5 Years and 10.8 Months Ago…

January of 2013 will mark 6 years of having this blog. 6 years.

I don’t know why I started a blog, but I always had one throughout college with xanga and blogspot. But in January of 2007, I started this particular blog to… I guess more to reflect and hash out my thoughts and feelings. It was a new life for me. I was married and had my first full-time ministry gig. So, I figured I had lots to reflect about and lots of things to hash out. Regarding the full-time ministry gig– not the marriage.

My very first post was about my hesitation (which I realized, today, that the title of the post and, hence, the URL of the post is misspelled. “HESITIATION.” Go figure…) to go visit a 12 year old who had cancer — and ultimately died before I got to see her again, which I briefly shared in a post about the passing of a parishioner here at St. Mark.

The funny thing is, I hated writing all throughout my school career. I didn’t like English. I didn’t like all of my writing classes that I was forced to take. Couldn’t avoid grammar mistakes. Was told by one professor that I write the way I speak, and the way I speak is wrong. What can you do with that?

Yet, since the age of 12, I kept a personal journal. When I was 14 or so, I kept 2 separate journals, because I discovered that my parents were reading my journals. Tsk. Tsk. So I kept a dummy one out where anyone could find them, filled with mundane entries. “School was okay, but I don’t like school. I like seeing my friends and hanging out. And I like doodling in class. Here’s a picture of Mario.” I kept the real one hidden where no one could find it and in that one, I wrote my deepest and darkest of secrets. Not really. It was still the same as the dummy one. Except, with this one, I knew that no one was reading it but me and had the comfort of knowing that I could write something very secretive that no one would know. Oh. I would use expletives here and there. “School was okay, but I @#$&!*% hate school.”

I had no idea why I put in so much effort to maintain this blog. It was fun. It was a release, too. And there was this struggle within me — I wanted as many people to read it, but at the same time, I wanted to keep my anonymity as much as possible, therefore wanting no one to read it.

During the early days (years) I would obsessively keep track of the visits to the blog, all the while hoping that no one from church would discover it. I was frustrated that no one seeing this blog — and tried all the free ways to boost traffic. Blogging can be such a vain medium. I mean, really, what can I offer? What impact can my voice (writing) really have in the sea of millions of better bloggers? Even more in the early days when all I wanted was heavy traffic to my blog.

I’ve made mistakes here and there through these almost 6 years. Some posts — they remain private now– should have never been made public, particularly one about the events that took place at the end of my tenure at one church. My good friend who worked at the church had to call me and ask me to take it down because kids had found that post and were asking the leaders about certain things.

I don’t post as much as I used to. I don’t know why I tried to have one post per day during those early stages. Currently, I shoot for at least 2 a week. I read that consistency keeps the blog alive. Also the experts on blogging said that I should have a clear theme/purpose for this blog. Which I don’t have. It’s about my thoughts and experiences. And again, it’s vanity to think that people would want to read it.

I’ve also stop being obsessive about the traffic to my blog. It wasn’t helping. And I realized how narcissistic I was being. It also gave me a freedom to talk about whatever I want to talk about. Instead of fussing over traffic numbers, I used that energy to really think. (And that takes a lot of energy for me).

It’s been a nice hobby to have. I’ve never really been creative but always yearned to be. This blog has served as an outlet for whatever creativity I have. It also has been an outlet to think and reflect and document things that are happening in my life. But the real deep things — things that I don’t want public or might hurt people or incriminate me somehow, someway — I still have a personal journal for that. It has also open a few small doors and opportunities here and there, and every opportunity and doors opened, I am extremely grateful for.

Thanks for being part of this, rather vain and narcissistic, journey with me. I apologize for all those posts that made you think you wasted precious moments of your life. And I am grateful and humbled if any of my posts made you think and go, “huh, that was interesting.” Even if it was used in a negative way. And also, I should apologize for all the grammatical errors that run rampant on this blog. It happens when I speak, too. English just hasn’t been a good, good friend of mine.

But, really, honestly and truly — thanks for reading.

All The Small Things

Traffic Jam
I’ve come to believe that it’s all about the small things that are important in ministry. Jesus said, those who are trusted with little, can be trusted with a lot. If you do the little things well, simply put, you’ll do well.
I remember when I played football, my coach made all of us just sit down with a football, lightly toss the football in the air to ourselves, then make sure that our eyes followed the football as it landed in our hands, and as we tucked it away. He made us do that for a little while at practice, then demanded that we do it home for at least an hour. Why? Because a lot of times, when receivers catch the ball, they don’t look the ball in, they look at where they have to run to, and because they took their eyes off the football for a split second, they drop  it. It still happens in the pro level. He made us focus on little stuff, so that we can be an overall good player.
Little things are also important when it comes to bad things. You see, last November, I picked up my senior pastor and his family from LAX (I know that was a terrible segue. There was nothing bad about picking them up). They had just flown in from Florida (a 5 or so hour flight). Their 2 girls were troopers and were sitting in their car seat, calm and quiet. I know that I would be far more crankier than they were after such a flight. But of course, on the way back to Valencia, we hit traffic. It was about 8pm, when there shouldn’t be traffic. But we live in LA. There’s ALWAYS traffic. And I felt so bad for the kids and the parents, because they had to endure even more time traveling. After what seemed like forever, it started clearing up. We got to see what was causing such a traffic jam at 8 in the evening. It was a stalled car. One car caused a 40 minute delay on the road. One car!
But, that’s how sin works. One small thing may end up congesting the flow of the spirit in our lives. You hear pastors who fall from grace. But these pastors didn’t start out their ministry thinking, I’m going to steal money from the church or I’m going to have an affair with a parishioner. No, it all starts out by small things we let go unchecked, time after time after time. My dad always told me this analogy growing up. He’d ask, “Do you know how to boil a frog?” (What a weird question…) He’d go on saying that if you put a frog into an already boiling pot, it’ll jump out because the water would be so hot. But if you put the frog in a pot first, and then start boiling the water, the frog wouldn’t quite know what’s going on. He’d sit there wondering, why is it getting hot until the heat kills it.
If we continuously let our hearts go unchecked, we may only realize how far we have strayed when it’s too late.
People seem to be worried about the BIG sins, like affairs, stealing, cheating on a huge test, etc. But those big sins (usually) occur because we let little things slide here and there. We need to check our hearts and examine our lives to see what little things we can comb out, before it snowballs/evolves into a monster.
How do we go about doing that? Prayer. Meditation on scripture. Honest, open heart moments and conversations with God. Great friends who you can trust and will hold you accountable. Small groups within a church. And of course, honest conversations with ourselves.
May we continue to better ourselves for God’s mission and kingdom!!