“Hayyy,” I sighed in resignation after burning a cup of milk. I lost count already as to the number of mishaps I’ve done recently while doing simple homemaking stuff. Who would have thought that you couldn’t heat up milk using an electric water kettle? This is just one of the many this month.
Some people have told me, “Wow Mitzi, you are so galing” because they see me on TV or read about me in news articles. But the truth is, I don’t feel that way. I struggle in many things that are quite easy for others to do; tasks that even little girls could do. I may be able to manage a business, but I can’t seem to manage a house. My home management IQ, and maybe basic survival skills, is close to zero.
Everyone I have talked to seem to know how to clean the different parts of the house, even in theory. But I can’t differentiate the manner of cleaning the tables, from the floor, or from any other surface. I treat everything like a plate… you wash them with soapy dishwashing liquid and clean them with water afterwards. As long as it is squeaky, sparkly clean that you can leave to dry, I’m happy.
And so today, while troubleshooting and painstakingly cleaning the kettle, here are some of my realizations:
1. Our weakness can empower others.
Recently, a friend confessed to me that she feels a bit sad when everybody seems to be living their own lives and does not need her anymore. Truth be told, her family needs her; I need her. However, many times we hide our weakness for fear of being judged or ridiculed. (I had to think twice whether or not I would post about my cleaning and cooking failures because they were really embarrassing, but ‘what the hey, just do it.’) I realize sharing our weakness provides other people the opportunity to utilize their strengths to help us. Not only will the task be done more efficiently and effectively (but of course not all help is task based), the process of helping builds trust and strengthens the relationship (read about the Benjamin Franklin effect.) When you provide other people the opportunity to use their strengths, you makes them feel empowered, valued, and happy.
2. If I could learn how to pinch salt, I can learn anything.
We can learn anything; that is, if the person teaching teaches like my friend Judy. Just last year, I couldn’t cook eggs even if my life were to depend on it. (Nowadays, the perfect sunny side up egg is still a hit or miss thing, but at least the seasoning is palatable.) Part of the process is to add a pinch of salt; how do you even do that? You can pinch salt in multiple ways, and that was what I did.. sometimes the eggs would taste too eggy, other times too salty. I could never do the perfect pinch. The exact process of pinching salt was never taught to me in classes nor in cooking shows, people just expect you to know. Judy showed me so clearly through a video she took of herself exactly which part of which fingers should touch the salt, and where the salt should primarily be sprinkled. If simple tasks can be made into smaller, clearer bite-sized steps like how Judy did, we can learn anything we want.
3. Our weaknesses can keep us from falling.
This may sound counterintuitive because what we normally experience is that our weaknesses cause much of our failures and stresses, right? After my recent interview for a local news channel, some of my loved ones have reminded me to always keep my feet on the ground. Whether in fables like ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’, or in the Bible (King Hezekiah showing off his riches), or in real life (maybe you know someone), pride almost always leads to a traumatic downfall. This downfall is usually a longer lasting and more painful suffering than the momentary hassles of our weaknesses. Our weaknesses can be frustrating, but they also keep us humble. This humility enables us to respect others, and learn from them who many times can be better than us.
I have often mentioned how important it is to utilize our strengths or gifting to bless other people. When we become a good steward of our gifts, God multiplies them and also enlarges our borders. Today, I encourage you to also showcase your weaknesses; be real and authentic in an instagram-filtered world. Both the strengths and the weaknesses are needed for communities to grow stronger and thrive.
What a beautiful day it is today. The weather outside is cool and cloudy, with just the perfect amount of sunshine. The birds are chirping again after days of hearing mostly roars of thunder. And so, today, with a cup of hot coffee and two slices of cheese bread on my bedside table, I opened my Bible to Proverbs.
Proverbs is quite an easy read. It’s like enjoying a series of creatively written #dailywisdom #instamotivation quotable quotes you find on Instagram, but even better. These words of wisdom were written by a very intelligent king in 900BC, and have been passed down through generations since then.
Today, I learned about three things that can bring wealth according to King Solomon in Proverbs 22. Let me share them with you:
1. Humility & fear of the Lord (v.4)
Solomon was very clear and straight to the point when he wrote, “Humility and fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life.” How so? Why did he choose humility over other virtues like patience or perseverance? And why is it that humility is partnered with fear of the Lord?
As I reflect upon this, I realize that humility does go hand in hand with fear of the Lord. You see, when we are humble, we think lowly of ourselves as we compare our fallible finite selves to the perfect, all-knowing, powerful God. This would allow us to surrender every bit of ourselves (our personalities, our skills, our time, our body) for God’s use and purpose because we are able to acknowledge that God can lead our lives better than we can ever do ourselves. The reward for this according to Prov. 22:4 for this is wealth.
2. Generosity (v.9)
“A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor,” Solomon said. When we share our resources with people less fortunate than us, we can hold onto this beautiful promise -- that we would be blessed by none other than God himself. And if God blesses, it is much better than what we can ever possibly ask or imagine. You are in for a surprise.
3. Skill (v.29)
“Do you see a man skilled in his work?” Solomon asked. “He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.” Isn’t it amazing that the book of Proverbs is very practical too? This verse means that whatever job God has given us to do, we need to do it to the best of our abilities. We need to seek to improve and excel on our craft. Although not all of us would be able to work for a literal king, our skill may still lead us to work for people with fine repute.
Did you know that there is something more desirable than great riches? I was quite surprised when King Solomon said having a “good name” is much better than gold and silver (v.1). It is better to win favor — the loving kindness of God and men, because when we have God’s favor, we know that no one less than the King of kings has our backs.
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I’m writing this not to promote that one has to believe in God in order to gain wealth. We are mistaken if we make wealth our ultimate goal. Wealth does not provide complete satisfaction that many of us hope for. In fact Solomon himself said, “He who loves money is never satisfied” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
The end goal of man is to glorify God to the best of our capacities, and enjoy this intimate relationship we have with Him. He alone can satisfy all our heart's longings. The wealth is but a bonus.