Breakthrough


The feeling of freedom is awesome. And after 7 years of wrong believing, I have finally received my breakthrough.

On the 11 July 2017, my close friend sent a text suggesting that we should call each other less and text each other less. That night after realizing the impact of that message—how I would lose a best friend again—my heart broke and I had a sleepless night. Every day since then would be hell. If she didn’t reply my texts, I would condemn myself for destroying the friendship and if she did, I would reply immediately and worry that she won’t bother because she feels uncomfortable around me.

This led me to flare up a few times and send emotionally charged texts many times. I knew this friendship would end, but wanted to salvage it for as long as possible. On 21 July 2017 in my office my, I was overwhelmed with grief. I had a taste of what the loss from the death of a loved one felt like. I wept silently in my office, since I do not want to disturb my colleagues, and complained to another close friend of mine. In fact I complained to him throughout these two weeks. It was an awful two weeks. Why did God let me go through this? Why isn’t He doing anything to stop this torture?

These two weeks shown me the despair that those suffering clinical depression face. It was a bondage of little to no hope. As much as I send daily verses every morning, I find difficulty believing in what I wrote. Having exhausted all I can think of: trying to discuss this with my close friend, trying to overcome it with music, trying to distract myself, I ended up reading the psalms and writing daily verses by faith. I ended up writing this by the Holy Spirit:

The psalmist contemplated that even in a flood of great waters, they will not come near him. They will not overwhelm him. As a beloved child of God, resist the lies of the devil—they cannot come near you. God will preserve you from the lies of the enemy with His truth. He will overcome those waves of worry with waves of grace.

And then a thought came into my mind: the reason why I felt awful everytime my close friend doesn’t reply my texts or calls me or want to meet me up is because I believed that these were signs that she didn’t want me to be her close friend.

And then it dawned on me.

This was a lie.

And I have believed this for 7 years.

I was spiritually enraged. How could the devil have hoodwinked me all 7 years, even as a grace-preaching, Bible-quoting believer? I was deceived for 7 long years, leading to the brutal slashings of many formerly close friends. I was so angry. I was determined by the power of God’s grace never to return to this bondage again.

This lie also applied to the close friend I had a misunderstanding with at the start of the year. We are okay! I’ve thought we had something against each other but the reality is that we are okay! I’m sure if I give her a call or a text, we can have an insightful conversation and for the first time, restoration of a close friendship is possible. Maybe this is what God meant when He said that He does impossible things and that the truth will set me free.

Disclaimer: I didn’t get myself out of this bondage. God, in His grace, saved me. He saved me through and through at the right place and the right time. Retrospectively, I’m glad I struggled through the two hell weeks with two of my closest friends, and I’m even close again with the one whom I had a conflict with. God saved me, and did something impossible, that is, to break a 7-year-long bondage from me.

Thank You Jesus for setting me free.

There are moments when the awful thoughts do enter my head, but it is the grace of God that gives me power to resist the devil, and he will flee from me. Whenever the devil condemns with awful thoughts, it is spiritual warfare to combat them with Christ-essence thoughts, where it’s not about me but about Jesus in me. But wow, having been freed, I am not going to that place of bondage again!

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. [Galatians 5:1]

Free at last!

—Joel Kindiak, 27 Jul 17, 0816H

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Mid-Year Update

We’re into the second half of 2017, and I think it would be good to give an update of my life now.

2017 began a tragedy. I got into a huge misunderstanding with one of my then closest friends which led to 2 months of cold war before a request for Math tuition. That lasted for three sessions in April and was followed by discontinuation. Perhaps I wasn’t good enough or my teaching style wasn’t her learning style. In any case, the tuition stopped and for all intents and purposes we have not met for a long time. I was, probably without her knowledge, devastated through and through.

During this time, two friends of mine consistently came to my support. We met every week at Suntec to do work and to encourage one another every time. They felt like God’s restoration for me: what I’ve lost in terms of close friendship has been restored by two friends even closer than before. And yet, there is a deeper heart issue that has yet to be solved.

For the weeks leading up to 16 June 2017, I was struggling with the joint concept of friendship and trust. It was a problem, and I needed to solve it. On that day, I stumbled upon this blog that basically described my current condition of placing my identity and security in friendships. That was a wake-up slap left, right and center. It was a wake-up call not to idolise friendships, but to let them remind me of Christ.

This was a breakthrough moment in my emotional life. Through it, God showed me that I don’t need to place my worth and security in friends as only He alone is worthy and the most secure person to place my identity and security in. This also means that I can hold friendships with a looser hand, to be more open to growing close to pagans (while not being influenced by their lifestyle, of course) and thus open up the Gospel without treating them as conversion projects. I don’t need to force friendships to be close: they are close if they are and they aren’t close if they aren’t, but I don’t need to force them to be. Best of all, I can jio people out without being affected by their declination, and I can for the first time really say that it is well with my soul.

