I’m currently studying for my Security+ certification.
It has been slow going.
I work for a small IT Solutions company–we build secure computer systems for our customers. In order to do so, our team strives to learn all they can to protect these systems from threats and vulnerabilities of all types. Earlier this year–way earlier this year–our project leads, managers and admin staff were asked to begin studying and preparing to sit for the certification test.
I love to study–I love to learn new things–I’m a closet geek–so I was eager to begin. I bought a study book and dove right in at page 1.
By page 12, I was hopelessly lost.
And utterly frustrated.
I’m far from a systems engineer, but I erroneously thought I could just “pick-it-up”–you know, read it once and comprehend it immediately.
Not. The. Case.
The vocabulary–the very language itself, that comprised the sentences and paragraphs–seemed completely foreign. Tunneling and protocols and gateways and vulnerabilities and subnet masking and trunking and encryption and cryptography and ports…..I was overwhelmed.
I didn’t think the words would ever mean anything to me. And since I had no frame of reference, I didn’t understand their importance, so I didn’t know what to focus on—my background is psychology and sociology. Not networking and cybersecurity.
I wanted to quit. I didn’t see the use, in continuing.
Fortunately, I am nothing, if not stubborn.
And so a few weeks ago, I changed my tactic.
I had been talking to a friend about their experience years ago, when they had to sit for an even tougher examination–a CISSP cert.
They told me that they had studied for six months, but hadn’t made much progress. But then their company held a week-long “Boot Camp” where they fully immersed themselves in everything related to that cert, to prepare for the test–long intense days of lectures and teaching, followed by 4 hours or so of studying each night, Monday through Friday, culminating in sitting for the exam all day Saturday, at the end of the week.
They all passed.
And that’s when it clicked for me.
If I want to pass this blasted thing, I need to totally immerse myself in it.
I need to get serious and give this the time and attention that it needs and deserves.
I can’t go to a Boot Camp–but I can be disciplined to put in concentrated study time every night in the hours before I go to bed. I can review my flashcards while out walking and getting exercise. While waiting in line at the grocery store, or at the doctor’s office, or waiting to get my car’s windshield repaired, I can use those “spare” moments to study and take practice tests on my phone.
So, that’s what I’ve been doing, over the last few weeks.
I was skeptical–there was a part of me that was certain that no matter how much I read and study and immerse myself, the words on the pages would never be understandable.
But–and you know where this is going–something is finally starting to click, in this dense brain of mine.
The words on the pages are starting to make sense.
My practice test scores are slowly rising.
And–the more I understand it–the more I want to read, to learn more.
Early this morning, I came across a passage in Timothy, while I was looking for something else.
Paul wrote these words to Timothy–to encourage him to devote himself to spiritual disciplines and pursuit of faith. He tells Timothy to train himself for godliness, and to command and teach good doctrine. Timothy is to devote himself to reading Scripture in public, and to preaching and teaching.
But this is the part that struck me deeply this morning from 1 Timothy 4:
Paul knew that, in order for Timothy to grow and mature in faith and the things God had called Timothy to do, was for him to fully immerse himself in the things of God.
The same is true of us.
We need to immerse ourselves in the things of God.
Just as I will never learn the concepts of Security+ without focused immersion in my studies, I will not see spiritual growth in my soul and mind, without focused effort and commitment to the immersion of my soul in the things of God.
And immersion is not saying a routine prayer before dinner. It’s not attending church on occasion. It’s not reading a short 2-minute “devotional”, to check off the box that I had my “quiet time” (whatever that is supposed to mean.)
I like the dictionary’s definition: to involve oneself deeply in a particular activity or interest.
Do not hear this as me saying that you have to be a scholar, to learn about God. That’s not the case. A great many deeply wise men and women that I know, who have a far greater understanding of who God is than I do, are not scholars, in the traditional sense of the word.
But, they are immersers.
They immerse themselves deeply in the things of God–in the study and reading of scripture, in prayer, in worship, and in service to Him.
They immerse themselves, in God Himself.
And, the impact of doing so, is evident in their lives.
They have a peace about them. They have a steadfastness in their souls, that I long for, in mine. They have a hope that never runs dry, even in the darkest of nights.
I want to be like them.
I want to so immerse myself in the things of God, that it changes my very soul and mind.
There’s a cry in my heart
For Your glory to fall
For Your presence to fill up my senses
There’s a yearning again
A thirst for discipline
A hunger for things that are deeper.
For what do I have
If I don’t have You, Jesus
What in this life
Could mean any more
You are my rock
You are my glory
You are the lifter
Of my head
~Cry in My Heart
**If you are unsure of who God is, or how to draw near to Him, please feel free to contact me through this website. I’d love to chat with you.
**Or, if you are a Christ-follower, yet are struggling with how to incorporate spiritual disciplines into your every day life, such as prayer, worship and scripture reading, I’d love to share with you some ideas on how to get started immersing yourself in the things of God through the practice of spiritual disciplines. I am far from perfect–I stumble and bumble my way through this life of following Him. But I’d love to share with you some of the things that have helped me immensely on this journey.