January 12, 2015

Moving to New Places

It is one of those days again. Yes, it is one of those days where I wake up with this sensation that the Lord has moved me from my place of comfort and complacency to a new and somewhat uncomfortable spot. I feel out of sorts, off-kilter, and off-balance. It is not a horrible "oh-my-goodness-what-in-the-world-is happening-to-me" kind of feeling, but rather it is more like I am looking out the window, and I am seeing unfamiliar surroundings. Let me explain...

The past couple days have been rough for me. I can't really put words to the details, but suffice it to say, I have felt like I have been straddling a teeter-totter. Yes, I have felt like I am in the midst of a balancing act, just trying to keep both sides of the totter parallel to the ground. It is not that I feel completely unwell, it is more so that I feel tired of trying to keep everything managed. I think a big part of the way I am feeling right now is stress over school starting, teaching contracts beginning, and the cadence of the load is a bit off, a bit uneven (like when you start to pull a heavy load and there is a bit of jerking motion before you begin walking in stride). I also know that my worries about the future are causing some concern --and the demands of caring for my parents -- next steps, the what-ifs, and the plans the Lord may have for me, are weighing heavy on my mind and in my spirit. Then there is this feeling of overwhelm coupled with exhaustion. I tend to get overwhelmed easily, especially when the workload is heavy. The Lord sustains me, but this time around, I do feel a bit more tired than usual. I think it is part of the grind more than anything else -- considering I am completing my second year of studies -- and from what I have been told, year 2 is the hardest when it comes to sustaining confidence and discipline. Yes, I could probably sum up all my feelings by saying that I am a tired 2nd Year Doctoral student and adjunct Professor. Anyone who is or who has walked in these same steps would heartily agree that it is normal to feel overwhelmed and exhausted!

I know that my life, the details and the circumstances of my life, are modestly challenging when compared to some of my friends and colleagues who are struggling with major life events (death of a spouse, serious illness, challenges with raising children, loss of job, etc.) My life seems "peachy-keen" in comparison. Yet, in truth, my life feels a bit pinched right now. As I said, I cannot put words to details because it is not as if I can point my finger at the event and say "A Ha! This is the offender!" It is more of a feeling, a sensation that my life is being manipulated by an outside source, and the result is a feeling of being moved. Yes, I believe the Lord is moving again...

In the past, the Lord has moved me by shifting my physical position on His marvelous grid of Grace. I know, a mouthful of words, but what I mean is that in my mind, I see the Lord as a Master Chessman, as the King who plays chess and who carefully considers each and every move on the board. When He moves one of His players, He has carefully thought out the move, anticipating the resultant action of His opponent. The chess piece moves where the King desires, and the game is played match by match. The chess piece doesn't say to the King "hey, I don't think that is a good move" because the chess piece can only see the board from his lowly perspective. The King sees the entire board, and He knows His opponent well. He has sized him up well, and He knows the moves He makes at various points in the match. Yes, I feel as though my King has moved my piece into a new block on the grid, and I am feeling the heat and the pressure of the opponent as he moves in to counter the action.

Today as I was praying about my situation, and I was thinking about all that I have to do this week, the Lord gently reminded me that He is in control of my life -- of all the details associated with my life. I spent some time in the Word, and the Lord pressed upon me Psalm 106 for consideration and meditation. As I read through Psalm 106, I couldn't help but think about the words of the Psalmist as he recounted the experiences of the tribes of Israel in the Wilderness after the Lord brought them out of Egypt. Yes, how many times have I been reminded of the hardheartedness of the children of Israel when they grumbled in the desert? Too many for certain, too many! The Lord was reminding me clearly of how He remained faithful to His chosen people EVEN when they couldn't see the blessing of His provision. They only saw things from their vantage point, which in truth, looked pretty bleak and hostile. God was faithful, however, and He provided what they needed, when they needed it. Moreover, God gave specific instruction to them on what they were to do, how they were to live, where they were to go in order to provide for His people. We know the story well -- we know that the Israelites didn't do what the Lord commanded, and in stead, followed after their own wisdom (and folly). They suffered at the hands of their enemy because they didn't do what God told them to do, and as a result, the blessing was replaced with correction, as the outcome of their disobedience.

I thought about Psalm 106 for a time this morning, and I prayerfully considered if I had been disobedient to the Lord in any way. I mean, could this be what I am experiencing right now? I thought about it, and I wondered why the Lord would choose to remind me of the Israelites and their folly in the wilderness right at this moment -- when I felt so overwhelmed, so exhausted, and so uncomfortable.

Then it dawned on me. Of course, it made perfect sense to me. You see, I am in that same place, that wilderness experience right now, and it is easy for me to feel the panic, the dread, and the fear of not knowing what is next or where my provision will come from. Yes, I believe the Lord is my provider. He is Jehovah-Jireh -- the Lord will see to it, the Lord will provide. In my weakness, and with my faulty eyesight (literally and figuratively), I see that I am being moved by the Almighty King who has carefully considered my path, my way. He knows His opponent well, and He knows where He desires I move on His great chess board. He knows that His opponent is moving in, circling around me, but that ultimately the King will win. I might feel pressured right now, and I might think that the King doesn't really know what He is doing -- but my perspective is skewed, my eyesight is limited. The Lord knows what He is doing, and He has His plans well considered and well played. He knows where He intends for me to go, and He has made His move.

So while I feel out of sorts, and overwhelmed (and exhausted), the Lord knows that I must rest in the assurance that everything is as it should be, that the plans of the Lord are in motion, and that the outcome will be as He desires it to be. I look to Him, and I must wait. In fact, this is what I hear Him saying to me "Wait, Carol. Be patient. Rest in me. Trust me."

Oh, Lord, why can I not rest, why can I not let you be?

Today is a good day, a very good day. While I woke up feeling as though my little slice of the world was spinning out of control, I know that my feelings are not accurate indicators of reality. Yes, this is true. What I feel is not always true.

So today, I rest in the knowledge that the Lord knows what He is doing with my life. I may not feel perfect or as if I am in control, but I know (no, I must believe and have faith) that the Lord is in control. He does know what He is doing in me and through me this very good day. Praise be to God, He knows what He is doing. God is good, all the time. All the time, He is good.

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