January 15, 2016

Clarification and Then Next Steps

I woke up today to the pounding of a jackhammer. Yes, the department of works (I guess that is who is doing the work outside my door) is replacing the curbs on both sides of our street. Well, really on both sides of the street in our neighborhood. Last week, they completed the other side of the street, and this morning around 6:30, they started work on our side. The problem? The corner is right outside my bedroom window, so needless to say, I was awoken to a very loud jolt and ear shattering noise! Winston, my scared-y-cat, dove under the covers as soon as the racket began. Ike, my nosy boy, proceeded to jump to the window and then settled next to me on the bed. I guess he was satisfied that the noise was outside, and that he was safely tucked away inside. Sigh!

I really didn't need the noise to wake me up since I found my morning rest interrupted by thoughts of confusion. I mean, I went to bed last night feeling fine, but I woke up this morning with feelings of doubt and insecurity. I mean, like panic-inducing doubt and fear-laden-ed insecurity. How did that happen? Between 11 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. something set off a series of panic attacks, and my stomach, ended up the recipient of waves of churning acid. Something is not right, something has disrupted my peace, my composure, and my feelings that all is well with the world.

Normally, whenever I feel a lack of peace it is because I have done something to move myself from the Lord's will or way. Perhaps it is some un-confessed sin in my life or perhaps it is a decision I made, thinking it was the Lord's will for me, when in truth, it wasn't. Perhaps it is a loss of confidence in His abilities (may it never be) where I feel insecure, as if, I must go this way alone. I do not believe that it is sin in my life (done that one right away) nor do I think I made any decision on my own. I may have lost my confidence in the Lord temporarily, but I know enough to be able to say "Not this time, Lord. I trust you, I believe in you, and I have faith in your abilities to handle whatever concerns me this day!" So what is causing this anxiety, this panic? I don't know, I just don't know.

Isaiah 26:4 says, "Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD God is the eternal Rock." Yes, I will trust in the Lord, my rock and my refuge!

Thinking Things Through Today

It has been a good week thus far and since today is Friday, that just means that the weekend is here! Hoorah! I am blessed to have a four-day weekend ahead of me. My classes are on MWF only this semester so I get Monday and Tuesday to rest and recover from my weekend study plans. I am feeling good about my progress in my courses, and I feel confident that I am on the right track for my exams, which are coming up soon.

Yesterday was my day off, and while I didn't get as much done as I had hoped, I did read through the "History of Mass Communication: Six Information Revolutions" by Irving E. Fang. I enjoyed the reading, even if it was a bit too much for me (information wise). I bought this book to supplement my studies, and Fang's framework suggesting there have been six information revolutions (now a seventh with the digital age) is something I felt I needed to understand better (for my History of Communication class). The book, itself, is an easy and enjoyable read. It is just densely packed, with a lot of information that isn't needed for my work. Still, the day was good, I finished this book, and I was able to get most of my student pre-essay's read (about 140 of them). In all, it was a productive day.

On top of that, I also booked my flight and hotel for my oral defense, and I took care of my email issue (losing my primary email address at the end of the month). I ordered my transcripts for my new prospective job, and I requested two personal references from friends who can vouch for me. So really, what else could have happened to set my night on edge?

As I consider my life, I think what is bothering me most is the fact that right now, my income is at its lowest point (pre-summer). I have not received my scholarship from Regent, and that means that my financial aid return is a lot less than expected. This places me in a tough position going into this summer. I had hoped to use that money to pay of my credit cards so that I could go into summer with less revolving debt, and a more hopeful outlook. Now, I am not so sure. There is still a chance my scholarship will be approved (I dropped from 6 credits to 3 due to my exams and that has messed up its application). I am not sure what will be, but I am trusting the Lord to work out those details).

This means that I am short income to pay my bills today. I haven't gotten paid by GCU yet, and frankly, I am struggling with doubt -- major doubt -- as to how I will make it through this month. Oh Lord, please help! Please help me stay afloat this month!!

Some Things Are Ending

I started to think about this yesterday, and perhaps this is what is causing me to be confused. The fact remains that I am in a position where my life has doors closing around me. There are opportunities that are no longer viable, and there are doors that have been opened that should have been shut a long time ago. I am struggling now to watch as those old doors start to close, and it hurts me, it really hurts me. I want to believe that what is closing is a good thing because I know that the Lord has other good things in mind for me. I cannot move forward without closing out some things in my past and current life. I know this is true, I know it.

In fact, I recall the Lord saying to me that in order for me to move forward, my life here in Phoenix would need to be closed up. You know, like when you leave your home for an extended vacation. You have to pack your things, and close up the house so that you leave it in good stead for a return. In this case, however, what closes out here in Phoenix will stay closed permanently. This has been hard for me, so very hard for me to process. Yet, I know it has to be. I cannot live where the Lord wants me to live without leaving behind my life here. I have to go, and that means, really go. I have to let go my life physically, and to do that, I must understand that what is here now will no longer be a part of my life in my future. It is so hard for me to see things come to an end. I am trusting the Lord, believing in all the good things He has in store for me, but still it is hard to let go of these comforts, these securities, and to trust Him fully and completely for my unknown future life. Selah!

