Rejoice in the Lord
I am rejoicing in the Lord today. Philippians 4:4 NLT says, "Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again--rejoice!" The dictionary defines the word, "rejoice" as meaning to "feel or show great joy or delight" in something or someone. Merriam-Webster says it this way, to rejoice means "to feel or show that you are very happy about something." I love this definition best because it really does seem to represent the way I feel. I am very happy about my relationship with the Lord, my life as it presently stands, and the future hope I hold onto that is securing my eternity. I know that I am in a very good place today, and that while everything isn't 100% clear to me, I feel as though I "know enough" to be settled, to feel content, and to be assured that the path I am on is a good one. Let me explain...
I cannot really put my finger on how it is that I came to feel settled, but I want to say it happened, being settled I mean, sometime earlier in the week. I blogged about how I figured out or 'came to know' my calling (teaching and mentoring) and how that calling was not tied to a specific place (like in a city or state). I realized that my life, from the earliest memories of childhood through to young adulthood and married life was marked by periods of either the desire to teach or the physical outwork of teaching itself. I also noted that while my desire to move, to relocate to different places, seemed to coincide with difficulties in my life (mostly my dissatisfaction with life), I came to understand that the underlying desire was not for a physical home on earth, but for my eternal home waiting for me on the other side. I recalled how often I longed to "go home," and for many years, I thought that meant going back to San Jose or Illinois -- back to where I lived as a child -- but it wasn't until I sat and really thought about it -- that I realized that my desire to go home was predicated on a deep longing, a yearning, a desire to be with my Lord and Savior. C.S. Lewis once said that we all have deep-seated yearnings and longings that point to a relationship with our creator, and I agree. In my heart, I confused the need to go home, to be safe and secure, with my need to a deeper, stronger, and more intimate relationship with God.
As I processed all this information, the memories, the desires, the yearnings, I came round to this truth: I am right where I belong because this is where the Lord intends me to be. You see, where I am, there He is. The Word says it this way in Psalm 139:7-12,
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
The Spirit of the Lord is all around us (Ps. 34:7), therefore, we cannot run from His presence. Moreover, because the Holy Spirit makes His home in us, we are filled with His power, which enables us to know the truth of the Gospel, the truth of the Word of God (2 Tim. 1:14).
I sit here today, and I give thanks to the Lord for helping me to understand, to be clear on many, many points in my life. I live in a time of uncertainty, where so much is unknown (as to my days and the contents of them). Still, I can rest in the knowledge that the Lord knows my days well. He has them appointed and He knows what each one will bring. I can rest in this knowledge, and I can take heart to know that wherever I am and whatever I am doing, the Lord is with me. He is guiding my steps, directing my path, and leading me onward toward my final destination, my forever home.
I rejoice today because He is, He exists, and He lives! Amen, so be it, selah!
Making Plans and What Not
So much of blog is about planning and organization. I know that this might be boring to many readers, but the truth of the matter is that organization and administration happens to be one of my spiritual gifts. The Lord has given to me the ability to process details in a very orderly fashion. I am gifted in administration, and thus, I find it a joy to be organized. Many people struggle with organization -- in the home, at the office, in their daily lives. I am not uber-organized by any means. In fact, I live in a bit of a disarray at times. I struggle with "stuff" like the rest of humanity -- too much stuff and too little space to contain it. Still, it is the process of being ordered that seems to be my friend. I think logically, and I tend to plan, to make plans that factor in details. I guess you could say that I am very or highly detailed organized. Yes, I think in small details.
The funny thing is that often detailed-oriented individuals are regarded as being obsessively minded about the small stuff (anal retentive). This is not really the case, and thanks to Freud, that term has been associated with anyone who pays close attention to details. I am detailed oriented, and as a result, I tend to notice things that seem out of place or not right. I notice patterns, and I pay attention to body language. I also see what is missing when the big picture gets discussed (like a puzzle with missing pieces -- I can see what we are overlooking). I guess being a detailed-oriented person can be a blessing and a curse at times, but generally speaking, I am glad that my brain is wired this way. My logical and analytical side benefits because I seek to "know" even the smallest detail -- all of that data is important to me -- no matter how inconsequential it might be or seem. Yes, I welcome details, all details no matter their size or shape or history.
My desire to plan is fueled by my data collection mentality. I collect data, I sort through it, I categorize it, and then I use it to make plans. It is all very orderly, very productive, and very efficient. In the end, I produce results in the form of a long-range goal sheet. I don't always meet or exceed these goals, but I use them as a check sheet to ensure that I am moving in the right direction, that I am going where I think the Lord is leading me. It is very analytical and processed, and I think that is why I tend to focus so much on reflection, especially on this blog. I reflect on my experiences a lot. Reflection allows me to sort through old details, old data to see if there is any relevance to current issues. In some ways, I research my past, my history, looking for fragments of unnamed, mis-categorized data that might help or be useful to my current situation. This process of researching through the past benefits me because it helps me fill in the gaps of knowledge I have about my life -- the people, the places, and the pursuits I attended to when I was 12, 22, 32, and so on. In many ways, it is simply a method I have devised that allows me to build the puzzle of my life, slowly and methodically sorting and searching through past memories to see where they might "fit" in the big picture of my life. It is kind of neat when you think about it that way.
Today is a good day for me because of where I am at in this process called "life." Yes, I am still putting the puzzle together, but I feel more and more confident that as the picture is filled out, the end result will be spectacular. I am excited to rest now, to rely on the Lord for my every need and provision, and to be able to let go of so much of the past -- so much of the past -- in favor of being ready to receive all the good marked for me in the present and in the future. The Lord is good, so very good, and the plans He has for my life are good as well. I love the Lord so much, and I love my life -- all of it -- even the gritty parts. God has provided me with sufficient challenge to keep me engaged, and He has given me good practical work to do that is enjoyable and easy (in some ways). I love that I get to spend my days on a college campus, that I get to work with young people, invest in their lives, and help them find their way. I love that I am able to do this, and I love that my life is all about making young people's lives better. My job is a good one, and while I may not make a huge salary, what I do each day is worth far more, far more than anything I could imagine or ask for. God has provided me with a rich and varied life, and the details while sometimes difficult to process, are always for my good. I look up today, and I look to see His hand upon my life. I know that I am well loved, well cared for, and that the outcome of my life will be good. It will be good.
God is good all the time, and all the time He is good!