I’m sorry. Just as I was about to post this last night, we lost power and I wasn’t able to upload. Power only came back on 18 hours later. While catching up on social media we found out that a truck rammed into an electric pole around 10 minutes away from our place, which explained why we lost power at such an uncommon hour, and why it took so long for power to be restored in our area. I mean, you should’ve seen the pictures. The truck rammed at the (wooden) pole so hard that the bottom half was separated, leaving the top half held up by the huge amount of wires connected to it. Yes, we live in a nation where electronic and communication wires are still held up by poles instead of underground.
To say that I feel the same way I felt at the beginning of this year would be a lie. I don’t think things have taken a turn for the worse, nor do I say that things have taken a turn for the better. What I can say is that it’s all different. I don’t need to take a look at any of my archived notes to say that my priorities have changed
, and I am definitely working more efficiently.
2020. I do remember telling my soon-to-be former boss at the beginning of the pandemic that I would be doing some studying, concentrating on cybersecurity and basically maximizing my know-how in computers and other IT-stuff. Over the course of the lockdowns and the quarantines I have capitalized on the time spent home by studying and taking online courses, focusing on programming Python, introductions to the aforementioned field of cybersecurity, as well as taking a deeper dive into data science.
Today I still see that programming Python is important, and is something I should still consider pursuing and practicing, especially since (1) it has vital ties to data science, and (2) Naval Ravikant could not stress the importance of knowing how to code, especially in this day and age. I mean, looking back at all the classes I took in college on computer programming, plus all the practice I had with Visual Basic 6 especially during our Thesis – I could say that the principles, especially when it comes to data structures and commonalities in syntax (regarding loops, conditional statements, etc) have remained in my subconscious through all this time, no matter how I lacked practice. I guess the same principles could also be applied in one way or another, even in less computer-friendly aspects of daily life – I mean, I’d like to think it’s had its impact in how I schedule my day, how I follow the said schedule, and how I make adjustments as variables and other events beyond my control occur.
I definitely see how cybersecurity is important, more now than ever. It’s been made clear during the pandemic, when we were forced to be more dependent on the internet. Because we needed to connect through computers and other similar devices you can be sure that other unscrupulous actors were aware of the increase of data and users that could be exploited. I also see how cybersecurity is definitely vital, critical even, for systems that count votes, maintain power and water grids, keep websites online, protect usernames, passwords, and other private information… My good brother Pep pushed me to take CompTIA’s Security+ certification, and although the desire to still act on it is still there, it’s not the same as actually studying, applying, and taking the exam and passing. I really should get back into it. I shouldn’t wait until April to start this one. I’m not sure why I drove towards this subject today, but I’m glad I did.
I also think I should reconsider my priorities concerning data science. I’ve always told myself that data is a new resource that is worth its weight in gold, and I imagined myself like the Merovingian in the Matrix universe – the ‘data trafficker’ whose preferred spoken language was French because swearing in French is like ‘wiping your ass in silk’. There’s also that one guy in Billions who said that the stock market charts show how the world is working. Prophets stab in the dark, but at least analysts have form. I don’t know where that came from, but I guess what I’m saying is that data gives us the edge, and I’ll admit, it’s pretty sexy.
Looking back at these things I told my former boss, I could say I have been reminded to act on them, but I have to consider the expectations of my current ‘boss’ – that is, the senior pastor of our church.
I guess it’s timely that I brought this subject up, because most of my priorities have been redefined according to the assignment I now have, not just as a free agent, not just as someone blessed with some time to study… who would have guessed, who would have known that I would be assigned as a lead pastor for an entire service while this pandemic was going on? I mean, I was already a pastor, but it’s entirely different to take on the reins of an entire service, and not just the preaching part of it. It’s hard enough to come up with your own message themes, not only for the coming Sunday but for the rest of the month, the rest of the quarter, and the rest of the year.
