Wisdom over Knowledge

Yesterday,  May 20, 2012, something happened. I guess I was on the verge of breaking down but in order for me to avoid it, I began to pour out what I felt and what I am going through to my parents. My parents, of course, are just lovely people. I am so happy and blessed that I have such parents who read the Bible everyday, meditate on God’s word, and experience and teach His Word. My dad holds one of the top managing positions in Ericsson, Hong Kong but throughout the years, I always see him put God first in everything. He would never leave the house in the morning if he has not read His word, even if it takes him to wake up very early in the morning to read and mediate on God’s word, around 4am sometimes, about the time I wake up to do my high school work (but now I am in university, far away from them, I know he’s still doing it because (1) the advices he gives me is just immensely words of wisdom that comes only from God and (2) when I go home for the holidays, I observe him that he still does it). My dad and my mom; when they give me advices and when they always hear me cry and brag about my lonely and other uncomfortable experiences here in Scotland mostly in terms of university course work and in my first year, about adjusting into a whole new different environment, and other things; they, as parents who loves me, will not say lovie dovie words and say things will be fine compared to my friends who just wants to comfort me that way. Their way of comfort is to get angry at me and ask me alot of questions why I feel the way I feel and other things. Their tone of voice is so different. They sound like as if they do not care about me and not want to hug me when I am in a bad situation. I always resent them because of that, I always thought they really do not care about what I am going through. But now I realise, they do love and care about me, so much that they rather make me realise my faults or the reality than being of comfort like what most people do. When I got together with my lovely boyfriend (I feel weird saying that he is my boyfriend because to me, he is more than that), when there were times that i get pissed off of him telling me things that bothers him, I realise that out of love, instead of giving him hugs and telling him “its alright, its gonna be okay”, I tend to ask questions and make him realise the reality he is in and help him in a way that will sustainably give him strength and courage to face his situation rather than leaving him with comfortable words that will not help him in a way. I am not saying comfortable words do not do their job but what I am saying that sometimes, comfortable words are uttered because one’s true feelings cannot be released due to fear of hurting a friend or something. There maybe other reasons but that is not what this blog entry is about.

This blog is about choosing wisdom over knowledge. I struggle with my relationship and faith with God. To be honest, I read the Bible probably 3 times a month, only when I feel the burden to do so or when I am free and have absolutely nothing to do. If you are not a Christian, its okay, you can still read this blog, its about what my parents have told me yesterday and my helpless situation that I feel the urge to share to people. Writing is a way for me to relieve my stress and come to terms and organise my thoughts and mind. Just writing this blog makes me an already sensible person compared for the past 3 weeks that I have been lost. If you do not believe what I wrote, its okay, no one is forcing you so. All I can say is that for one person to believe and have faith in God is to experience Him. This is one of the key points we have learned in our Anthropology of Religion course last semester and I shall post a blog about this soon as I finish my exams and organise my stuffs.

Anyhow, I’m going to begin to talk about what this blog is about….

