February 27, 2015

Going the Distance

I woke up this morning feeling groggy and uncomfortable. I can't really explain it other than to say I slept very hard, and I don't think that I had "restorative sleep" all night. I tossed and turned a bit before settling in sometime after midnight. My mind was racing, and it was filled with thoughts about life, work, school, etc. I guess you could say I was preoccupied when I laid down, and it took a couple of hours of fitful turning before my mind settled down and began to rest.

The morning broke early for me, which is to say, that sometime around 5 or 5:30, I was awakened by my cat as he pounced on the bed, bright-eyed and cheery, hoping to get me up so he would be fed. I growled something, and rolled over, only to hear the sound of my Mom's voice down the hallway calling to both cats. My Mom wakes up chipper and cheerful, she always has, so her morning voice has a particular ring to it. I heard her as her feet toddled down the hallway, and I knew that I had been given a reprieve of cat feeding duties. Mom would take care of it this morning, like she does almost every other morning. Thank you, Lord, for my 81 year old Mom and her early rising habits!

When I finally did wake up, and make a move toward getting out of bed, it was nearly 10 a.m. After the early escapade with the cats, I fell into that deep REM sleep that never seems to restore you to vitality, but rather, drains all energy from you. I know I dreamed a dozen dreams in that short period of time. They were a mass jumble of short stories, all merged together into one very long stream of consciousness. I don't remember the details, but I do remember waking up hard, feeling like someone punched me. In truth, I felt like I had run a long distance race. I was hard pressed, out of breath, and generally, exhausted from the experience.

I am not sure why this verse in Hebrews bubbled up in my mind today, but it did. Perhaps it was because of my hard night or the fact that right now I am so wanting to stay home and just rest. I don't know, but for whatever reason, this is the verse that is on my mind right now. In Hebrews 12:1 we read,

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us."

Perhaps my thoughts are filled with work, with family, and with other responsibilities, and this is the reason this verse comes to mind today. I do have a lot on my plate, a lot, but so far the Lord has provided for me. I have completed all my assignments at Regent, and I have kept up with my teaching duties at GCU. I am in a good place right now, a very good place. Perhaps it is because I am in that good place (good places seems to be a prime time for sin issues) that I must take heed. Yes, perhaps my thoughts are running toward this verse as a warning to remind me to remain faithful, to stay alert, and to not give in to temptation. 

I know that right now I am in the midst of a major life change. I am about to embark on a career move, a life move, that will alter my path, and change the expected outcome. Should the Lord choose to move me to Auburn, what will happen longterm is unknown, but certainly it is a far cry from the expected outcome that exists by remaining in Phoenix. Yep, so true, so true. For example, should I stay in Phoenix, what can I expect to come from my life over the next one, two or more years? 
  • For one, I can expect to remain at GCU indefinitely as an adjunct English instructor. Yep, this is all I can expect from a career at this school. Don't get me wrong, I love teaching at GCU, but the likelihood of a full time position there is slim to nil.
  • Second, I could leave GCU and look for work at other schools in the area. My chances for full-time work are still about the same. I cannot teach full-time in English because my PhD will be in Communication. My teaching experience is in Literature and Composition and some Communication, but I don't teach public speaking, org comm or some of the other big comm courses in the major.
  • Third, I could step out of my role as teacher and instead go back into corporate work. I could possibly find full-time employment in some capacity, but not within my field of interest or one that aligns with my higher education.
I would need to find a job starting in June, for sure. I cannot go another year as adjunct, so I have to have a full-time position that will start as soon as my teaching contracts end. If I cannot find full time work, I do have 3 classes scheduled for fall and potentially one more over at ACU -- so 4 total. Still, I need benefits and I need income. Should my parents need to move into an assisted or independent living complex, then I will need to move from this rental home. I cannot afford to live here on my own, even with a good income. So in short, I need:
  1. A full time job that pays well
  2. Potentially a new place to live, one that I can afford on my own
With that in mind, it seems that no matter how I "slice-and-dice" it up, I will need to move someplace, either physically from my home or from my city. I will need to give up teaching part-time for teaching full-time or for a full-time job doing something that aligns with my area of expertise and my education.

I need these two things to come to pass sometime this summer, before August, for sure. I need them to come to pass sooner rather than later so I can decline the contracts offered at GCU. I don't want to take the contracts and then rescind them especially if I know I will be interviewing and possibly moving to a different career.

The job I have applied for at Auburn is a full-time program administrator position. It aligns with my field, my area of interest and my previous experience. While my level of education is not required, it is recommended, so my PhD is just a bonus to the department. The job is within the Office of Writing at the University, and in truth, I don't think you can match me up any better considering that I am teaching writing, studying Rhetoric, and have significant technology experience, namely website design. I have what they want in spades. My hope is that they consider it the way I do. I pray they see me as the ideal candidate.

Of course, moving means leaving my family. It also means interrupting my son's education. Neither are insurmountable issues. My parents could move into a smaller place. They are ready for it, they have discussed it, and financially they need to do it. My son understands that his final year in school might mean living in the dorms. It is not a terrible choice, and frankly, it would do him good to live away from home for a year (perhaps help him mature a bit).

My relationship with my love is near this job so that is a bonus to me -- just puts me a wee bit closer to the one I think the Lord has provided to me. I don't know what will come of this relationship, but I feel certain that the Lord has given me the go ahead to consider moving closer to where he lives.

Therefore, I see a possible road ahead of me and it looks like it is an easy path to follow. The path I am on now is difficult, and it appears that there is a road block up ahead. I believe the Lord is diverting me to a different path for a different outcome. He is moving me, shifting me over, so that I can experience a different way of life.

My heart is racing, my mind is filled with doubts, with fears, with uncertainties; yet, I am confident that this is the way the Lord is directing me to go. I am to go this way. I am to stay on this path. I am to go the distance, so to speak, and to remain fixed on the goal at hand. As the writer of Hebrews reminds us "to strip off every weight that slows us down" so that we can run the race with endurance. Yes, some of the weight that slows us down is sin, but often the weight that we carry is excess burden, baggage, and business that we refuse to set down. We must let go of everything that causes us to tarry, to stumble, or to falter. We must run this race of faith to win, and that means to run like the wind.

Dear Lord,

As I consider this day today, I thank you for all that you have provided to me. I thank you for the path you have placed before me, and for the encouragement from Hebrews to run the race with endurance and faith. May I run now, unencumbered with all the burden, baggage, and business that I have held onto so tightly. May I run freely, and with hopeful expectancy of your goodness, your mercy, and your grace.

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