March 2, 2016
Interruption. I overheard my parents talking about my dental insurance plan this morning. I am blessed to have found a really good dental insurance plan that provides preventative care and some extra services for a reasonable cost each month. I was fortunate to have had a clean bill of health last week, and my dentist was pleased with my overall dental routine here at home. No cavities, and no gum issues, so praise be to God! My parents, on the other hand, do not have dental insurance at present. They are on medicare, and they do watch every penny they spend. I had just mentioned that my plan might be a good choice for them to consider. However, they don't want to spend the money each month, and I understand their concern. The funny thing is this -- they won't spend the money for this level of care -- but they will argue with me about my choice in not spending money on healthcare services. Sigh!
While my parents are happy that I have health insurance now, they simply will not stop intervening in my choices for when and how I use my plan coverage. I am careful in what I spend, so unless I am ill, I am not going to use my plan. They believe in preventative care, and have been giving me a hard time (for years, really) about my lack of insurance, and my unwillingness to go and get check ups. It is a losing battle, and I know better than to engage with them on this point. Yet, once again, I found myself mired in the midst of a conversation on my health. Sigh! It always comes round to the same point of debate -- why I don't go for exams every year (specifically mammograms). I tried to explain to them that while I have health coverage now, and I am happy with my plan, I am not going to go in for a "check up" just to have the doctors order tests and other services that are not covered by my plan. I cannot afford to have them "look" for things. My Dad took the stance that I am playing with the odds by not going in for routine care. I said that I was simply choosing where to invest my money, and right now, outside of my aches and pains, I feel fine. I am not having any issues that warrant a doctor's office visit. I mean, if I were sick or feeling off, I would go. But to just go for a yearly exam, as my Mom says I must, seems unrealistic at this time. I pinch every penny too, and since I have some major expenses coming up soon (my car's AC needs some work), I would rather take care of that instead of worrying over unknown health issues.
I came back into my room thinking to myself, "I just cannot win!" UGH!
I guess the conversation this morning has prompted thoughts of my moving out soon. I do love my parents, don't get me wrong, and I know they need care -- but -- I am so ready to be on my own again. I miss my home. I want to be my own person, and to not have to explain or justify my life choices to my parents. I know they care, really they do, but there comes a point where I feel like my life choices are my life choices. It is funny to say it this way because on Monday, my students were asked to ban things that they felt were influencing society. Many of them chose to ban parental controls. They felt that since they were in college, they should be treated as adults. Thus, as adults, they should have full control of their lives and the choices they make. I applaud them for taking this stand, but I wanted to say, "Okay, so when you fall on your face, you cannot go running home to Mom and Dad!" Yes, students often want full control until their bank account runs dry! LOL!
I think as an adult, I am more than ready to be my own person again. I mean, I thought about this over the weekend. I travelled to VA, booked my own trip, made my own way, spent my own time, etc. all for the pursuit of this doctoral degree. It hit me when I was rocking away my layover in Charlotte on Saturday. Here I was, sitting in a white rocking chair, lazing the hours away until my next flight. It was pleasant to sit and rock, to just relax while I waited for my connection. I thought to myself, "I am here all by myself, doing my own thing, and no one is telling me what to do." In truth, I would have welcomed a companion at that time. I thought about how much I would have enjoyed my layover had my friend from AL been with me or had my son travelled along to VA to tour Regent. Just having a companion with me would have made the time more fun for sure. But, even on my own, the realization that I am capable of traveling and doing whatever God calls me to do was sinking in. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 1:4). It is true. I can go where He sends me. I can uproot my life and move across the country on a whim -- why? Because He is able, and He will provide for me. I am certain of this, I am confident in His ability, and I know He will care for me.
My Dad mentioned this to me today during our conversation on health insurance. He said, "soon you will have a good paying job." I know what he meant, that soon I will have a full-time job where I can pay my own way. It is not that they pay my way, for certain, it is just that he realizes that working adjunct is temporary until I finish my degree. But, it was the way he said it to me, that struck me. I really do have a good job now. I mean, while I am not super happy about my income (as in the volume and consistency of it), I do have good practical work to do. Yes, I am looking forward to that full-time job some day soon. My hope is that it will come to me within the month. I really would need to be able to let GCU and ACU know as soon as possible that I have received a full-time offer. I have told both schools that I am looking for work, so they won't be surprised when I do announce it. I just don't want to wait until fall to tell them I cannot take the contracts offered. Moreover, it would be good to start planning my next steps, so my prayer now is for the Lord to bring me that full-time position between now and the first of April (Lord willing). I would like to have a plan in place for fall teaching, and if I must move this summer, well, I need to make those arrangements. Until He opens that door, however, I will rest and wait. I will be patient, and I will let the Lord guide me as He determines best. He is good, so very good to me! Selah!