Yesterday, I called my parents through skype and was was crying so hard while telling them what I am going through. This period is exam period. I have a week to study for 4 of my anthropology and archaeology courses. As I have stated before in my previous blog ‘exam preparation’, I am actually calm and can sleep and eat alot. But if I am calm and can sleep and eat alot why am I now talking about the hardship of exam? All I can say is that it is not the 4 exams I am 100% so depressed about. It is the build up of events that made me so sad, depressed, and lost. I recently got my archaeology of social life poster back, and I got a really bad grade, in my opinion. 13/20 is bad for me because I have already attained grades 20/20, over 15 is acceptable but lower than 15 is an issue. I have become really depressed, I understand why I got that grade and to be honest, they should have asked for an essay rather than a poster. How can an art degree student make a fantastic and presentable poster? That requires graphic stills and requires a person to learn about what makes a poster good, presentable, and marketable. For me in general, presentation of a poster is not what matters (but apparently, more than half of the criterial is about whether or not the person is presentable and marketable such as “use of supporting materials, images, maps, and quotes etc.; application of design principles and museum standards for fonts and lastly, use of exhibit text guidelines), what matters for me is the content of the poster, the argument and the interpretation of the question. I know this is my flaw but I really disagreed to the assessment. It should have been an essay format rather than poster format. I really cannot write 500 words, how can I summarise all the key points in 500 words? In short, I could not cut down the words and later discovered that I have 1500 words in the poster. Well, it was an improvement though, I incorporated more graphics and pictures than last semester’s poster. In essence, I was really disappointed because I put so much effort into research so that I have basis to back up my argument. This is one of the main reasons why my other archaeology course assessment – a 3,000 word research paper – got degraded. I instead handed 1,500 words. I e-mailed the professor and he said it is indeed not a good essay and quite short, he told me if I want, I can still continue writing it but when I am sad and just finished my last assessment, I cannot concentrate properly so I e-mailed him back if the essay earned 10 and below, then I will continue but if it earn 11 and above then it is fine, I will just emphasise more work on my revision for the exam and then I have not heard from him since then (2 weeks now). I am quite depressed and sad because I humiliated myself in front of those professors who, apparently, I have to be under subject to for the next year for my honours year. Moreover, the course to which I could not submit 3,000 words paper, the professor is the co-ordinator for the Alaska excavation I am dying for to be in this summer. I got accepted but he said I just need to wait until last week Tuesday for him to decide whether or not it would go on as there were not many students who applied. Also, I still need to hear something from my other anthropology essay… but I am doubting a good result as I devoted most of my time and energy to my archaeology poster and the anthropology essay which I posted weeks ago ‘benefits of both anthropological and historical methods’. So basically, it is all because of these that I do not have confident in working hard for my exam revision. Since I have been making summaries and reading the lecture readings of all my 4 courses, I am quite calm. I just really need to remember the key points, some dates, and some case studies to do well but I felt so bad yesterday as I let last week pass without any thorough revision though I organised both anthropology course (anthropology & imperialism and colonialism re-imagined) study groups. Anyways, I was telling my parents what I have said just now while crying so hard. I told them. I could not get any motivation to sit down and revise properly and thoroughly because I did not get good results for my assessments. I felt like working hard to revise is just a waste of time because I might not get the grades I want anyways as no matter how much I study for exams, exam results are still lower than my assessment results (so this is why I put so much thought and work on essays and other assessments). But I can change this, there’s still a week, all I need is to set aside more than 8 hours of sleep, Doctor Who, Merlin, BBC, and other interesting things and just start revising. Now I am in my fighting spirit but yesterday I was totally dishearten and demotivated. I felt like my strength left my body.

So my dad analysed the words I have told him. I told him I read almost all the lecture readings and my knowledge really did expanded. I am one of the few people to read lecture readings while others just either skim it or blab it. My dad told me, you did all you can. You are a very outstanding student but I told you to work smart. So we had almost an hour of debate on how to work smart and what are the ways to work smart to top up with working/studying hard. For almost 3 hours of talking, debating, getting irritated and wat not, he told me “you have all the knowledge of this world but you lack wisdom”. He did not tell me I am stupid but he told me I lack wisdom. What is ‘WISDOM’? The oxford dictionary offers an alternative definition to the Christian definition. Oxford dictionary online says “the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement” (http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/wisdom?q=wisdom). However, the Christian definition of wisdom will state that it comes from God. There’s alot of verses in the Bible that explains wisdom I will state a few.