Restored identity and security => restored peace and sanity.

The current struggle is my eczema outbreak on parts of my face and on my hands. My parents asked me to stop using the prescribed medication and to use their other remedies, many of which I do not trust due to their track record of failed remedies. If God could lead me out of my emotional turmoil, I trust He will led me out of my physical one as well.

That’s my update on the Year of Abundant Joy thus far, and it’s finally starting to shape up in its entirety.

-Joel Kindiak, 3 July 2017

Time Flies

Time is going…fast.

Now this could, admittedly, be a good thing or not. If you are in a huge challenge or are suffering really badly, the quickness of time will speed up the recovery process as the deepest of your metaphysical wounds heal. If you have planned a vacation, the fast flow of events gets you there quickly.

And yet, when you are well, and choose to spend every day bumming around at home instead of doing something useful, the quickness of time will waste it all away. During your vacation, time will eat whatever adventure was not spent there.
Time goes by very fast.

My week sounds something like this: Monday—new week! Tuesday—enjoying it thus far…Wednesday—its midweek! Thursday—nearing the weekend! Friday—weekend! Saturday—party all day err day! Sunday—tomorrow’s yet another new week!

Whether you like it or not, soon it will be the major exams, and then they end. Soon enlistment will take place, and then it ends. Soon you enter university and before long you graduate.

Unless you have a purpose to live, there is practically no reason to. I find my reason in Christ, in knowing Him and making Him known, and that’s the basis on which I choose to live my life on, regardless of what particular event is going on.

Regardless, time will fly.

—Joel Kindiak, 14 Jun 17, 0729H

Death to Instagram


Initially I wanted to use ‘Death to Social Media’, but the problem with that is that I’m unwilling to part ways with Youtube or WordPress (for obvious reasons).

But yes, as the image macros have shown, I have not just deactivated my Instagram account but went one step further to delete it completely. The downsides weighed more than the upsides for me, and my flesh was overwhelmed by the temptation to scroll through ideal yet probably fake lifestyles and keeping up the image of mine. In contrast, once I deactivated my accounts and went for my Australia vacation, I was freed from the need to impress and in fact just need to enjoy my vacation in peace.

Now that I’m back I decided that browsing the lives of others only make me more jealous than inspired, as the craving for attention crept up within my soul once more. Let’s just kill it. So I decided to leave once and for all.

All the photos I keep on my phone will be just that for the purpose they serve: not to impress but for me to reminisce and reflect and be thankful for the year of abundant joy thus far, as well as the many years that have passed.

No couple Insta accounts.

No 21st birthday picture.

No vain inspirations.

It’s time to regain the privacy of my person and to love myself as God first loved me, that I may love others even more. I know that Instagram means different things to different people, and I respect that, but for me its toxicity relative to where I am now as a person overwhelmed its utility.

So, death to Instagram it is, for me at least.

-Joel Kindiak, 5 June 2017, 1129H

A Speck and a Plank

“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?…Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” ‭‭[Matthew‬ ‭7:3, 5‬]

Last night, I was outraged at my friends’ unavailability and unintentionality. I saw how it’s evident that this friendship wasn’t reciprocal, that some were putting in much more effort than others and that clearly not everyone prioritized one another. I even labeled them, in Moses’ words, “a stiff-necked people” whom I felt like simply giving up on.

Multiple times.

Then the Lord reminded me that I’m guilty of making the same mistake. It’s quite clear that Hope Church isn’t very high on my priority list, or at least the special events like conferences and camps, as I have lost sight of their value. Yet, my cell leader and mentor kept showing me grace in spite of my stiff-necked attitude to church.

Multiple times.

How can I remove the speck in the eyes of my brethren if if have a giant plank in mine? The fact is we are all struggling and growing together in this Christian walk, even when things get incredibly tough. It’s times like these when, after we release that anger, we find forgiveness and grace to show grace to our offenders.

Multiple times.

—Joel Kindiak, 27 May 2017, 0748H

What is Hypothesis Testing?

This was one of the hardest math topics for me to grasp, particularly since the ideas of hypothesis testing and the tools used to quantify it are jumbled up, producing a convoluted Kindiak. I make an attempt to deconvolute any confusion that learning this topic may create.

What is hypothesis testing? At its core, hypothesis testing is about evaluating whether a claim is false or not. I claim to be 170 cm, but when you use a metre ruler to measure me I come short at 160 cm. Claim disproven! Of course, what makes hypothesis testing unique is that it uses probabilities to conclude.