That seems to be the entirety of the stress that’s on my mind. If I have all the messages ready, then everything follows. But it seems as if the messages only come one Sunday at a time. I should probably work smarter. I was even considering using AI to sort of analyze all the words I’ve been typing regarding my messages to see what else I could gather to discuss. I’ve also been wracking my brain, trying see how to get the message across, and not only to get it across but to inspire those who would listen to take action. I don’t necessarily enjoy just telling people what to think – and I’ve been saying this countless times – I would always prioritize guiding people in how to think…
…not that my way of thinking is anywhere near ideal, but I guess through my entire life I wish to communicate a perspective for one and all who would observe to consider. Now that I think about it I don’t even know if this said perspective, this path, this walk and way is anywhere near being communicable via mediums such as text, speech, or the like.
You know, now that I go through all these thoughts in my mind by way of typing all of it down here, I don’t know if it was the right thing to happen to me to have been made a lead pastor. There were things I wanted to do, there are things that I’m doing right now that aren’t immediately seen as in line with the traditional ministry…
And there it is.
See, these are some of those moments where I appreciate writing. Things get clarified, and as junk thoughts are discarded, better, more valuable thoughts come into the light.
My priority is not to turn my back on cybersecurity, not completely walking away from programming, blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, decentralized funding, not completely writing off data science and analysis. Nor should my priority be to do ministry the traditional way.
I’ve tried too hard so far this quarter, this year to figure out how to marry the past and the future, forcing ministry to work with tech, and vice versa… on my own. Funny, I’ve tried too hard, and I’ve given up too much, I’ve shed too much blood, skin, and shame to just get married, now that I think about it – I thought I figured myself out in the relationship game, that I should work overtime on myself to be ‘marketable’ before anything else.
The same thing I’ve been trying to tell my team, is what’s blaring out at me today:
I’m trying too hard. I’m pushing too hard. So hard, that my literal blood was compromised, my entire mind and physical body affected, definitely once, maybe twice, within the span of 3 months.
Obviously I need to stop working too hard. But in its place, two things come to mind:
I need to work smarter. I see this, not only because there is a need to conserve my energy, but I also need to use my time a whole lot better. Working hard may ensure things get done within a given span of time, but working smart ensures that the time spent is used more efficiently, by way of getting more things, and done a whole lot more smoothly. It’s not that we ought to be neurotic in our time management, more than we take a little time before anything else to cover the details, just so that things don’t need to be repeated during actual execution.
And, really, I need to plan smarter. Gas prices are going up, and I couldn’t afford to ‘just go out’ and drive to shoot. Nor can I ‘just go drive’ to get some food. When Mom wants to go out I should be ready with other things that need to be done in the city. And I should really get those things done. One thing at a time, as I always say, but get it done.
I also need to work from rest. Somewhere along the way I think I started to do all this ‘hustling’, all this trying to put ministry and technology together on my own out of the need to get people’s approval, out of the need to prove things to myself, out of the desire to kick my co-pastors’ asses, and just overall to smart-signal myself and others that I have everything figured out. Fuck, that isn’t self-pity at all, I’d rather be this brutal with myself, if only to be led back to the genesis of where real life began for me – Christ and His finished work.
Yeah, you know? Now that I think about it, there’s been a subtle change to how I’ve been ‘taking in’ the Truth of Christ and His finished work. It’s sort of like I was trying to live the Gospel, not for the sake of living the Gospel, but for the desires as stated above.
God forgive me.
I don’t know, I don’t want to keep on going down this path of beating myself up. It’s clear at this point that I need to reconsider how I move, and not just how I move, but before that, I should just go back to keeping an eye out for how my good, good Father moves; How He loves me, if only to remember how to love FROM love, versus working FOR it.
I’m in the middle of trying to control things, and I’m realizing, for all that I’ve been saying this time, God, I’m realizing I couldn’t do anything on my own.
