June 14, 2015

Blessed Sunday!

I read a quote from Oprah Winfrey today. She said, "The smallest change in perspective can transform a life." She went on to ask how an attitude adjustment (e.g., yours or mine) might change the world? Now, granted, I don't consider Oprah Winfrey as giving Godly advice most of the time (her views are very skewed left), but this time I think what she said was good practical advice. Let me explain...

This past week my attitude toward my residency at Regent was painfully lacking. The truth be told, I was miserable from the moment I got on the air plane in Phoenix to the time I got off in Norfolk, VA. It didn't matter that I fell coming down the Jetway at Reagan National last Saturday (bruising both knees) or that I spent most of the entire week fretting over the cost of everything (from the air fare to car rental to hotel to food). Yes, my attitude suffered from the get-go, and it didn't improve until I had safely landed back in Phoenix yesterday afternoon. My attitude was, in short, poor. I felt miserable every day while at school, even when I tried to put on a "happy face," the truth was clearly evident. I wasn't happy to be on campus or was I happy to be away from home.

I love Regent University. I love everything about Regent University. Yes, I even love dear old Pat Robertson, and CBN, and the 700 Club. I love my program, my professors, and my pursuit of a PhD in Communication. I love everything related to, supporting of, and blessed because of Regent University's School of Communication and the Arts. Regent isn't really the problem, per se. It is more so my life right now seems to be stalled in low gear and as much as I would like to get moving forward at a faster pace, I am simply forced to stay still. I don't like feeling this way, feeling the pressure, the crunch, or the fear of what is unknown (over there on the other side of my schooling). You see, I am almost finished with my courses. This means that come December, I will be ready to take my exams and to advance to candidacy in my program. I will be "ready" to graduate, pending my dissertation defense, and then I will be a full-fledged PhD (no longer a wanna-be, but the "real deal"). That thought excites me and scares me all at the same time. I mean, I am at the precipice, almost at the top of my program (as if one is scaling a mountain). I am almost finished, and I am overwhelmed, undone, and feeling oh-so unworthy right now!

Reality-check. Perception and attitude adjustment.

Yes, Oprah's words ring true today. I am facing a giant, a Goliath sized giant, and I am feeling like the Israelites who chose to hunker down and cower at the sheer size of their opponent. I am not acting like David, the little brother, who saw the giant rightly, and who used cunning foresight, and a plunky spirit to bring him down. I am feeling afraid -- afraid of everything that is ahead of me -- and I am allowing that fear to control my thoughts, my feelings, and my attitude.

This morning I woke up feeling so relieved, relieved to be home, relieved to be in my own bed, and relieved to be back where everything is familiar, is good, is safe. I like travelling, don't get me wrong, and I have enjoyed my visits to VA each time I have had to go there. I generally like the summer residency requirement, and I look forward to seeing my colleagues every year. It is just that this year, in particular, my life has tanked. It is in the dumper, and I feel so unwell, so unsure about what I am doing, where I am going, and what the Lord intends for me to do. I am confident in some things, and oh-so frightened and undone about a good many others. I have not felt this way, this fearful in a long time. I mean, even when I was facing singleness (being single for the first time in 30 years), I wasn't this fearful. I wasn't overly concerned about anything. I knew the Lord would provide for me, and I knew that He would be there. Lately, I have lost that feeling, that sense of well-being, and that confidence that God has me so well covered. I am ashamed to admit that I have lacked faith -- me lacking faith -- harrumph! Yep, I know that one of my spiritual gifts is faith, yet when I needed to be faithful the most, I plunked down and acted cowardly. I didn't stand up in faith or shout out my faith like I normally do. No, I just did as Peter did in the garden. I ran and I hid. I denied the Lord's provision, the Lord's faithfulness, and the Lord's protection. I simply CHOSE to look at my hands, my feet, my own way and I cowered before the giant. I didn't call upon the Lord, I didn't pray for help, and I didn't seek His way. I just limped through the week, feeling all punched and pressured and pushed out of shape. I was miserable. I was miserable because I let the enemy have his way. Ta-dum!

As I consider my attitude today, my feelings, and my faith, I realize that I am in control of how I feel. Really and truly, I determine what I feel each day. I have the power to be happy or to be sad. I have the power of choosing how to face the day, whether with a good attitude or a bad one. I can see hope, faith, power or I can see darkness, bleakness, emptiness. I choose what to see each day, I choose how to feel, and I choose what to trust in, rely upon, and where to place my faith. I have the power to choose. I can choose life or I can choose death. I can choose to believe the words of the Lord or the words of the enemy. I can choose to rest in faith, to believe that the Lord is Good, and that He has me well-covered or I can choose to listen to the lies and deceit of the enemy. The choice is mine, always mine.

Attitude adjustment time.

I am in need of a good attitude adjustment, and today, this blessed Sunday is as good a day as any for that to happen. So I am choosing today to remember all that the Lord has done for me and through me. I choose to believe that He does know best, and that my life (my current situation) is temporary. It is what it is, and it is just part of the cycle of life. I can choose to accept my lot in life, to accept that what I face today is simply my portion and my cup or I can choose to deny my reality. My life is real. It is what it is, and there is little that I can do to change it today. Perhaps in time, Lord willing, a door will open for me, and I will know where to go, how to get there, and be provided with the provision and resources I need to take that next step of faith. Until then, I have to suffer a while where I am. I recount the words of 1 Peter 5:9 NLT,

Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.

The trials I endure today are no different than the trials of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I am no different, and the path to progress I walk on is filled with potholes and uneven surface. I stumble, I trip, and I fall sometimes. I decide whether to get up and walk on or to sit down in the dirt. This past week, I spent a lot of time on my face in the dirt. I didn't get up until I absolutely had to and even then, I felt so battered and bruised. Yet, the Lord sustained me, and He helped me up. I am moving again, slowly, but with the knowledge that the race I am running is not a sprint -- it is a marathon.

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