This is what my New Living Translation Bible provides in the concordance section (I have chosen only a few out of many for illustration):

1 Kings 4:29 “God gave Solomon very great wisdom and understanding, and knowledge as vast as the sands of the seashore. :30 In fact, his wisdom exceeded that of all the wise men of the Eat and the wise men of Egypt”

Basically, when Solomon ascended the throne from his father, David, God asked him What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you (1 Kings 3: 5). Solomon answered,  here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted! Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong (1 Kings 8-9). Then God replied, because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies… I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have! And I will also give you what you did not ask for – riches and fame! (1 Kings 11 – 13) So out of all the things he could have asked from God, he chose wisdom instead of richness, glory, and death of his enemies. Because of his selfless choice, God rewards him with other aspects together with wisdom. This is what my father always desire of. Not of richness and glory of this world but wisdom so that he may manage Ericsson’s appointed work for him. It is because of this very fact that my father got elevated throughout the years from a very low paid position to one of the top and well respected positions in the company. All this because God gives him wisdom that is not of this world. Wisdom that surpasses the knowledge of this world. I really like this. I want this kind of wisdom. A selfless choice indeed but what do I in this world? I can have all what I want (luxuries, travel to different places, clothes, books, expensive camera, skate shoes etc.) but I am not satisfied. We can never be satisfied but after my conversation with my father yesterday, I decided, okay, I’m going to put an end to all these suffering because again and again I end up in a similar situation. I want to set my eyes on God. This world is so temporary that really, our purpose here is to give glory and honour to our God. All these months, I have been swayed away from this sole purpose. The reason why I am here. I do not want to live a life that is all for myself. To be honest, I want to graduate with a first class degree at the same time I want to win medals from swimming and figure skating, I want my photographs to receive  excellent comments, I want to finish grade 8 in violin so I can play in orchestras, I want to travel the world and see places…. there’s alot of things I want to do which really stresses me out because now I have set such a high determination which degrades me physically and mentally in a way that if I do not meet the requirements i have set in a day in order to get into my goals i.e. do uni work, practice swimming/skating, practice violin, practice photography… I tend to become sad and depressed and feel like my strength have just left my body. I do want to do all these things and be such a great person that my parents and my relatives would be proud of. But I feel like, rather them becoming such a great motivation, they become distractions from my sole purpose, that is to give glory to God. To spend time with him and to finish my university. All the other co-curricular activities should be there for fun and not for competitive reasons to which I constantly push my qualities to the highest. I know and I believe that all these things will come if I spend time with God and acquire wisdom to live my life differently. I have never done this ever in my life but yesterday I have told myself to finally accept God, accept his wisdom and live a different and selfless life and all these other things I want to achieve will come with being submissive to God because I know God will also give our hearts desires (Psalm 37:4).

Okay so here’s the other verses from the concordance of my NLT Bible:

1 Kings 10: 24 “People from every nation came to consult him and to hear the wisdom God had given him”. So this is the fruit of Solomon’s selfless decision to acquire wisdom. All these material and worldly things came together with something that is from God.

2 Chronicles 1:10 “Give me the wisdom and knowledge to lead them properly, for who could possibly govern this great people of yours?”. This is one of the reasons Solomon put forward to God when he asked for wisdom.

Proverbs 3:13-15; 8:11 “Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding, for wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold. Wisdom is more previous than rubies, nothing you desire can compare with her.” So basically, wisdom cannot compare with anything. What comes with wisdom is better than any reward. Wisdom = understanding. This is not saying that knowledge is bad and really inferior but wisdom together with knowledge = immense understanding and better choices.

Proverbs 11: 2 “Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom”

Proverbs 16:16 “How much better to get wisdom than gold, and good judgement than silver!”. This shows that it is better to choose getting wisdom than first prioritising richness.

Ecclesiastes 10:10 “Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.” Hence, if one chooses wisdom, success will follow afterwards.

Ephesians 1: 17 “Asking God, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God”. Therefore, not only we will gain understanding in how to live our lives in this world and choose the right paths but also we will comprehend the complexities of God, his ways, and purposes. (I said complexities because I find God really complex to understand….)

Colossians 2:3 “In Him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”. Wow, this means that there’s more to wisdom than what we might think it brings.

Titus 2:12 “And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God.” There’s alot to be said about this, (1) we live in world that is dominated by the devil and evilness hence, the more we should focus on God and put him first in our lives to live a righteous life. (2) why is this world evil? Because the devil come here to kill, steal and destroy God’s creation and especially us believers that’s why we swerve in our faith and relationship with God. That is why we get so distracted. This is why we allow those distractions to destroy us physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. This is true in my case. How about yours?.  (3) Why would God even allow evil to dominate His creation? Well, this is a very interesting philosophical question which I will address in my future blog entires. So keep in posted.

