April 15, 2016

Happy Day! It's Friday!

It is my second to last Friday of the semester, and I am eager for this day to get started. I am blessed to be home this morning -- oh, how I love my late afternoon classes -- because I can rest and relax rather than rush around to get myself out the door. I am not sure, but I have to say that I love this very FACT about being a college professor. Yes, this is why I wanted to be a teacher all those years ago. THIS. THIS VERY THING. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to not have to rush out the door and drive to work so I can be there by 7:45 each morning. I also love that I can work mornings, mid-mornings, noons, afternoons, or late afternoons. I pick the schedule. I choose the classes. I love this life!

God has blessed me beyond blessing with the most perfect of all jobs. I mean, I get to come and go as I please, do work that I love to do, and get paid to do it. I don't tow the line for anyone, and I don't have to sit in meetings where colleagues argue, bite, and devour one another. I don't spend my days sitting in a cube, staring into a screen, or stuck anchored to a phone. No, I spend my days walking around campus, hanging out and drinking coffee at the Student Union, and encouraging and mentoring young people. What a blessing! What a blessing God has given to me!! Selah! Amen!

Feeling Good, Feeling Strong

So, my week has been good. My progress on my workout program stalled a bit yesterday when I pulled a muscle in my stomach while attempting pushups. I strained my oblique muscle on the right side during the movement. I read online that this can happen when you use your core section rather than your back to support the downward movement. Ugh! I will now have to rest a bit before I workout again. I am thinking I can do the program minus the pushups. I may do wall pushups instead for a time until the wrenching pain subsides. Oh well...the joys and trials of fitness!

I guess the upside is that I am seeing results. No real change from my last report. I will know when I weigh and measure myself today, but for now, I am thinking I am still at a pound down for the week, and perhaps one inch smaller all around. Overall, a good effort for one hard week of training and food tracking.

My plan for this week is to continue to track my food in my online diary and to workout as best I can. I am skipping tonight because my nephew and his friend are coming over for an early dinner so I won't have time to work out before they get here. The night's rest will do me good, though, and then I will pick it back up again on Saturday. God is good. He will help me recover and heal this muscle strain!

Moving On to New Heights

It is really funny to think about it, but today is such an awesome day, and I cannot really even describe why I feel the way I do. I am just stoked (I know, such a 70's term). I am really, really energized and feeling like the world is my proverbial oyster. Yes, I feel so blessed today. I feel as though something wonderful is about to happen, and while I don't have any idea what may come my way, I just feel like something really good is coming to pass. Perhaps it is because the semester is ending, and I am ready for summer. Or perhaps it is something different, new, and exciting the Lord has in mind for me. I hope it is the latter because I would really like to experience some new thing, some new challenge, some new opportunity. I am praying His will be done in my life, so whatever He determines is best for me, I am willing AND agreeable to it.

Some things come to mind when I think about open doors and new opportunities. The first thing is, of course, a new job. I am content to remain where I am for another year. I have pretty much come to terms with the fact that I will not be moving in the next 6-9 months. I have settled on this fact. I mean, every out of state job I have applied for has not come to pass. Furthermore, right now with my parents situation and my son's need to graduate, the common sense thing is to stay put for one more year and let this all come to a close. In a year's time, my parent's need/care situation will have been resolved. My son will have graduated with his BS in Music, and I will have graduated with my PhD (officially).

I am content to teach the contracts I have in place for another year. This means, 4/3, at a minimum, or 4/4, 5/5 or even 6/6 with some of the online schools having need for me to teach. My preference was to be hired full-time for the 2016-2017 school year, but now it appears that I will be adjunct for another year. Okay, well, the Lord has me covered financially, and if this is His BEST for me, then so be it. I am okay with it.

I have considered looking for other work, in higher education, and in my field. For example, I thought about looking for positions as Director of Communication, which would be a good paying job at a college or university. I could do this work, surely, based on my prior work experience and my completed education. It is a 40-hr week job, but if this is the Lord's will, then I am okay with it as well. I would teach part-time, as I am now, for as long as the Lord determines I am to do so.

The quirky thing about all of this is that most full-time faculty teach 2/2 with research, 3/3 or 4/4. Occasionally, they may teach an overload, but not always. This means that adjuncts teach far more courses and make far less money than full-time faculty. It isn't fair, for sure, but it is the state of higher education these days. Oh well...as the Lord leads, guides, and provides. So be it.

So what does He intend for me to do? 

I really think that until I defend my dissertation, I am to stay put as an adjunct instructor. Once I graduate, then I will be available to work full-time. I have sensed this for a long time, and while I wanted that bigger paycheck now, I have come to see the blessing in it all. He has made a way for me to go so that I am not stressed and overloaded. I can focus on my research. I can do this good work, and produce a solid piece of academic work. He is good to me, so very good to me.

I also think it is wise for me to stay put for a time. As much as I want to move, to go elsewhere, especially to move closer to my good friend and love, well, I have to be patient to wait for His timing in it all. He does have this worked out, the timing I mean, and this means that He is able to determine what is BEST for me. I cannot rush this process. If I do, I may risk losing the blessing He has planned for me. I want His BEST, only His BEST, and that means I must rest. I must be flexible. I must be patient.

