Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Think Outside The Boxes

Haven't you heard so many people saying, "Think outside the box!", that sometimes it just means to be creative? I was trying to break down this concept of thinking outside the box and whether there is a box in the first place, and realize that maybe it is about thinking outside the boxes. There are multiple layers of boxes that one has to peel.

1st box: this is the project, or whatever that you are working on. The scope has been set, the issue has been defined, and the boundaries of solutions have been determined by past data and experiences. If you stay here, you're pretty much doomed, and your employer will find other people to work with.

2nd box: this is the social norm. No matter how great your idea is, if the society cannot appreciate or accept it, your solution will not be realized. So your solutions are usually contained in this box, outside the project boundaries, but within what is acceptable. This may be unfortunate, for many times, the society will soon accept that out-of-the-2nd-box idea, but maybe just not during your time, for your idea is still very new.

3rd box: mental capacity. Even if the society accepts your crazy idea somehow, you have to go beyond the other big box. This is your own mental capacity, the educated mind that has been fed with a lot of information, training, and skill sets learned. So even if your out-of-norm idea has been accepted, it still is within the realm of our own capabilities. I believe that only when God shows you what is to be, something that is out of the reasonable realm, that you have gone beyond this box. God is the mind opener here.

So as Christians, we have to think outside of all these boxes and go to God, for the solution that He has in mind is far greater that what we are capable of thinking. He will also connect the dots, that we will be able to look back and say, "Ah, that was God". And that, will be the most amazing thing ever.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mighty Women

I was talking to a good friend one day when I came to a realization that I really am who I am because of the people I have met and grown up with.

In Michigan, I was constantly surrounded by mighty people: men and women who are in love with the Lord. These are the people who have shown me their struggles in their walk with God, and their faith, sincerity, humility, and sacrificial heart. There are also people in the community who are showing so much love even when they do not know the Lord. I was never aware of all these things until I looked back.

The women in the community was amazing. These are women whom I want to grow old with, supporting and encouraging one another through hardships and celebrating each other's goodness through joyous events. I shall give a couple of examples (their names have been abbreviated, but if you are familiar with the community, you will know who I am talking about).

MP: She is a woman with such a strong character. Her willingness to learn is like no other. I have been blessed in her care, learning to be more aware of my gender and my behaviors. Her inner strength is to be admired and learned. Her life has been a reminder to me when decisions have to be made in my life. Giving guidance and advice to others come second nature to her as her big-sister side takes over.

DK: She is a self-sacrificial woman, perhaps one of the most self-sacrificial women I have ever known. I remember that every birthdays, she will bake a cake from scratch, with a lot of gladness in her soul to give something that she prepares herself because it is more meaningful that way, and never asking anything in return. Giving her time and effort to others come second nature to her as her motherly side takes over.

LS: She is the most considerate woman in my life. I have always been impressed at the way she will give way for others to enjoy before she takes her portion and serving others while she places herself last. The most amazing part is that she is not even a Christian, and it always makes me wonder what amazing godly things she will do if she is one!

EC: She is the most non-judgmental woman whom I have ever known. She has taught me that there are always two sides of a story, and it is always important to give the benefit of the doubt and give people the chance to defend themselves. Never fearful to correct a wrong, she stands by her values with a strong stance. She was not a Christian then, but now that she has become one, I have seen great things that she has done for the Lord.

These are only four examples of the closest people I am with, whom I shared my struggles and pain with, and still there are many other women in the Michigan community that I have failed to mention here. It is no wonder that I have grown so much during my time in Michigan.

I give thanks to God for placing me amongst these mighty women. They make me strive harder to be a better woman for God's works, and to be a woman after God's own heart.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Re-Cleaning

I was cleaning my apartment today when I asked myself, didn't I just clean my place a few weeks ago?

I realized that cleaning up is a process. Things that have been cleaned don't stay clean. It has to be re-cleaned over and over, such is the nature of this world: everything is ephemeral.

Similarly, things in our lives need to be re-cleaned. They need to be reflected upon and reevaluated. Good actions can become habits that no longer encompass the original passion; good motivations can become bitterness when they don't reach the result desired; good behaviors can become standards for judging others; good faith can become pride.

So let's re-clean our lives everyday, reevaluate our thoughts, reflect on our motivations, and be aware of each aspect of ourselves. Watch ourselves every moment, or like what my old Professor used to say, "What awareness? Just pay attention!"

I Love to Run

I used to love to run
I would run, a lot
On the red track in my school
I would run as far as my legs could carry me
I would run...
And run
Until my legs gave way
And it felt good
Until I reached the end
And then there's nothing
Always nothing
Except the good feeling of running until my legs gave way
Cos' at the finish line
There's nothing as magical compared to when I was running
There's the wind that gave way
As I ran head on towards the start
And then there's the sound of my heartbeat
So loud
Thumping in my ears
Only for myself to hear and listen
And then there's this feeling
If I ran faster, and longer
Maybe, maybe I'll feel something else
Maybe it can change something
Maybe there will be something different
Maybe I will meet something new
So I ran
I ran, and I ran
Until my legs gave way
Until I reached the end
Until... There was nothing
At the end

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Giving Up

While driving to school today, and praying to God after what seems like a long time since I prayed about this issue, perhaps my attempt to escape from addressing this with God, I felt a nudge to bring it up, to open up this can of worms. And I found no worms when I opened the lid, but enlightenment and relief.

I realize that the more I want something, the more I should give it up to God. It is exactly because I want something so much, that I should give it up all the more to God, because He can handle it in the best way possible. I realize that in my whole life, things that I really wanted, had been given graciously by God after days and nights of prayers, and the process of letting go.