Suppose a cola company claims that the mean volume of their drinks are 300 ml in each can. You smell horseshit and decide to test their claim. You buy 20 cans of cola, poured them out individually, and all of them measure only 290 ml. It would be fair to conclude that the company’s cheating your money right?

After all,

  1. suppose they were right, then
  2. the probability of all 20 cans having less than 300 ml would be miniscule ((0.5)^{20}, which is approximately one in a million!).
  3. It’s too improbable!
  4. Hence, the company is lying!

Take note of the bolded argument. This is the core of hypothesis testing. Step 1 assumes the null hypothesis (that is, the default claim) is true. Step 2 tests that claim with reality. Step 3 evaluates how compatible, or incompatible, the claim is with reality using probabilities (p-value). Step 4 makes the final conviction on whether the default claim is false or not.

Instead of 20 cans, all of which are less than 290 ml, let’s put some numbers and distributions on it (for simplicity’s sake; there are many variants to this).

Let the volume of cola in a can X, follow a normal distribution with standard deviation 3 ml. Suppose we find that the mean volume of cola in 20 cans is 299.5 ml. Not so easy to conclude now, huh? It’s simple, really. We follow the four steps of the argument, but this time use statistics to justify these steps.

Step 0: The set-up

Okay, I lied. We need to first set up the courtroom. We call their claim, that the mean volume, \mu, is 300 ml, the null hypothesis and denote it as H_0. (technically we call it the population mean, since it is the mean volume of ALL the cans of cola, but if this confuses you, disregard until future reference). The alternate claim is that they’re lying, maybe that the mean volume is less than 300 ml. We call this the alternative hypothesis and denote it as H_1. We state the hypotheses as follows:

H_0 : \mu = 300

H_1 : \mu < 300

Step 1: Suppose the null hypothesis is true

We test this claim using 20 cans of cola with standard deviation 3 ml. Assume they are right. That means suppose the mean volume really is 300 ml. The mean volume of 20 cans, \overline{X}, using normal distribution concepts, will follow a normal distribution as follows:

\displaystyle \overline{X} \sim N\left(300, \frac{3^2}{20}\right)

Step 2: Test the claim with reality

If H_0, is true, then in theory, the sample mean will be about 300 ml with small variations. In reality, the sample mean is 299.5 ml. Is that too much of a deviation from the proposed mean? If it is too much, will the probability be too low?

In other words, give that \bar{X} follows such a distribution, what is the probability that the sample mean of the 20 cans of cola would have a value of 299.5 ml? Well, we find the probability simply by computing the value of P(\bar{X} < 299.5), which either by using the G.C. or by using z-values and a z-table can be found. You should get a probability, or, the p-value, of 0.228, correct to 3 significant figures.

Step 3: Is it too improbable?

Improbable or probable are relative words. Some think that a 1/3 chance in winning a dice-based game is low, while a 1/3 chance in winning the lottery is mostrously large. In order to assess whether 0.228 is too improbable or not, we need to set a limit. What probability or less do we consider it as ‘too improbable’? This is called the level of significance, denoted by \alpha, and is arbitrarily chosen, depending on the context. In short, for the simplest of questions, it’s given to you in the question (there will be variants asking that you find this value of \alpha)

Anyway, let’s set \alpha=25 \% =0.25 for this question. Any probability less than this is, well, too improbable, GIVEN that we assume H_0 to be true. What’s our p-value? It’s 0.228. Is it less than 0.25? YES. IT’S TOO IMPROBABLE!

Step 4: Final conviction

Under H_0, we assume that the mean volume of cola is 300 ml. The probability that the sample mean volume of 20 cans of cola is 299.5, aka less than 300, is 0.228, which is too improbable (compared to \alpha, 0.25) to occur. Hence, it’s more probable that the company is lying.

We therefore find sufficient evidence to reject H_0 and conclude that the actual mean volume of cola is less than 300 ml (accepting H_1, but writing these two words alone won’t get you credit).

Step E: Error

I lied to you again. What if the company isn’t lying, but we were lucky (or unlucky) enough to pick the 20 cans that gave us a sample mean of 299.5 ml? Then that 0.229 probability was too low, but not low enough to render the company’s claim wrong. The p-value is therefore alternatively defined as the probability of wrongly rejecting  H_0.

FINALLY.

That’s the core idea of hypothesis testing and a very simple example to get you started. What about finding the sample mean? What if you use a large sample that doesn’t follow a normal distribution? What if the population variance isn’t known? What if H_1 is not whether \mu is less or more than some claimed value, but just not? What if any of the parameters \mu, \sigma, n, \alpha are unknown?

Welcome to hypothesis testing. Make sure your understanding of distributions and  means of random variables are top-notch before coming here, since they are the ABCs of hypothesis testing.