Yes, Lord, I will be patient. I will rest and wait on you. I will be flexible, adaptable, and I will do whatever work you bring to me.

Why do I feel as if the world has just opened its arms and said to me, "Take what you will -- eat and be satisfied?" I don't know, I just don't know. Let's just say that the world has not been friendly toward me (ever), so to think now that some good thing is coming my way, well this may just be "wishful thinking." Yet, as the Lord leads and guides, I have this feeling like good news is on the horizon. Maybe I am going to hear back on my paper submission (Oh, yes, Lord!) Maybe, I am going to hear that my paper has been approved for participation at NCA this fall (Oh, wow!) Or maybe I will receive an email or a call saying that there are some teaching contracts available for me for fall -- teaching online at OCU or at Regent University or one of the other online schools I have applied to recently. I just don't know, but I feel like I am about to get a little windfall, a little breather in my financial situation. I feel like a salt shaker of income has just been sprinkled over my bland and tasteless food. Yes, it is not going to be a lot of seasoning, but just enough to make my food taste sensational. Hmmm. Is this true, Lord? Is what I am feeling accurate? Or is this just fanciful dreaming, wanting something so badly, but not really thinking practically or rationally?

As weird as it may be, I have had this inkling, this feeling for about three days now. I have not had any "revelation" from the Lord (like in a dream or vision) to tell me what this is, but rather, I have just had this abiding sense of peace, a peace that has permeated my entire being. I mean, I feel it. I struggled with peace a while ago, and up until Sunday when I made the decision to let go of all my past experiences, I could never tell the difference. I mean, it wasn't like I lacked peace in my life because I clearly had it. I had peace in my home, my life, my work, my schooling, etc. It was rather that it was a temporal peace, a peace that existed but when things got a bit rocky, I would start to feel the stress come over me. Today, just like yesterday though, I have this abiding sense of peace. I feel like a warm blanket has been wrapped around me, and as a result, I am very snug, safe, and dry. Yes, I feel wrapped in His abiding love, His grace, and His blessed peace this good, good day.

Why do I feel so blessed, so peaceful today?

I cannot put my finger on it, but I think it is because I have relented. I think it is because I have turned around and walked back to the Lord, to where He was standing, and I said, "Okay, Lord, it is your way from this day forward." You know, I have blogged about my many efforts to do the Lord's work in my life, but how I often run ahead of Him or run out and try paths that seem good, but aren't really in my best interest. I turned myself around two weeks ago, and as a result, my life has been infused with inner and outer peace. I have peace. Like blessings of peace, like that salt shaker shaking out peace all over my life. Yes, I feel it. Inside, outside, and all around me. It is like manna from heaven is being sprinkled all around me, and I am walking around picking it up. It is such a good, good feeling. Maybe it is just the stress wearing off from my brutal fall and spring semester. Maybe it is just that I finally gave up my desire to be a full-time teacher and relented to accept a lesser paying position. Maybe it is all of the above or none of the above. I just don't know, but what I do know is that today is a good day, a day whereby I want to shout from the roof tops that God is so very GOOD!

Removing Doubt and Hanging On

So today, April 15th, I am tossing my doubt aside, and I am hanging on to the Lord will all my might. He is moving in my life, and good things are about to come my way. I am ready, Lord, ready to travel, to go where you want me to go, and to do the things you want me to do. I am so ready, Lord. So very ready!

It has been a long, long road, and I have come very far in a very short amount of time. It was 10 years ago when I had my first meet-and-greet with the Lord. I mean, my "Damascus Road" experience, whereby I met Him in a new, a deeper, and a more intimate way. Up until that time, I knew Him from Scripture. I knew Him from church. I knew Him distantly. And even though I prayed to Him, and earnestly believed I was seeking Him, I didn't KNOW Him, not the way I do today. I came into a deeper level of fellowship on that road, and as a result, I was changed. Changed, like made over into something different. Yes, my encounter with the Holy One made me brand new.

Since that time, I have been challenged, grown, and developed. I have become mature. I have been made ready to do His work. I have suffered greatly, of course, but I have also triumphed. I have overcome obstacles that seemed to large to defeat, and yet, my giants crumbled before me. I have become strong, in body and in spirit, and I have learned how to depend on Him, to rely on Him, and to abide in Him. Now, I am ready to step out and go. To really GO and it is so exciting for me. He is about to send me out, to send me to His place of choosing, and I know blessing will precede me and follow after me. I long to be a blessing to others, to share in my good fortune, and to give generously, graciously, and cheerfully to others who are in need. I want to do this work, to be a part of His great work, and to live in such a way that every day, I get to bless others in His Name. I get to give to them a little bit of grace, a little bit of goodness so that they can come to see just how good He really is. I want them to taste and to see that the Lord is good!

Psalm 34:8 NLT - "Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!"

He is good. He is so very good to me.

Today, I lift up the name of the Lord, my righteous and strong tower. I shout out for joy His blessed name, and I give Him all praise, all honor, and all glory for He is good, so very good to me!

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