satisfied.

I think my soul was weary and hungry to be refreshed and renewed. Perhaps I’ve been too caught up with doing things and serving others on my own strength. I gave myself pressure to strive for more and to be better at being in control. In my stubbornness, I wanted to endure without God’s Word, to just motivate myself somehow to keep pressing on. I was also trying to gain comfort from other people because they’re tangible and immediately there, instead of turning to the ultimate source of rest: God Himself. Letting go of myself was hard and it was even harder to admit that enduring without God is impossible. As I sang with my arms in surrender, it was humbling to lay down my burdens before God, to confess that in the midst of trying to figure things out on my own, I was feeling increasingly lost and directionless.

This life is confusing. It is tiring and full of distractions that tries to hinder our worship to the only One that is worthy. We are constantly told what we ought to be, bombarded with messages of what we are missing out on, and things that we should pursue. In a way, the world wants us to be our own god. But it is not my goal in life to be a creature living in luxurious comfort, to fill my belly with all that this world has to offer. More and more, I want to find true rest and comfort in Jesus, to have my eyes focused only on eternity.

Oh God, be my everything, be my delight. Be Jesus my glory, my soul’s satisfied.

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Weekly Favorite Links (May 21-27, 2015)

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Starting from the beginning of this year, I have been in the midst of preparing for a big event for my church. The event itself would span three consecutive Sundays, probably not even constituting 24 hours in total, yet hundreds of helping hands and countless hours of email correspondences late into the night over the past several months have gone into preparation for it. Perhaps what makes this particular event “the biggest event of the year” is that it unites our entire church of all three language-speaking congregations in almost every age group.

At first, when people asked me whether I was stressed over planning and bearing such an enormous responsibility, I would respond that I wasn’t stressed about piecing all the pieces together. And I would say that my answer remains true, even with the last and biggest event being T-minus four days. Rather, my biggest concern at the time, which is still relevant now, is that my character would be right — that I would love God so much in order to love all the people that I would have the responsibility of managing.

I believe that loving others is the biggest burden for me, the one that carries the most weight. It ought to be for all Christians. Despite all the administrative duties that go into an event preparation, it is caring for my team members that holds a paramount significance. It is also the biggest blessing and gift from God that I have these opportunities in the first place to get to know people that I do not normally come into contact with because we have differences in our culture and age.

I could easily delegate assignments, coordinate meetings, follow up with all tasks assigned but what would be the point if I didn’t love the people? Those that are on my team aren’t simply chess pieces that I can maneuver into the right places so that we could get things done efficiently. Organization is important, but so are relationships. They are my brothers and sisters in Christ. How could they follow my directions and my leadership if they didn’t get to know me, my heart, and if I didn’t demonstrate Christ-like love to them? Likewise, how could I possibly manage a team if I didn’t actively invest and listen to them, to know their strengths and talents? This is all to say that my authority is limited and when it comes to leading, I cannot rely on my own strength. The work that my team and I are doing is not for our own glory, but God’s. Even when we are planning logistics, love for one another must be present because it must come out of an overflow of our love for God.

I can’t say that I know everything that it takes to be a good leader. Even after gaining so much experience for this particular setting, I think I’m still at level one. But if there’s one ingredient that is essential and absolutely necessary for good leadership, it is love — love for God and a love for others.

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Weekly Favorite Links (April 30-May 6, 2015)

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In case you haven’t noticed, it’s been a little bit quiet around here besides these weekly favorite links posts. Something that I haven’t yet mentioned on here is that I’ve been in a career transition for almost a month now (omgoodness time fliiiieeess). In other words, I’ve been funemployed. The crazy thing is that my life’s only gotten busier. How is that even possible? I don’t even know. It just turned out that way.

