June 23, 2013
God is Good - All The Time!
Yesterday, was a good/bad day for me. I blogged about how overwhelmed I felt, and how the uncertainty of my work situation coupled with the fear of my doctoral studies seemed to be causing me confusion. I prayed for God's clear wisdom so that I would know what to do, where to go, and how to resolve the conflict (at work, and internally). I was frustrated over my lack of progress in school, fearful of finishing my last assignment, and feeling so very down about where I was personally, spiritually.
I thought it was hopeless, and that the oppression was going to win out. Then in a moment, my attitude changed, my vision cleared, and I began to "feel" better. I know we are not supposed to put faith in our feelings, but as human beings, emotional beings, we often succumb to our feelings. We are feeling people, and God created us to feel things. We are to be compassionate, empathetic, sympathetic. We are to be people who love God, and who love others because of God. How can we not live by feelings?
As I considered the fact that I was swimming in negative emotions, God reminded me of His purpose for my life. He gave me a renewed sense of hope so that I could focus and move through the turmoil and begin to see the brighter side of His will. Yes, I still have issues left to resolve; and no, the conflict didn't magically disappear. Nothing has really changed with my circumstances at all, but I can say that my attitude and my heart did change - and for the better.
God reminded me of His purpose for my life. He gave me a way out (as His Word always promises us). He helped me see through the clutter, and gave me light to find the open door. He showed me which way to go, and then He helped me get out of the rut and funk I was in, and to start moving forward. He is so very good, He is so very good.
Now I see what happened, and how I got myself into such a very bad spot. Some of the reasons fall on me - my willingness to participate in negative emotions (allowing them to sit with me rather than rejecting them and obeying the Word, calling us to be joyful and filled with thanksgiving); participating in the casting downward of my mental state, believing that God was not in control, and didn't have a handle on my current circumstances (believing Satan's lie to me); and lastly, taking my eyes off of the One who is calling me forward, and looking instead down at my feet (oh, I do it so often - haven't I learned this lesson yet?)
I gave the enemy permission to torment me, and I allowed him to push me, prick me, and generally punish me for things outside my control. In short, I took ownership of emotions, items, and other attitudes that really were not mine to begin with, and with which I needed to walk quickly and resolutely away.
New Light Has Dawned
I am sitting today in a new light. I feel refreshed, even though I didn't get enough sleep last night and my boys played havoc with me (pouncing, getting into trouble, generally being ornery cats). I made such good headway on my final proposal for my Com 700 class, and I enjoyed reading the scholarship on my topic of interest. I learned A LOT of very good information about intergroup communication and intergenerational communication. I came away with a new understanding of how important it is to have strong interpersonal relationship skill and ability, and especially how necessary it is for the Church to be able to communicate well with one another and the world. I found my niche, so to speak, the area of communication I feel the Lord wants me to focus on, and perhaps even study in depth. I am not certain if this is His plan for my dissertation, but I feel very strongly inclined to study it, and become a subject matter expert in this field.
Honestly, I didn't understand why God had called me to Regent University or why I was to study Communication. As a former Humanities and English graduate, I was interested in semiotics, language theory, and meaning (how we understand or comprehend language and meaning). I was also interested in social psychology and linguistics, and thought I wanted to become a Social Psychologist. The social science aspect of Psychology was scary to me -- and while I felt drawn to study this field of research -- I didn't think I could hack the scientific aspect of the discipline.
In my readings in preparation for completion of my proposal, I came to see how these interests are intertwined, and how they all fall under the very generous label of Communication. In fact, these are integral topics of scholarship, branched from their own disciplines, but being currently explored under the lens of interpersonal communication. God is so very good to me.
Now as I begin to see more clearly, I realize that God chose Regent's program because of it's traditional approach to the study of Communication (a side note -- God chose Mercy College for this same reason -- they approached Literature from a traditional view). Additionally, Regent is a school patterned and formed after God's own heart. They are in tune with the Holy Spirit's ministry and mission of evangelism, and they are actively seeking Christian scholars to participate in the dialogue of renewal (how the Holy Spirit is active and present in our world and guiding and directing our efforts -- predicated on the believer's willingness to allow Him that role, and to obey His guidance, etc.)
Moreover, I am grasping the significance of my interests and how they are currently being researched (very limited). I am seated at the intersection of scholarship where little exists, some is theorized, and much work is needed. I am in a very good place, a very good position, and I have ample opportunity to succeed. God is so very good to me.
