One of the biggest pitfalls of being a researcher and "activist" seems (to me) to be getting so caught up in the excitement of learning all one can about a subject, and never realizing the knowledge in real life. My own life is no exception. I'll admit, to my chagrin, that I adore theorizing and discussing and grappling with a beloved idea to the nth degree while completely ignoring it's application in my own life.
I'll believe a concept in theory, I'll even be wildly passionate about it, but because of my personality type (INFJ), I tend to dwell in my head a lot. The knowledge and wisdom and passion I have for a subject sometimes never translates well to my actual life. It's an embarrassing Achilles heel to have, especially for someone who enjoys knowing a concept inside out. Similar to the "the cobbler's children have no shoes" phenomenon. I loathe it about myself, and try my hardest to stomp it out whenever I recognize it, but I've come to realize that personality weaknesses are generally lifelong chores that need constant attention. I'll always have to question myself: how are my ideals lining up with my life?
Just one example: trying to live gracefully towards my husband and children, and not cultivating adversarial relationships within my family. I can talk about it ALL day long, know why it's imperative, even brainstorm practical ideas and applications, but, at the end of the day, if I'm approaching my family in a way that says, "You'd better do what I say, or else!", I've completely dropped the ball and missed the point of all my "study". Until I can lay down my scholar cap and take up the towel of a servant leader, all those wonderful thoughts are rubbish.
Sometimes, it's painful to step back and view yourself realistically with the measure you treasure and find yourself woefully short of the mark. It's so easy to have a good handle on the letter of the law, and totally miss it's heart in your own life.
So, the pruning begins. Sometimes it means the painful removal of things that aren't "evil" at all, per se, but rather things that distract and clutter my life and keep me from having room to put my own feet to the fire. It's tricky for a theory loving introvert to hop out of her own head and allow the grace that her head loves to permeate and saturate her life in every way. It sweeps me out of my element, and off my feet. It forces vulnerability and failure and humility that I'd rather shy away from. The journey from book wisdom to heart wisdom is dangerous and breathtakingly exhausting. It invites opportunity to be exposed, to laugh with those around me, and to dispel my safe belief that knowledge alone fortifies and sustains.
And that's a very beautiful thing.