One of the things that is ending for me is my life here with my parents. I know this, I have blogged about it, and now I see the end in more clearer and in complete detail. My Mom's failing memory is taking a toll on her, and her physical condition, while stable, is not as strong as it once was (prior to her cancer surgery). Furthermore, my Dad is struggling to pay bills, and to keep their heads above water, and without my steady income they are in tight circumstances. My son is doing well, as a full-time student and a part-time worker, but this too will end soon. He will have to be responsible for himself, at the least, when the Lord moves me elsewhere. He will have to take care of his own needs when I am no longer near by. I am not worried about him as he is a good kid, a strong worker, and he has a very solid work ethic. Still, I will worry to some extent because he is my child, and I love him, and I want to keep him safe. Selah!

My life is beginning to experience change, the kind of change that signals a closed door. I don't know when this will be, but there is some sense that it will be soon. Perhaps it will be today. Perhaps it is yet to happen, regardless, there is change, major change, on the horizon of my life. Selah!

Grasping the Boundaries of my Future Hope

Today, I look up and I ask the Lord, "What gives? Why do I feel this way?" His response to me is silence. Why can I not hear you, Lord? What have I done for you to be silent toward me? I wonder about it, why He is being silent now at all times. What must I do to change this, to hear your sweet wonderful and calming voice?

The other day I blogged about letting go, about letting go of the wheel, so to speak, and about letting the Lord lead me fully, 100% completely in His way. I said I was doing this, only considering what He wanted, and not thinking at all about what I wanted. I said I would go freely where He led, and I wouldn't question or be "particular" about His leading me on. I know, I remember the words I said, and for all intents and purposes, they are codified on this blog. Now, I wonder about whether or not I took my words back, or if I said something that caused the Lord to go silent. More than likely, this is my fault (isn't it always?) and I am the recipient of that silence simply because I took my words back from Him. I said one thing, but I did another. I am sorry, Lord. I am so sorry. I am sure this is the case because it makes sense to me. I do this often, I say I will do "X," and then without realizing it, I do "Y". I don't mean to do this, but in my human nature, I forget what I promise Him. I forget what I said, the vow I made, and well, we know how the Lord feels about vows. We know that He takes vows very, very seriously. Thus, I think that perhaps this is my problem, the source of my confusion today, the reason I feel the way I do. Hmmm....

Getting Back on Track

So to get back on track, the first thing I must do is accept the responsibility for taking my vow back. I must recommit myself to the Lord, to His way, and then repay my vow. This is a biblical principle upheld in scripture, particularly in the Old Testament, but still applicable today. If you promise to do something, and you make that promise to the Lord, He does indeed expect you to keep it. He understands you cannot, of course, but that doesn't lift the obligation you made. You must try your best, do your best, pick yourself up when you fail (and you will), and try, try, try, again. It is the Lord's way to build character in His people. He expects us to model perfection, even though we are not perfect beings. He expects us to pattern our lives off of His, and that means, that we are to speak, act, and live in a way that honors Him (always, consistently). I know this is true, and I know that I have not done what I should have done. I know that He has asked me to do certain things, and I chose to do other things instead. I need to retrace my steps, and find where I deviated from His path. Then I must turn myself around, and head back out His way. I must, there is no option, no other way. I must go back to where that path offered a diversion and walk the other way.

What may have started me down this wrong path was thinking that somehow the plans the Lord had for my life would be different that what He has communicated to me. What I mean by this is that I may have assumed certain things, when in truth, those things were not communicated by the Lord. Yes, my enemy is crafty and wile-y, and at times, will say things (whispers, really) to get me to think that what I am hearing is from the Lord, when it is not. Sometimes, well most of the time, I can tell the difference. I mean, he rarely says things to me that are blatantly not scriptural. No, he knows that I will spot those inconsistencies right off. No, he tends to whisper variations of what the Lord has already said to me, things that are slightly different. This makes me wonder at times if what I hearing is truth or not. Normally,I ask. I will say "Lord, is this the truth?" Sometimes, though, I miss that cue, and I let those whispers take hold of me, and I follow along the path the lead. This usually takes me on a side line, a slight diversion to where the Lord the Lord desired for me to go. I should know better, but when I get tired or lazy, I am prone to hearing contrary direction. I need to stand, to stand up, and to question it -- to ask for clarification -- but I don't always do it. I sometimes let it slide by me. I think this is what I have done. I know this is what I have done.

Now, that I know this, I can retrace my steps and get myself back on track, on His path. I know what I must do, so I will do it. I will do it, Lord.

Dear Lord,

You have been very clear to me in all that you are asking me to do. I ask now that you will guide me to that perfect place of peace, where I can find comfort again in knowing that I am doing the right thing. I ask that you show me what to do, and then provide a way for me to do it. I trust you now Lord and I ask that you do this so that I can return to where I was the other day. Thank you for caring for me, and for keeping me in your good care. I ask now that all this come to pass soon, so that I can find that sweet relief and I can work on what I must do today. I ask all this in Jesus' precious Name, Amen. So be it, thy will be done! Selah!

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