January 21, 2014

Learning how to trust again

I am back to square one, again. Yes, this trust business is going to be the end of me. I make such great strides forward, trusting the Lord, waiting on Him for His provision, and then wham! I am knocked off my feet (by my own doing) to the point where I find myself sitting in the dirt, wondering how I got to be in such a dirty place (LOL!) Praise be to God, for He is good all the time -- He never leaves us, He never forgets us.

I am so frustrated today, and I have been feeling this way the past few days. What a shame considering the long MLK Jr. holiday weekend!

How much time will I waste sitting in the dirt because I refuse to believe the Word of the Lord?

Ok, so this time is different (well yes and no). I am thankful for my teaching position at GCU. I am thankful that I have this position and that God opened the door for me to teach this spring. I am thankful for the opportunity to teach -- to teach at all -- considering that I believed I would never ever become a teacher because of my age, my recent degree, and my lack of experience in the field. God moved, and He made a way. I am where I am today because He made it happen.

Why is it then so difficult to believe that He will do that again, when I need a full-time teaching position?

I am sitting here today thinking about my financial situation. I am panicked over the lack of money coming in to me. This is exactly what happened to me last semester, when after a month at GCU, I up and packed it in so that I could take a full-time position. I was miserable, completely miserable at this new job, and I longed for the release and freedom of working at GCU. So here I am -- third week in the semester, panicking over the same issue -- not making enough money to cover my bills, fearful of the unknowns, and thinking how will I ever make it as a teacher. The even weirder thing is that last November when I walked away from the good paying job I took in place of GCU, I walked away feeling the freedom of the decision (realizing my mistake and returning to GCU for spring 2014). As a result, I spent the entire month of December not working, and loving every single minute of it. I cherished my four weeks off, and I looked forward to my class this spring.

What has changed for me? Why so down?

I should state that I passed my first Quantitative Research methods lab with full points (whoohoo!) I also should state that I am finding the course difficult, but not anymore difficult than any of my other doctoral classes. In short, the class is the same level as all my other courses. I believed or led myself to believe that it was going to be so hard that I would barely pass or worse yet, fail it completely. Yet here I sit and I am able to say that I am on top of the course work, having completed all my DQs for last week, and now resting today (no school). God is so Good to me. He has provided four wonderful days off so that I could rest and be caught up on Regent as well as design my next module of teaching material for GCU.

Truthfully, what is wrong with me?

God has moved, I know it, I feel it. Whenever He moves, things change in my life. I get off-balanced for a while, and I panic. I know this, He knows this, and I suffer through the changes until I can get myself squared away and back to feeling well (settled). I hate this feeling, and while I have come to learn to appreciate these movements in my life (for they signal change that brings hope, options for new paths, and a refined sense of direction and purpose), I do not like the way the change makes me feel.

I need to be in control. The short of it. The point, the sharp-end of the stick. I need control, and when I am not in control, I panic. It is my INTJ personality (yes, so true), and my need to be perfect in everything I do (yes, so true).

How in the world is the Lord able to deal with me? 

I am such a bother to Him, and I frustrate Him (I am certain of it) on a daily, even a minute-by-minute basis. Yes, I know it is so. The good news of course is the GOOD NEWS! I am loved despite my personality and my panic attacks. He knows me. He loves me. And, He understands me. Praise be to God, He understands me. I am thankful that my God understands all the weird quirks and difficulties that are part-and-parcel with being Me. He is good, so very good. All the time, He is Good to me!

Looking forward is better than looking backward.

I think I read that somewhere online. It is always better to keep your eyes open and your face pointed toward your future, than to constantly revisit the past (which as we all know, cannot be changed). The future, however, is bright with promise, and filled with hopeful optimism. It is not written yet, it is open, and it can be changed. Our attitude and our willingness to experience opportunity will enable us to explore new avenues and welcome change. Our hesitancy and our unwillingness to let go of what is behind us, will keep us stuck, unable to move forward, and unable to take advantage of open doors.

I find that my issue is less with hesitancy, and more with letting go. I want to experience the blessings of God. I want to go where He is sending me. And, most importantly, I believe He has plans that are excellent, wonderful, and well-suited to me. In essence, He has designed a future that fits me well. For me to experience that future, I have to let go. I have to, like Peter, step outside the boat, and walk on the water toward Jesus (Matt. 14:22-33).

I trust the Lord so long as I am safely inside the boat. For me, that boat represents all the material security I have and will need. It is a life constructed of material possessions, and supported by a career and bi-monthly income. And, while I believe, and I do believe, that God provides the material support to me (the Word says that all good gifts come from the Father), when the material support falls short or runs low, I panic. Now granted, my material support has not run low in over four years. Hard as that may sound, but it is true. The Lord provided financial support to me from the moment I found myself single, and He has provided for me for every instant since that time. He has provided for my education. He has provided multiple jobs. He has provided love-gifts from friends and family to help support me in transition. He provided housing, a car, musical instruments, clothing, savings, etc. My life is full to overflowing because He has provided for me.

Why then am I so afraid to let go of the boat and walk on the water toward my Savior?

Is it because I don't believe He can provide (He has shown me consistently that He can and does provide for me)? Is it because I believe that He provided in the past, but He will change His mind, and not provide in the future (so far this line of thinking has not been borne out)? Is it based on works then, my works (obedience, faithfulness, etc.)? Or is it simply because I am listening to a lie of the enemy and I am not believing the Word of the Lord?

Yes, it is the latter. I have not seen the Lord fail me yet. He has provided for every need up to this point, and there have been many needs thus far. He has been faithful to me, always with me, and always showing me which way to go. He has never let go of my hand, He has never left me to sort things out on my own. He has told me what to do, where to go, and how to do whatever needs doing. I have found favor, success, goodwill, and blessing -- I have experienced a rich life filled with wonderful blessings. Will He stop now? And if He does, will it be because I have disappointed Him?

If He chooses to stop blessing me now it will be because He has chosen to do so (though nothing I have seen says this is the way He treats His Children) and not because I have disappointed Him. Frankly, I already did that, and there is nothing I could ever do to change His feelings on that matter. In fact, I couldn't make it up to Him, so He did the unthinkable and sent His Only Son to pay the price for my disobedience and disappointing attitude, behavior, and nature. Yes, He already took care of that part, for the Word tells us that there is nothing I can do to save myself (now or ever) because the Gift of Grace is FREE, always FREE!

Therefore, logically thinking this all through, if God is faithful and He Word tells us so, then He is faithful completely through and through His very being. His Nature is to be Faithful and True (Rev. 19:11). The enemy wants me to suffer, and he knows that if he can get me to start thinking that the blessing I have received is because of my own works, then I will surely begin to doubt my abilities and panic over my lack of resources. However, if I remember that it is not I who do this work, but the Lord Jesus Christ, and then I remember that all the blessing I have experienced is because of His Work, then the only character to be called into question would be that of God's character and nature. I think that battle of the mind has already been won.

The logical conclusion is that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is the same, and according to His Nature, He is Good. He is Faithful and He is True. His promises are sure. I can rest in the knowledge that He is who He is, and that His outward characteristics (goodness, mercy, compassion, love, etc.) are directly flowing from His inner Nature. God is Good through and through. There is no shadow, no turning. He is who He is, and I can rest in that assurance. He will never leave me, nor will he forsake me. I am safe in the boat, and I am safe in the water. God is with me. He has me covered, and I am good.

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