James 1: 5 “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. he will not rebuke you for asking”. This is telling us that we can just come and ask God that we need wisdom. He will not get angry nor disapprove and reprimand our selfless decision. God encourages us to come to him and such this Godly wisdom because in this we can gain understanding and successfully live our lives and be faithful to Him.

This is what my mom gave me just now while writing this blog:

Proverbs 1:7a “The fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” ‘Fear’ does not mean what we have in our minds. I shall write a separate blog entry for this later on. This verse is saying that if we love God and have faith in Him then we will begin to understand him and his ways which is even better than attaining worldly knowledge.

Proverbs 10: 23 “Doing wrong is fun for a fool, but living wisely bring pleasure to the sensible”. This shows the difference between worldly knowledge. This does not mean that knowledge of this world is foolish but there are others who do have knowledge yet use it foolishly that is why Godly wisdom is to be taken into consideration in order to live and sensible and better life.

Proverbs 28:26 “Those who trust in their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe.” There maybe other interpretations on this but I interpret it as those people who have knowledge and proudly thinks that they should live their lives in their own ways they then are fools because wisdom would give one a better life to which better choices are made that follows success.

These are are one of the few verses I have chosen but there are others in the Bible which you can gain wisdom and knowledge from. I suggest that you read the Bible first before suggesting that religion is bad, it creates war, it does this and that etc. I shall address this soon in my future blogs with anthropological, archaeological and interdisciplinary incorporations to help us understand this so called ‘complication’ of the Bible, Christianity, and religion.

🙂 I have been writing this blog for almost 3 hours now. I need to eat my branch and start revising for my anthro-archaeology exams. Do not hesitate to comment and let me know what you think. As for me, I made a decision that from tomorrow, I will seek for wisdom (that means reading the Bible, spending time with God and meditating on His word everyday rather than when I wake up in the morning I read bbc news, watch Merlin, Doctor Who, Japanese/ Korean dramas and other things) more than relying on my own knowledge to live my life i.e. decisions on how to study for my exams, what to do with my passionate hobbies (playing the violin, figure skating, swimming, travel, and photography).

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Exam Preparation

Whenever exams are near, my body and my mind physically shifts. Because I use my brain so much, I need more rest than usual, but the minimum is 8 hours. I also tend to eat more (both healthy and non healthy foods), my reason is to fuel up my brain.

How about you? Do you tend to need more rest and food in preparation for exams? When I mean preparation, I mean, when you are studying, revising, and getting ready for the exam.

I remember, when I did my International Baccalaureate exams in May of 2009, I was super stressed that I look like Johnny Depp in his recent film the Dark Shadows. But it should not be that way, there were personal reasons why I was like that but now, since I am far away from family (I am across the other side of the continent), I have to take care of my physical self, and mentally prepare in advance to prevent any suicidal feeling when it’s exam time.

I know there are people who stay up the whole night studying and cramming things in their minds. I do not know how they can do that. University teachers normally give advices in their last lectures concerning how to do well in exams and two of these is to sleep at least 8 hours a day and eat well (i’m assuming they are also saying, healthy foods… not processed and ready meals which may not be good for the body in the long term).

Are you the kind of person who studies the night before exams or do you plan ahead in time and study bit by bit for the long term memory? If you are the kind of person who is up all night revising just before your exam, why and what are your reasons for doing so? I know there are millions of reasons on this because each of us individuals are unique and have our own experiences and go through different hardships.

Before, when I was in high school, exams were my biggest and worst enemy. Now, it has shifted. I am more calm and normal. I do not look like a deceased person and pale as before. I can smile before exams while previously all I can give to people was sad face and depression.

I would like to know your experiences with exam. Let me know what you think and do give any advice you perceive is best for others who are stressing out. Good luck for everyone who is currently going through exams at the moment!