February 6, 2016

Under the Weather

I am under the weather today. Yes, I think I am coming down with a head cold. This week, of all week's, is not the week to be sick. Today is Saturday, and that means I have less than one week (yes, read that -- four days!) until I sit my comprehensive exams for my doctoral program. I woke up this morning with a stuffy head, headache, and aching body. I've got all the signs of a good cold, and frankly, I am not in the mood to be ill. Nope, not going to happen! Sigh!

I have been feeling unwell for weeks, if I am going to be honest, but I assumed it was the stress of studying for my exams. In truth, I want them over. I want to be done, and I am at the point where I hear myself say, "I just DON'T CARE anymore!" Of course, this is not 100% true. I do care, I care a lot, but I am overwhelmed, overstudied, and so OVER this whole process. I want to move on, just move on.

It is funny how this happens. I remember my colleague saying to me that all you needed was "six weeks" to study. I thought she was crazy. I mean, six weeks! That wouldn't be enough time for me to study eight classes and really be able to answer unknown "essay questions." Still, I thought that six weeks would be my drop-dead date, I mean, should I not study anything more outside that time frame. In all, I think I have studied in some form or fashion for the past 16-weeks. I can tell you that 16-weeks has been a long, long, long time to study anything (even though I didn't devote 100% to the process until about 8-weeks ago). Now, I am down to the wire, and while I do feel better prepared, I still doubt my abilities to remember anything of value. But, God be praised, I am trusting in His abilities and not mine. I know that I can do this, but only with His help and through His strength. Thus, today, my last Saturday before D-DAY, I remind myself that in all things, it is Christ in me. Selah!
Despite not feeling well, I am bound and determined to see this through, to finish strong, and to overcome all the obstacles in my path. I think this whole process, will in the end, be life-changing. I was praying about my situation last night, and I remember asking the Lord, "Lord, why is this so hard?" I feel like this burden is so heavy, so difficult, and so impossible. I know that He is with me, and that He has kept me strong, and will continue to do so, but I thought to myself, "I don't see how I can do this thing, how I can survive anything worse than this." I asked the Lord, "Lord, if I cannot handle this load, how will I handle things that are heavier down the road?" I remember hearing Him say, "I will do it." As I drifted off to sleep, I thought about His words to me, reminding me that He is the One who will see me through the trials of life. He is the One who is calling me toward this end, thus it is up to Him to see me through, to help me accomplish His will. My job is to be faithful and obedient. My job is to do the work, and yes, at times that work is hard, it is difficult, and it is so very, very trying...but His job is to move the mountain, to create the possibilities, and to lead me through very difficult and trying times. I know this, I know that He has me so well covered.

The Word reminds me of my frailty, of my limits, and it is Psalm 146:2-5 NIV that I turn to this morning,

I will praise the LORD while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation. His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; In that very day his thoughts perish, How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the LORD his God.

Yes, the LORD God is my hope. I can do nothing without Him, and even though He has asked me to partner with Him in this process, I still cannot look to my own hands, my own way, or even my own sheer will and determination. No, I cannot do this without His help, His lead, and His guidance. Therefore, today, I rest. I let this go. I have done my best, and at this point in time, I am ready (as ready as ever), and I will go into the battle of my exams, armed and ready to tackle whatever is thrown at me. I will do my very, very best, and God be praised, I will look up. I will look to my Champion, my Victor, my King for victory. He is able; I am not. He is good, and it is in His strength that I stand. Amen, so be it, thy will be done.

Taking Stock

So with this in mind, I take stock today. I look over my inventory like a good manager does, and I see that my storehouse is full, my shelves are loaded with goods, and I am ready to engage in business. The business the Lord has given to me isn't a warehouse, grocery store, or any other type of physical business; rather it is a personal ministry that revolves around two things: doing His work and abiding in His Spirit as I do it. You see, while I may be many things (Mom, daughter, teacher, student, etc.), I am also His hands and feet. I do the work He declares to me, and I rest in Him alone. I cannot do this work on my own, no matter how much I think I am capable or able to do so. No, I must only do His work in His way, and in this manner, I will be fully, 100% dependent upon Him for the outcome. I realize today that as long as I try to do this work in any other way, I will feel the bite and sting of failure. So, I refuse to rest in my own strength, and instead, I pick up my cross and I follow Him. I know that in doing this, relying upon and abiding in Him, only then will I achieve any measure of success.

As I look forward, I know that from this point on, I must rest. I must choose to rest. It is a choice. I can either continue to struggle and strive, doing things in my own way and as I think best, but I cannot do this any longer. The more I try to keep my hand on the wheel, the more we will stop and wait. If I want to move forward, I can only go His way. I must let go now, and let Him see me through this next week. I have tried. I have done my best. But in all of my effort, I have achieved nothing at all. No, I am ready. I am ready to let this pass, to allow what I have been fearing most (failure) come to its conclusion. Do I think I will fail my exams, no. I don't think I will. I feel good. I feel prepared (as best possible), and while I may fall short of the high bar that has been set for me, I am trusting in Him to find a way around, through, and onward to do His work, His will, for His glorious Name. I let go.

Today, then, is a good day, a very good day. Today, I rest. I give Him all praise, all honor, and all glory. Whatever I do this good, good day, I do in His name, and with His strength, and through His abilities. I trust Him, and I let go.

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