Friday, February 13, 2009

Fearless Humility

Rachel's post has reminded me that it's been awhile since I've blogged as well. So here's something that's been on my mind recently.

I think it's fair to say that many people either tend to be Confident, yet prideful, or Humble, yet cowering. On the one hand, some of us are naturally more assertive, fearless, speak their mind, and are the "go-getters." But along with that usually comes arrogance, and ultimately self-destruction. Why is that? I think because even if we don't admit it, we begin to base our identity on our own achievement, our own discipline...and that identity is pretty fragile. We must defend it, so we lash out when we feel threatened. And in the end, our own achievements just don't seem to really cover up that nakedness we feel so deeply. So I've worked my butt off and have made something of myself...but why do I still feel so inconsequential?

On the other hand, some of us are gracious, humble, caring...but also very fearful. We genuinely don't like building ourselves up and like to build others up. Yet, often we find ourselves trapped by our fear. Deathly afraid of conflict, or being rejected by others, we cower when we need to take initiative and step out in confidence. Though we love to serve others, our compassion towards others also doesn't cover up our nakedness. In the end, often we realize that we are slaves to people's approval. Our self-image is also fragile, and we also protect it all costs, and thus we never take risks or step on anyone's toes.

How can I live a life that is both fearless yet compassionate? Confident yet humble? I'm far from actually seeing both of these traits really fleshed out in my life. At times, I feel like I'm always defending my own sense of accomplishment. Other times, I just feel like a compassionate coward. And I've discovered there just is no easy formula to help me out of this mess. But yesterday I was reminded again by a simple promise that God keeps repeating through Scripture. He said it to the self-starter Paul who needed some encouragement: "Do not be afraid...for I am with you." (Acts 18:9-10) The doubtful Moses when asked to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, asked God, "Who am I?" God said, "But I will be with you." (Ex. 3:11-12)

I am once again reminded to remember that the story of Bible teaches me that I am indeed inconsequential. Yet God is my Father who came into our history to bring me to life, to give me a new heart. I have nothing to fear, because no one can condemn me. Christ was condemned on my behalf! I have nothing left to prove, because Christ proved it all on the cross on my behalf. Only when I remember this am I able to move past my cowardice to take risks, and stop trying to prove myself, because I know I'm just a vapor, soon to evaporate. But I'm also a child of God, given a life to live, freed to love others because I am loved. The Father who proved his love to us on the cross says to us: Do not be afraid...for I am with you.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Things I Look Forward To

I am not a morning person. But thankfully I have been quite blessed, in both big ways and small, to where there is something I can look forward to each day. Granted, many of these things are TV-related, but hey, I am thankful for that, too.

So here's a week's rundown of what I can look forward to when I wake up each morning (not in order each day, by the way):
  • Sunday - Church. Of course. OK, I can't say I am super excited about going to church every Sunday, but it is always a good thing whether I feel like it or not. Also, if we are going at the right time, I can also look forward to listening to the weekly puzzle on NPR, featuring Puzzlemaster and New York Times puzzle editor Will Shortz.
  • Monday - Jon & Kate Plus 8. And CSI: Miami, which I have only recently gotten hooked on because I am waiting to see when Eric and Calleigh will finally get together.
  • Tuesday - American Idol.
  • Wednesday - American Idol. Meeting with my women's small group with my seminary-wife friends. If I happened to order any office supplies at work that week, these also usually arrive on Wednesdays.
  • Thursday - The Office. America's Best Dance Crew. Meeting with our community group.
  • Friday - Yay, it's Friday! The weekend is almost here. I get to go out on a dinner date with Ben. And then we can watch a murder mystery story on Dateline NBC.
  • Saturday - Yay, I can sleep late! It's (usually) a relaxing day with not much going on. Also, Saturday Night Live.
And repeat...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Skiing, Crafts, Kai-Lan...

Wow, I did not realize how long it's been since our last entry. Not a ton has gone on lately. We are trying to get through the bitterly cold weather. OK, really just me since Ben doesn't mind it as much.

On the plus side, in cold, snowy weather you can do winter sports. Being a warm weather girl, I had never done these kinds of things before. We went skiing with some friends from church a few weeks back and it was a good experience. I must say I didn't love it because I didn't do very well, but I would certainly try it again. This was Ben's second time, and he might've been a little rusty at first, but was fairly comfortable on the green slopes.

Other than that... my love of crafts has been somewhat re-kindled, thanks to my friend Heather, one of my many creative genius friends. Before Christmas Heather hosted a crafts party where she taught us to make our own earrings and also supplied materials and ideas for us to make our own greeting cards and envelopes. Inspired, I brought back from home some of my craft supplies from when I had attempted to make greeting cards during my senior year of college. Shortly after, Heather and I got together to do some card-making and she also taught me how to knit. So as time permits, I have been making cards and practicing my knitting. Who knows, maybe you will be the lucky (or not-so-lucky) recipient of one of my homemade cards, or a knitting project if I ever get that far.

Over the last few days I have been getting over a cold. Yesterday I stayed home from work and was searching for something to watch on TV. (Funny how even with cable, there are still times when you can't find something good to watch. Perhaps it's a way that God reminds us there is nothing on earth that can truly satisfy all the time.) I settled on Nickelodeon when I found "Ni Hao, Kai-Lan," a show I had heard about from my cousin Caroline, who has two little girls. It's like Dora the Explorer, but a little Chinese girl (Kai-Lan) who teaches Chinese words instead of Spanish. I learned how to say jump in Mandarin (tiao).