February 25, 2014

The long and short of it...

It's Tuesday, and I feel like a truck has slammed into my face. Yeah, spent the night dealing with a splitting headache/migraine only to wake up this morning with nausea and the feeling like I am going to die. Thank goodness for ADVIL, which works for me (in high doses). I don't take it often, but when I do, I TAKE it. It does work, and now after about an hour, I can feel the pain slowly releasing its grip on my neck, shoulders and head. I know that I suffer from tension headaches, and they always start in my shoulder's and move their way right up to the base of my neck. Then they sit at the base of the neck and make it impossible to lay down, roll over, or lean back on anything because the muscles are so tight that they react to any pressure placed on them.

Thank God, I am OK. Thank God that I don't suffer from true migraines (not that tension are not migraines as now they are considered cluster headaches and part of the migraine family). I have friends who get the kind that last for days on end, and where they cannot tolerate light and must be in a dark room for hours at a time. I have had those kind before, though I don't get them very often. I get tension headaches, have so since I was a child. I hate them, but they are a nuisance more so than any real worry.

Now that I have had some breakfast (finally able to tolerate some food), I have taken another dose of ADVIL. I am hoping that this will take the rest of the pain away so that I can concentrate on my work today. I have a lot on my schedule and the days are counting down to the end of the semester. I need to do everything scheduled or else I will get behind. The time is running out so I don't have the luxury of procrastination. However, I know that God is good. He is so very good to me. I know that He has a good plan and that I can rest in His provision for today and tomorrow.

I have been thinking more about my future and whether I am cut out to be a teacher. There is part of me that thinks this is the job I need to stick with, at the least, until I finish my PhD. I cannot imagine working full-time in any other job. I mean, I cannot imagine how I would do my school work and be an analyst (like the previous two jobs) or be an ed advisor (like at UOPX). I simply cannot see how I could work 40 hours per week, M-F, and then spend my evenings and weekends doing the homework and research required for this program. It is too much work, too intense, and too difficult to process. I am glad that I have T-R off each week and that I can use those days to do my school assignments. I am also glad that I teach one class on MWF. This allows me time to prep in the mornings so that I can spend the rest of my off time working on Regent work. It is a good schedule for me.

I am not making enough to live on, but God has been faithful to provide for me in other ways. I am hopeful that I will be able to teach more classes come fall as this will ensure I have more money to live on.

I have been thinking about the kinds of work I would like to do, and I am afraid that I cannot come up with anything other than being a professor. I mean, I have been a reproduction operator, a technical assistant, an administrative assistant, a computer operator, a contracts administrator, a preschool/gradeschool director (at church), a website designer, an educational advisor, and a communications analyst. Now I am adjunct faculty at a University. Is this my path? Is this the career focus I am supposed to have for the rest of my life? I think so. I think this is what God has in mind for me, even though I am not 100% satisfied with the work nor can I say that "I love my job" (I like it, but I am not passionate about it nor do I LOVE the work).

Is this OK? I mean, is it alright to do a job that you don't hate, but you don't love either? Is it OK to do a job that doesn't make a living, but accommodates your current needs (like part-time while in school?)

I guess I am wrangling with the idea that I need to work full-time in a job that earns a good living. I am, after all, over 50, and I have no financial plans in place for retirement. Is it OK to wait until I graduate from school to start saving for those senior years?

My issues stem from a lack of money, a lack of resources, and a need to provide for myself. While I know that God is my provider, and I say if often (He is faithful to provide), I still struggle with the thought that I don't have enough "X". I don't have enough time, money, rest, power, influence, skill, ability, etc. I don't have enough of anything to accomplish what I believe is His will. I simply do not have enough "X" to do everything He is called me to do.

Dear Lord,

I get it now. I see what you have been trying to show me these past few months. I cannot do this work at Regent. It is not for me to drop out and quit the program, but rather for me to see that I have all the talent, ability, motivation, etc. necessary to be a PhD student (my grades and writing got me through the door initially). I have what it takes to be a PhD student, however, I don't have what is necessary to succeed simply because of all the other factors in my life:
  • my age (51)
  • my marital status (single)
  • my responsibilities (son and parents)
  • my job or lack thereof (income, financial stability)
  • my physical ability (my CFS and Fibromyalgia)
  • my emotional weariness (from years of stress)
I am, in short, a poor candidate for success because I am old, washed up, tired, worn out, and unable to do much of anything physically anymore. I am the worst candidate for a doctoral program.

Yet -- you have chosen me for this path. I am completely unable to do this work on my own, but you can do it through me. You can see me through the coursework, through the research projects, and the exams. You can do it all, so long as it is on your time, your bill, your plan. And, Praise be to God, it is. You are doing all this because you desire to do it. You have chosen me as this broken, flawed, failed instrument or vessel, and you are doing an amazing work despite everything that is ME.

I come before you now and I rest, Lord. I rest. I get it. I understand that I cannot do this work. I cannot keep up with the demands of the program and try to manage my home life. I cannot be a professor unless you determine that I am to be a professor. I know, some will say, "Of course, you can! You can be anything you want to be if you try hard enough or sacrifice enough." Perhaps for some, but not for me. I am too far down that road now, and I cannot do this work without supernatural power and filling from the Holy Spirit. It is He who empowers me to stay focused, to complete the assignments, to fulfill the requirements of each course I take. He does it all because it pleases Him to do so.

Therefore, Lord, I let this go. I let it all go, and I rest in your Name. I know you have me covered, so well covered, and for that I am thankful to you.

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