A lot of people in my life have been kindly checking in on me and one of the first questions they ask is to see how funemployment is turning out. To be honest, I never quite know how to answer them because I assume that they’re expecting me to reply with a “it’s been really chill and boring,” or “it’s okay, just job hunting,” or some other answer that they’ve already pre-conceived in their minds. Instead, when I tell them that it’s been pretty productive, I’m assuming that a lot of them only half-believe me and I always feel there’s a need to explain myself. So then I go and try to accurately paint a picture of what my schedule looked like during the week. (Don’t even get me started on weekends.)

It’s interesting that I feel the need to justify myself in other people’s eyes, or that I even care about what they think of me. It’s humbling to admit that I want to sound really productive, not just because it’s true, but because I want to gain recognition in their eyes. I know all of them genuinely mean well, but I also struggle with pride and don’t want them to think anything less of me because I’m not working right now at a 9-5 — thoughts that I’m lazy, unproductive, just wasting time, etc. In reality, perhaps none of them think any differently of me during this life stage, and it’s just all in my head, but I’m scared that they will.

There’s a strong temptation for me to get trapped with thoughts that are based off of my own interpretations and assumptions. It’s a silly, dangerous game that I play every day. In my heart of hearts, I want to be liked and affirmed by others. I seek their approval and worry whether I’ll fall short of their expectations for me. Believe me, I know it sounds really silly, but this battle is real. I have to remind myself that my worth is not found in my job title, or the numbers in my bank account, nor is it found in my ministries or relationships. It is also not found in being busy and productive. Instead of worrying about how others perceive me, I need to focus on how God views me and how I can use my time here on this earth more wisely to glorify him. My circumstances should not and will not define my character. The truth is, my worth is not found in my accomplishments or appearances, but on Christ’s accomplishments for me on that rugged cross so that I could have the freedom to worship God. Therefore, the only one I ever need to please, the only one that I should fear more, is him.

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Weekly Favorite Links (March 19-25, 2015)

I miss fall.

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I recently took an assessment test for work. Ever since I discovered the Myers-Briggs test several years ago, I’ve been intrigued with taking personality assessments and learning more about myself. It’s interesting that there’s still so much to unravel about my personality as I get older, including all my strengths and weaknesses. It surprises me that there are parts about myself that remain a mystery, and will only be revealed over time. After all, we’re constantly maturing and changing, too.

Before taking the test, there were certain traits that I sort of knew I had, but it wasn’t until after the report came out that there was greater awareness and clarity in terms of pinpointing exactly what some of those traits were. One of the newfound realizations from that assessment, though, was that I’m very adaptable in social situations and am always eager to assist others. This could be an asset and a weakness. It’s a strength in situations where it involves caring and serving people, and making sure that all their needs are taken care of. I have a pretty assertive and proactive nature; I’m unafraid of taking initiatives in any environment. On the flip side, it can be a potential weakness when it comes to conflicts and confrontations, depending on the circumstances.

I tend to anticipate possible issues and will want to do my best to deter them. In situations where conflicts do arise, my first instinct tells me to run and avoid all possible conflicts, even if I know in my head that it’d be better for me to take care of things as soon as possible. Or I’ll withhold speaking my mind and sharing my personal thoughts in order to avoid conflicts, thereby preventing any sort of negative impact on others. I guess another way of looking at it, perhaps from a more scriptural standpoint, is that I fear man and want to please man. I am afraid of ruffling feathers, afraid of failing to meet the expectations of people — even random strangers. My pride gets the best of me and I seek to preserve my image. I will adapt to cater to people because I want them to affirm and praise me, and I get anxious when it’s a challenge to do so.

Taking this assessment was a blessing because it helped me recognize areas that I needed further growth in. Thankfully, the realizations also came at the perfect time, since I was being thrust into situations where I just. couldn’t. please. everyone. But through this learning experience, I’ve come to appreciate the help of wiser, older family and friends on how to confront and deal with conflicts, even if it’s hard. Now that it’s all passed, I can look back and praise God for how blessed I am for having gone through that entire difficult, complicated ordeal. God is so good. Why do I ever doubt that truth in the first place?

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