After I thoroughly let go, then I received. I received perhaps not what I initially wanted, but then it became something I truly wanted. Or more like, sometimes I received what I really wanted at that time, and realized that maybe that wasn't what I wanted, but it was something I ended up needing. For example, my Ross Business School application. I wanted to enter to badly, but when I entered, I thought I made a huge mistake. Later on, I realized that this was something I needed badly. Or even my UMich application. I wanted to enter USC so much more, but ended up receiving something better than USC by entering UMich, and then getting a graduate degree in USC instead. I could only look back and say, "That's God!"

So I should give up to God this rock in my heart that is becoming a burden a little too heavy for me to bear. He knows my desires, and He shall grant me whatever is best. Theoretically sounds really easy, but I needed a reminder of all the wishes He has granted me in the past to make me surrender once again.

But this is different from being idle. Plans are necessary to get the thing that you desire. What I mean by giving up, is the fact that if what you wanted is not realized, you are okay with it, with a full understanding and a trusting faith that God knows what He is doing, and what He is doing will always result in the best outcome possible.

So I pray that you too, will be able to give it up to God the thing you desire the most, exactly because you want it so badly.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Capacity

Every night I pray that God will give me wisdom, humility, meekness, and a heart filled with gratitude.

I am not wise because many times I do and say the right things at the wrong time and the wrong things at the right time. I am not humble because I am often overly confident of my abilities to get things dong in a perfect manner. I am not meek because I have my own strong opinions on many things and I stand on the side of justice, so I often fight for these principles. I am not grateful because I always forget what I have and complain about the things I do not or cannot have.

I am wise because many people come and consult me for advice, and I can help connect the dots and help them find the answer they are looking for with non-judgmental eyes (or at least I suppress these judgments while my brain is at work). I am humble because I seek help when I cannot contain my workload and admit my weaknesses when I hate to. I am meek because I listen and obey my family's requests, following faithfully the duties and expectations thrown at me. I am grateful because every morning I give thanks for another chance to live.

Maybe this is an issue of capacity.

It is not whether I have or not have it. It is about expanding my capacity for these things: to gain more wisdom, more humility, and to be more meek and grateful. It is the process of stretching the magnitude of these virtues, so they can be applied to all aspects of my life, and I will breathe wisdom, humility, meekness, and a heart of gratitude.

This makes me more hopeful, because in retrospect, I can see these virtues growing in me in the past couple of years, and so I can expect that I will grow even more in these things if I were to faithfully seek them the way I have been.

Similarly, don't lose hope if we have been praying for patience or passion, or any other virtues in our life that we seem to not have, because these things are growing in us at the moment we asked for them from God. But exactly because it is growing, we won't see much of the difference until something in our life requires that virtue to act, that we will realize it has been there all along, growing silently and permeating into all parts of our lives.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Let's All Laugh

I was in Michigan in the past weekend, and it was an interesting time because I had a good laugh at a lot of things.

First, my crazy departure. I had a full day of presentations, and when I was done, our class had a dinner party - at a Korean BBQ! Imagine my horror when I realized what a stink I would be at the airport. So I rushed to the nearest Nordstrom to change into a new outfit that was meant for Michigan, and tied up my hair in a bun as tightly as I could to prevent any smell from escaping.

Not having been flying domestic, I was sincerely surprised at the strict measures of the security. It made me mad - such a waste of resources, when there can be more things done with the same money invested in the x-ray machines. That's when I realized that people's fear are something that is easy to manipulate.

Then, I found out that my flight was delayed. Imagine my extra horror since I was all ready to take a shower and clean myself off the BBQ smell. So I grabbed a magazine and sat quietly. I was honestly enjoying this whole crazy mess, until the lights in the airport went out, and we were all sitting in the dark. Uhh, awkward. People around me started cursing and getting all frustrated. I was probably the only one in the whole area who started cracking up uncontrollably. I mean, seriously, what a day! What are the chances of everything going wrong at the same time? I found humor. It's almost like God teasing me, saying, "See, you think you got everything under control?"

I have had a lot of laughing moments in Michigan. But this next one I'm about to tell is the classic one.

I closed off my bank account, since I am leaving the country soon anyway, and there is no longer a need to keep a bank account in the Mid-West. While walking out -ironically I wasn't even on blackberry messenger and had my eyes looking ahead- I banged my face against the glass door. I literally heard my nose's cartilage making a cracking sound. My tears automatically streamed down, and my first question to my friend was, "Am I bleeding? Is my nose crooked?" When she said no, I started cracking up. This is for laughing at others when they crashed into the glass door. Now it's my turn to laugh at myself.

Oh, what a hilarious trip.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Loving, Instead of Achieving

A recent conversation with an old friend made me reflect on my understanding of romantic love between two people.

Since young, I believe that when a man and a woman get together with God's blessing, it is ideal that one pushes and encourages the other to attain greater achievements in the world, either sharpening one's skill, increasing one's wisdom, encouraging one's compassion, or helping each other towards the common vision. The other person's presence in our life should make us achieve greater things.

This friend of mine, however, brought up a point that made me consider that again. She said, what if God brings a man and a woman together so they increase their capacity of loving each other, and maybe, though they are not as productive, not as successful in this world, it's okay, because through the things that they go through, they become more loving towards each other, and towards other people?

I had to stop and think.

Maybe it is okay, after all, that we are not achieving as much. Maybe it is okay that we are not striving so hard towards success. Maybe it is okay that we are not so task-oriented. Maybe it is okay that we are not as efficient as when we are each an individual unit as a single person. Maybe it is okay that we are not as productive. As long as we increase our capacity to love each other, to have our character molded in that way, and in the end to love others more through this experience...