Open Doors and Opportunities Abound
The other day I was thinking, "I will never get a full-time job." Then this morning, after my conversation with my Dad, I thought, "I have to get that full-time job PDQ!" Yes, I am ready to move, ready to take these next steps, and ready to embrace the life the Lord has for me. I think I have vacillated for so long simply because I wasn't ready, in my head ready, to take these next steps. You see, part of me was unsure about the plans the Lord had for my life. I feel comfortable with some of what seems to be coming to pass, and I do feel confident in the revelation that I have received from the Lord regarding my direction. But, much is still unknown, and that requires faith, lots of faith, in order to stay fixed and focused on the path I am on. I want to go where He is leading me, but my fear of the unknown has caused me to falter some, to stand on the sidelines, and to look for more and more confirmation before I step into the fray. Today, though, I thought to myself as I walked back to my room, "Yes, let's get this done." I am ready, Lord. Move me.
God has a great plan for my life, of this I am certain. So while I may not know what He intends to do, where He wants me to go, I do know that His plans are sure and they are good. He will not lead me down a path that will bring harm to my life. Furthermore, He will not take me to a place where I cannot feasibly live. I know this, I know this is true. I also know that I will never make oodles of income as a teacher. I have had to come to terms with this truth. He gave me the choice of career, and I chose teaching rather than business. I knew that I gave up income in favor of schedule and time off. I knew that I gave up leadership position in favor of impacting the lives of students on a daily basis. And, I knew that I gave up stress and pressure to perform in favor of a low-key, and somewhat redundant practice of teaching the same curriculum day in and day out. There were trade offs in my choice of teaching, but I felt that the practical aspect, the low-key status, and the opportunity for continued study weighed in my favor. I simply believed that teaching would afford me the kind of life I really wanted -- a life that was easy. You see, teaching is not easy in and of itself. No, it is one of the most challenging and difficult jobs I have ever done, but it is easy in the sense that the routine is easy, the day-in and day-out activity is easy. Plus, there are holidays and vacations that cannot be beat. I am tired. I want time-off. I want to know that I can have my entire summer to do nothing -- to travel, to garden, to build, craft, sculpt or paint -- as the Lord provides. I wanted my summers and holidays off, and teaching affords that opportunity. Yes, the in between months are grueling and physically demanding, but the off times are wonderful. Furthermore, teaching allows me to do other things with my life, like ministry, thus the combination of teaching and ministry fits well together. Lastly, as a teacher, I have to be comfortable speaking, and since that is not my best zone, staying in teaching simply gives me plenty of practice in presenting material to audiences. I need this experience for His work, so teaching forces me to learn, to adapt, and to get comfortable with something that typically is not natural to me. In all, I chose this path simply because it offered a bigger and more varied reward that income and status alone.
Now that I am settled in as a professor, I need to move to where I can live comfortably for the rest of my life. This is stage 2 of the "new career" for Carol plan. I need to move to a city where I can buy a decent home for under $150K and live very comfortably throughout the year. I anticipate that my salary as a professor will be somewhere between $50-60K, generally speaking. Sure, you can make more than that in teaching, but at this point in life, that is not going to happen for me. I am on the backside of the profession, and I don't have 30 years on my resume. I have to be happy with that amount, and that means that to live comfortably, I need to manage my month expenses where I can have plenty left over each month. I am good with this income, and I think I can manage well. However, I know that I will need more than this to retire comfortably, and that is where I feel the Lord intends for me to work in ministry as a supplement. I know that sounds awful, but the Lord does intend for me to start some organization, and more than likely, it will be profitable in some way, shape or form. The money that is generated will fund many programs, but it will also pay some extra for my retirement, so therefore, I can see a very solid future whereby I can retire and live well through the end of my days. Plus, I don't really expect to retire. I will retire from teaching at 70, Lord willing, and then I will engage in full-time ministry until He tells me to rest. I think, Lord willing, that I will do ministry until age 90. That is a long time, and there is much that the Lord can do over the next 20-40 years of my life. He is good, and He will provide for me. Of this, I am certain.
But, and this is key, I must get started. The time is nigh. I must move. I must begin to walk toward the future He has for me. I cannot stay where I am, and I cannot remain in this place of transition. It has been good, yes, good and safe, but now I must prepare myself for moving. I am ready, Lord. I am ready to go wherever you are sending me. I ask that you open up the door of your choosing, and that you make this way ready. Prepare me and it for our passage, and let this come to pass. I ask this now in Jesus' Name. I know that the plans you have for me are good, and I know that you will provide to me so I can do what you are asking me to do. Now, Lord, take me where you want me to go. Lead me, provide for me, care for me, and facilitate this move so that I can be where you want me to be. Thank you, Lord! You alone are worthy to be praised this good, good day.