And Father, this is not to say I need You, at least not before I say thank You, for even in these times that faith is pushed to the sidelines, You remain faithful to us. And it’s all because of Christ, it’ll always be because of Christ and His finished work that I could make and take and celebrate that claim, going boldly before the throne of grace in my time of need.
Sure could use some help, Father.
Thanks in advance.
I love You.
It’s evening of the next day and I guess I should just add to this as a follow-up.
I woke up but stayed in bed a whole lot longer than I should have. We still didn’t have power, but I was pleasantly surprised that my power bank at 10% capacity as of the night before was able to fill my phone up with a lot more juice than I expected… hence, I gave into the temptation of just burning through my downloaded YouTube videos. It was mostly cook-alongs and other stuff.
Well, before doing any of that I decided to go through my Bible really quick, and I was brought to the book of 1 Timothy… while I was waiting for power to come back on I kept going back to it throughout the day, between eating, working out, and playing Blockudoku on the phone while its battery was still going strong.
A couple of insights I pulled from it, from the top of my head:
In one verse Paul described God as the ‘only’ wise one, implying God was the only one with the wisdom that really matters. The word ‘wisdom’ conjures really old people in my head. I do agree that we do grow wiser as we grow older – in fact, I’m only learning now that wisdom plays such a primary role as we age, much so that it keeps us alive… But I’m pretty sure that for the most part our ‘wisdom’ comes from our recognition and dependence upon God, who is as Paul says – the ‘only’ wise one.
In 1 Timothy 3:16 we also read: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among Gentiles, believed on in the world, (and) received up in glory. Paul is clearly saying Jesus is God, and he gives an interesting summary, His own perspective on Christ’s finished work. I say that He was born, died, rose again, and ascended, and I say that a lot – but here Paul goes, deeper, I guess? Not merely born, but manifested in the flesh. Paul makes no mention of death, but He does mention what I think would be a precursor to resurrection – justification in the Spirit, or in our case, proclamation of righteousness leading not only to reconciliation, but re-establishment of eternal life. ‘Seen by angels, preached among Gentiles, believe on in the world’ – a Gospel, not only re-established for a chosen tribe or generation, but for Gentiles, and for the world to believe. Beautiful.
I mean, all of that was swell, but more than anything I was reminded in this Epistle that I shouldn’t be paying more attention than I should to idle talk and old wives’ tales. Looking at what I was typing last night I understand that a good deal of my mind is being thrust into new innovations, and so-called new mindsets… But fascinating as they may be, and full of potential to boot, these things, as all things, take second place to the timeless Truth of the Gospel. Not to say that we look at everything else condescendingly or in disdain, but on the other hand, we integrate what we could, in the best way we could – that is, through the lens of the Gospel of Grace, standing upon the Rock of Christ, celebrating His finished work.
Earlier in the day I was looking at just lying down, because that’s what I had in my mind since last night – I wanted to move from working too hard to working from rest. But that doesn’t seem to be the point of working from rest – of course, the goal is to work smart, but I’m only now realizing that the smartest work is the most restful work.
A part of 1 Timothy also mentions that while exercise is profitable, it’s ‘godliness’ that is profitable in all things. And sure, the legalistic folk would immediately pounce on this and slap me saying that’s why I need to follow the Law, but I would take the notice of this word as a reminder to one and all that it is Christ who is our wisdom, and it is also Christ who is our Godliness. He is our righteousness, and therefore He is the Life, the value-add, the profitability in all things that happen to us, the profitability in all things that we make happen.
It’s because of this that I’m now reminded that I COULD rest – because it’s not my trying too hard that’s going to add any value to anything else that I do, in marrying tech and the Gospel together, or in just getting married, period – It is Christ who makes all things profitable, all things work together for good.
I’ve been reading… and I probably should be reading a whole lot more.
Let the Living Word be the Life to my words
and let the Word of Life be the Word in my life.
(to be continued?)