With this in mind, I read my scholarly articles last night with great interest. Each proved to be exactly what I needed for reference, and will enable me to quickly complete my final proposal before Wednesday. I was concerned that I would have to fill out the proposal - strain to finish it. Instead, I see now that the work has already been done for me. I simply have to synthesize the various threads, pull them into a cohesive conclusion, and add my own research questions. Voila! I will be done.
I am not sure how God intends to use my study and research at Regent for His will, but I know that it is part of His plan for my life. I also know that while I have felt out of sorts, out of place, and out of balance; in reality, I have been right where God wanted me. I may have teetered at bit, but I am securely in the place of His choosing. God is so very good to me.
As I move forward in His will, I need to be mindful of this point. I am were He intends me to be. I am not lost, I am not off the mark. I am right in the place of His choosing, and His work is unfolding around me. I need to keep the distractions to a minimum, and I need to remember that conflict is unavoidable. We are human beings, after all, and we struggle to have interpersonal relationships built on solid interpersonal communication strategies. We are not good communicators. The blessing is that while we struggle with communication, we (believers) have within us the best Communicator in the universe. We have the Holy Spirit of God living within us, and He is by far the best communicator to guide, to teach, and to transform our speech and conduct (if we allow Him to do so). He can turn us into powerful communicators whereby we can reach our world, resolve conflict, and resonate His glorious message of love and reconciliation through our Master and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. God is so very good -- all the time He is Good.
Figuring Out the Next Steps
Now, I am poised to make my move. I know where I am to go, but not how I am to get there. I understand that God requires me to learn how to communicate better, and that through my study at Regent, I will become a SME (Subject-Matter Expert) in the field of Interpersonal Communication. I am to be a research scholar in this field, and to write on matters important to Him. I am to use my skill and ability as well as my training and research to impact the Church and ultimately the Kingdom with His message of love and reconciliation through Jesus Christ. I am to move forward focused 100% on His work. There is no other work, just this one task -- complete this PhD and become a SME in Interpersonal Communication. How He intends to use this for His Name is up to Him. I am to do the work, the tasks, the assignments; and I am to seek diligently to understand how to implement His pan. I can do this, I can do this -- not because I am smart; but because Jesus empowers me through the presence of the Holy Spirit -- and it is His will that I do it. Therefore, it is done. I have what I need to complete the program, and I lack nothing necessary to be successful. It is all wrapped up in Jesus, and I can walk boldly before Him knowing that He has me well-covered for any task, any assignment, any project I am asked to do. He is so very Good to me.
Lastly, while my home situation is not clear yet, I do know that God does care about where I live and work (job). He doesn't like that I suffer needlessly due to interpersonal conflict in my work place or that I am physically worn down due to stress and long hours. He cares about my well-being, and He doesn't want my current set of predicaments to keep me drained to where I cannot focus on His work. Therefore, if a new job is in order, a new job will be provided. If a move is required, then a move will be made. Nothing is outside of His control, and nothing is lacking in His understanding of my needs, wants and desires. He knows me well, and He loves me so very much.
I close now with the firm commitment to follow after Him completely. To live my life fully engaged, fully devoted, and fully committed to His work. There is no other focus for me, but this path, and the plans the Lord has for me. I am called to this work, and I am called to this appointment. Therefore, I must focus, and put on daily the armor of God so that I can withstand the attacks of the enemy -- an enemy determined to thwart the effectiveness of God's plan and purpose for my life.
My calling is sure, my commitment confirmed. I am certain of what I am to do, where I am to go, and how I am to do it. The rest is up to Him. I rest in His security and sufficiency. He is able to handle everything concerning His plan, His purpose, and His path. I do not need to be worried, concerned or doubting -- He has me well-covered, and I am good.
God is good to me. God is so very Good to me. God is GOOD ALL THE TIME.
Thank you, Lord Jesus -- you have given me the grace I needed to see this matter through and to understand your Will and purpose for my life. I am ready now to step out and to start moving forward. I look to your hand of provision and to your continued mercy and grace so that I can accomplish each task assigned to me. I do so with the knowledge that it is You who will be doing (completing, accomplishing) it through me. I rest in that knowledge, and I understand that I do not have to worry about the outcome. You do everything as it needs to be done -- you lack nothing, you miss nothing. Nothing will be missed - You have everything covered, and under control. I can rest, I can let go, and I can experience the joy and blessing of walking in your Word, living in your Way, and trusting in your Will. I give you praise today, and I thank you for the marvelous future you have planned for me. In your Name, I confess and pray -- giving thanks to you for your goodness and your grace. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah - pause and calmly think about it.