June 16, 2014

Disovering My Purpose

I am so GLAD to be home today! Oh, I cannot tell you how nice it is to wake up in your own bed (with your own pillow) after a very long week on the road. I love to travel, mind you, and I love visiting Regent University each summer, but there is part of me that is just a home girl -- I love being at home. I love my things, my home, my cats, my family, my job, etc. I love being home and being here brings me the sweetest rest and relaxation. I think this is the Lord's doing (well, I know it is) because He knows me so well. He understands that part of "being me" is the part that needs to be safe and protected. He is my protector, of course, and He is the one who provides that safe, secure place for me to live. He also knows that for me safety isn't about physical harm, but rather it is about being in a secure place, a place of comfort, and a place of peace. Yes, peace is what I seek most, and peace is what I need to rest and to recharge my batteries, so to speak. I need His peace in every area of my life, and it is His peace that surrounds me and provides that source of comfort.

The photo above speaks volumes to me. I just spent six days of non-stop fellow-shipping with colleagues and professors at Regent. As an INTJ personality type, I am introverted and while not anti-social by any means, I do get overwhelmed with conversation and the constant social-hum of being with a large group of people. Some other personality types crave this sort of socialness, but for me, I tolerate it. I enjoy being with my colleagues from school, and I love my soul-sisters to pieces, but at some point, I have to step away and relax and recharge myself. It becomes all too much for my senses, and I need peace and quiet.

My home life is peaceful and it is very quiet. I love the fact that my house noise is generally quiet. Yes, my son does play music, and I do hear drums as well as piano, but generally speaking, there is a sense of quietness that pervades our home. I love that I can sit in my room (as I am now) and type on my blog without any interruption. My folks are in the family room and they have guests in town (from VA). I was out there visiting, and when the conversation changed, I skipped out so I could get back in my room. I know that I can sit here and just be me. I don't have to try and be a super conversationalist. I don't have to be anything other than me. God is good, and He knows me well. He loves me completely, and He provides for my every need. He knows that I need peace and quiet, and that I love to be able to sit and reflect. I need quiet to reflect. I need quiet to read and to write and to study. He knows me, and I love this fact!!

This past week has made me think about my purpose in life and in ministry. I would have said that pre-Regent University, I knew exactly what the Lord wanted me to do with my life. I felt confident that the Holy Spirit had communicated my direction and my purpose clearly -- to the point -- where I was able to understand that I needed to go to Regent for a PhD in Communication. Even when I started my PhD program, I still felt confident that I was on the correct path, following His will, and seeking to conform to His plans and His desires for my education.

Yes, I admit that I thought getting a PhD was all about me. I went into the program saying "this is the Lord's work" but behaving as though is was all about my wants, my needs, and my desires. Yes, I also believed that the courses I would take would fulfill me in some way, teach me some new truth, and show me what God wanted me to do. My first year was the "me year," the year of learning how to be a doctoral student, conduct research and figure out my path through courses and the degree program.

Year two is "His year" or the year when I come to realize that I am at Regent for His Name and His Glory. Yes, I still do the work, the research, the readings, the assignments -- but I am here for His purpose. I am learning how my program fits His plan for my life, and how I am to use the coursework and the research to further the goals He has in mind for me.

Third year will be the year when I come into my own as a research scholar, and when I learn how everything works to move me forward into the life He has prepared for me.

So what have I learned from Year 2? I have learned that I am uniquely designed, and that God has called me to fulfill a very specific purpose. I am my own person, and what I study, and how I study it will be reflective of my personality. I have some amazing colleagues, some colleagues who are phenomenal writers, and who just "get" how to do scholarly research. I have colleagues who spend hours and hours researching and writing, and who will stay up for hours finishing awesome and excellent papers. I cannot do this anymore. I cannot write this way. I can write the way I do write, and I can research and study in a way that works for me. I guess what I am saying is that I have realized that there is no competition anymore. I am here at Regent for His will and His purpose, and that means that everything I do is to bring honor to His Name. I am not to seek comparison or glory in any way, shape or form. I am to do what He asks me to do, to follow His way, and to accomplish His work. It is all for Him, all for Him.

My purpose therefore has been clarified. I know my purpose now, and I see how it all fits together in His overarching will for my life. I know what I am to do, and how I am to do it. I give Him the praise and the honor and the glory for the work He is doing through me.

Psalm 24
A psalm of David.

1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.
    The world and all its people belong to him.
2 For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas
    and built it on the ocean depths.

3 Who may climb the mountain of the Lord?
    Who may stand in his holy place?
4 Only those whose hands and hearts are pure,
    who do not worship idols
    and never tell lies.
5 They will receive the Lord’s blessing
    and have a right relationship with God their savior.
6 Such people may seek you
    and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob. Interlude

7 Open up, ancient gates!
    Open up, ancient doors,
    and let the King of glory enter.
8 Who is the King of glory?
    The Lord, strong and mighty;
    the Lord, invincible in battle.
9 Open up, ancient gates!
    Open up, ancient doors,
    and let the King of glory enter.
10 Who is the King of glory?
    The Lord of Heaven’s Armies—
    he is the King of glory. Interlude

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