June 1, 2014
It is a good Sunday to stay at home and rest. Truthfully, I am a little under the weather, and I am not feeling 100% today. I hope it is not some virus because I cannot be sick this week. I have so much work to do this week, and I cannot afford to be sick! Lord willing, I will feel better later today, and I can get started on my assignments due this week and next. God is good. He knows the timing of all these things, and He will provide the strength and countenance for me to be successful in them.
As I consider my day, I am reminded of the Psalm above. I know that I have a lot of work to do right now, and if I focus on the tasks, at times they overwhelm me. I know the Lord has good plans for my life, and I know that He is faithful to provide everything I need to accomplish them. There are times, however, when I feel like the weight of this work is too much for me. Sometimes I think about how much easier it would it be if I only worked and didn't do school. When I was at CVS Caremark, before doctoral studies, I was able to take my weekends and relax. I was able to hang out, shop, or visit with friends without thinking constantly about looming deadlines. Working full-time and going to school is hard. Working full-time and going to graduate school is even harder.
I know I have said this before, but there is a huge difference in intensity between getting a graduate degree (Masters level) and a PhD. I knew the work would be harder, and I knew the time commitment would be more than when I was completing my Masters program. I just didn't know what to expect or what the experience would be like. I wasn't prepared for this level of work.
You have to WANT a PhD to be successful in the program. I am not getting my PhD because I want it, per se, I am getting the degree because I believe I need it. In truth, I have wanted a PhD for a long time, a very long time (almost 20 years). To be successful at this level you have to really want it, to conceptualize it, and to believe it is valuable to you before you can even start the process of getting accepted into a doctoral study program. Then once you are in the program, you have to devote 100% of your time to focus on the required course work, the research, and the scholarly papers.
It is not a program for the fainthearted, and it is not something you can do part-time. You have to be committed to it, to the work, and to the outcome. And, you have to give up 5-7 years of your life while you are working on the program. It is not an 18-month intensive -- it is a long, drawn out, complicated, and directed program. You cannot approach it like any other kind of graduate degree. You have to really give yourself to it. When I think about the work I am doing in school, I consider how much it matters to me, and how much I love the work itself. I remember that this work is special, it is planned and it is purposed. It is the work I am called to do, and it is the work the Lord desires for me to complete.
There are days, however, when I think the work is too hard. There are days when I think the course content is boring, is difficult, or is not worth the effort. Then there are days when I know that I am right where I need to be, right where I am supposed to be on the path for my life. Today is one of "those days." I feel overwhelmed, and I feel I am spinning my wheels by not making enough headway on my research. Yet, there is this feeling inside of me that says to me "I have you covered. You are well covered." God knows me best, and I believe that Psalm 32:8 is true. God is directing me in the "best pathway for my life." He leads me on, and He knows where He is taking me. I rest in that fact because my feelings are telling me otherwise. I trust in Him and in His good Name. He is good, so very good. All the time, He is good.