It is a blessed Sunday, and I am sitting at my computer contemplating writing a three-page response to one of my peer's final papers. Yes, it is due today, and I am feeling mad at myself for waiting so long (I had all week) to write it. Now, it is due (at midnight), and I am feeling that panic set in. I hate it when I procrastinate, and for some reason, this semester I have procrastinated far more than usual. I would say that I do tend to procrastinate often, but usually I get my work done. I put off until the last minute only when I feel that I do so with reasonable assurance that I will still be successful in the end. This semester has been so trying, so difficult, and at times, so downright disappointing to me that I think I have settled into that place of wanting to give in, give up, and just get on with my life. I know that this is what my colleagues call the "doctoral burnout" phase. This phase happens mid-stream in a long and intensive doctoral program. It is the point when you are too far in to quit, but not far enough to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is when you say to yourself "I don't care about these courses, I don't care about my grades, and I don't care about this degree." Yes, it is true. I have cried to the Lord and said those very same words. More than once.
Yet, I carry on, and I continue to plod forward because I know that He has called me to this specific work. Still, I struggle with time management, with the demands of work and school, and with the desires for living (again!) For so long I have been focused on the business at hand. I had no social life, no friendships, no outside interests. I had my work, my school, my family, and my Lord. I was single-minded and devoted to the Lord and His work. I had blinders on, the kind they put on race horses, and I was running full steam ahead toward that finish line, the goal of getting this degree and starting a new and an exciting career as a Professor. Now, I am experiencing the burn of stress and overload AND I have the blessing of a new friendship that brings me sweet reward and joy. I look at my hard work and while I love what the Lord is doing in me and through me, I think sometime "does it really matter?" Sometimes I think how much easier it would be to have a good job and a good life. Free time to spend with friends and family. Down time to enjoy the blessing of REST!
Of course, that question is a rhetorical one. Of course, the answer is a resounding YES!
Nonetheless, I feel pulled in so many directions now and I am struggling to remain a sense of composure, a sense of control. What does this mean for me, for my life?
I found this graphic online today and it speaks volumes to me. I struggle so with losing control, and I work so hard to maintain composure, to keep everything working as it should. Today, I sense this loss of control and composure. I feel so undone, so completely undone. I am struggling to put one foot in front of the other, and to find my way forward. I am floundering, floundering BIG time, and I feel so lost and so out of the "zone."
So as I sit here today and think about why I am afraid, this verse pops into my head. Joshua 1:9 is the classic verse that reminds us that the Lord is always with us. He has not left my side nor is He far from me. He is with me and wherever I go (in His will), He will go with me.
I think about why I am afraid today, why I am feeling so completely out of control. I know why, of course, I do. The Lord has told me as much, and He has said for me to be "prepared." Yes, the Lord is good to me, so very good to me. Whenever I feel Him telling me to go or I sense that He is moving in my life, immediately upset occurs. Now granted, I have felt overwhelmed this entire semester, but this week as been especially trying for me. Yesterday, in particular, I heard the Lord speaking into my heart and mind and telling me to be prepared because He had moved in my life. I have experienced this movement before (and blogged about it) so I do know what to expect. The issue is that no matter how many times the Lord speaks to me and tells me to be prepared for change, guess what? I still find myself spinning out of control and feeling so upside down. Yes, I should know better. I should know that I need to hunker down and brace myself for CHANGE. Normally, I feel this sense of powerlessness and then change occurs in my life. Something will happen, something will begin or end. Change will come and for a time, I will be unsettled, uncomfortable while He moves me ever so slightly to the left or the right. Sometimes the feelings that come with change are not so strong. Perhaps I am used to little changes like these and now I don't react as much. It is the BIG changes that the Lord causes in my life that rock my little world and knock me off balance. I am anticipating a major change in my life very soon, and already I am feeling the unsteadiness of being moved by the Lord.
As the Lord moves in my life one thing is certain --> change is about to happen. As I experience this unsettling feeling, this uncomfortable place, I know that I will be facing some big obstacles soon. These obstacles will not shift on their own, no. These obstacles will be moved by the hand of the Lord only. He will go before me to prepare a place for me, the place of His choosing, and these roadblocks, hindrances, and mountains seem so unscalable. The Lord knows that where He is calling me to go, where He is sending me, I am not able to go on my own. I do not have the way mapped out, the plan in place nor the provision at the ready. He does, of course, and He is moving me into the path for me to follow Him to this place. I wrote yesterday that I have felt the Lord calling me to move. This feeling has not diminished, but I am uncertain as to the outcome (where will I go, Lord?) I feel a pull toward IL, but until He opens that door, I am stuck right where I am here in Phoenix. I will wait upon the Lord, patiently wait for Him to complete this move, and then He will let me know what to do. Until then, I wait, I wait, and I wait.
What does this mean for me today? How do I handle these intense feelings of discomfort, these fears I am feeling, and these BIG unknowns?
Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD God is the eternal Rock.
Consider Abraham: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as
righteousness." Understand, then, that those who believe are children
of Abraham. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles
by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations
will be blessed through you." So those who have faith are blessed along
with Abraham, the man of faith.
1 Chronicles 16:11
Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will
renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run
and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Yes, I go to the Word and I find the answer to my fear. I must TRUST the Lord completely. I must REST in faith believing the He is God. I must WAIT upon the Lord to lead the way through this difficult time. I must KNOW that the Word of the Lord is true.