May 27, 2016

It’s Friday!

It is Friday, and I am happy to be alive! Yes, it is a good day to be alive, to be free, and to be living in such a blessed and wonderful state of grace!! God is good, so very good to me. I am giving Him all the praise and honor today because He is good to me. I mean, HE IS SO VERY GOOD TO ME! Selah!

Truth be told, I woke up a bit stiff and sore, and I am still very tired. I am not sure why I am so exhausted, but I find that while I am sleeping soundly, I am simply not waking up refreshed. I feel tired until I get up, start moving around, and I get my first cup of coffee. I sure hope this is not an indicator of things to come. I mean, I am too young to be so tired every morning. Sigh!

Some Good News

I finally received word back on my article. The assistant editor has forwarded my paper to the editor, so unless something happens, I think I can safely say that my paper has been accepted for publication. I am “tentatively” celebrating at this time. Once I get the “two thumbs up” from the journal, I will be overjoyed!  I have been looking forward to the day when I could get one of my paper's published. I have always dreamed about being a scholarly writer; I just never thought I would actually do it. Now, I am on the cusp of being a published author, and that idea, the dream, seems more real now than ever before. I am blessed, so very blessed.

When I think about how God provided the perfect solution to me, to teach and to become a writer, I stand amazed at His goodness and His grace. I mean, He orchestrated my success, and while it took longer than I thought, His word to me is coming to pass. You see, He was clear on the steps involved in transitioning from corporate work to academic work. I didn't understand the process, so for me, I felt like things (the details) were slow in coming together. What was more difficult was that I felt like I was spinning my wheels. And, for the longest time, I never felt like I was really making any progress at all. In truth, though, everything (all those details) were coming to pass in a specific order and within His specific timeframe. I didn't understand how things work in academia. I just thought that I would experience the same blessing and favor as I did when I worked in corporate business. I expected that I would be "promoted" up faster, sooner, and without as much effort. I didn't understand that these types of blessings take much longer to realize in this very different environment.

As weird as it may sound, in higher education, the whole institution of academia, has such ingrained policies and procedures. The process from start to finish is stagnant. So thoughts of moving in and up, whether getting employed or receiving promotions or acceptance for publication, takes years to realize. In many ways, it is like Aesop's Fable of the Tortoise and the Hare. In corporate business, where I worked for many years, everything moves at a rabbit's pace. It seems like what is here today is gone by tomorrow. You get in, you get moving, and with good effort on your part, you begin to experience success in short order. The potential for success, whether in position, power, or prestige, is available so long as you are willing to put forth effort and remain diligent. Personally, I found success came easy to me, relatively easy, I mean. I worked hard, stayed focused, and did a good job. In the end, I was rewarded. But, when I moved into higher education, everything changed. It was like my forward progression just came to a halt. No matter how hard I tried, my efforts were not rewarded in the same way. It was the flip side of the story where you read how the tortoise creeps on, slowly inching its way to the end. Everything and everyone who works in higher education seems to know this fact, and they accept the truth that nothing moves fast, change takes time, and success comes on very, very slowly.

My problem was that I wanted everything to happen instantly. I understood there would be learning curves, time delays and the like. I just didn't think that it would take so long for me to see any measure of success. Of course, truth be told, I did receive plenty of "success," and I have overtime, seen a lot of good results. My mindset had to shift, and I had to slow down. I had to take things as they came to me rather than rushing out to find them. I had to put my entrepreneurial spirit on the back burner and accept how things are done, handled, and completed in higher education. My "do it now" attitude had to be replaced with a more casual, "whatever" approach. I had to take things one at a time instead of in a rapid fire sequence like I was used to experiencing. In some ways, the pace of working in higher education was not welcomed. I wanted it all NOW. As time passed, though, I came to see the blessing of going slow, of taking time, and of enjoying the process involved in teaching. I came to see that it wasn't about results at all. It was about people, processes, and putting the needs of others ahead of my own. I put my achievement-oriented personality on hold, and I embraced the compassionate side of my personality. As I slowed down, I started to relax. As I started to relax, I began to enjoy my days. And, as I enjoyed my days, I began to see the blessing wrapped up in this way of life. I am now enjoying my life as a teacher, and I can say whole-heartedly that there is no other job I ever want to do. I am content, fully and finally, content. God is good, so very good to me! Selah!

Blessing #2 - More Work

My other good news is that I logged into Ohio Christian University's email server today and I received word that I have been moved to "approved" status for associate faculty. This means that I am now approved to teach provisionally at this school. I will be assigned an 8-week class shortly, and I will work with my mentor to learn how to teach at this school. At first, I wasn't thrilled with OCU's online facilitation approach. I thought it lacked individuality, and I wanted more say in how the classroom is run. However, now that I am on break for the summer, I am seeing the blessing in this approach. In truth, I am happy to teach/facilitate in whatever way the school wants. I just want to work, and I want to learn how to be a good teacher, whether online or on campus. The more experience, the better, in my book.

If all works out well, I should have a class to teach this summer. Perhaps I will have a regular schedule through the next year where I could teach 1-2 classes. The recruiter said this was possible, but I know that scheduling is based on needs. So if I could teach 1 class, say, in fall and spring, this would be good for me. I am still waiting on Regent University, and I believe that in time, I will receive a call to teach online for them as well. I also am "in process" at Colorado Christian University. I think I have very good prospects for part-time online teaching. The key for me is time management. I need to manage my time well so that I don't let any of these schools down. Of course, my prayer is for one full-time position. But until the Lord opens that door for me, I will be content to teach at whatever schools want me. I will teach part-time or full-time and for any number of schools. I just want to earn a decent salary so I can live more comfortably. Yet, I say with Paul that I am content in riches or in poverty. I am choosing to be content this good, good day. Selah!

Update: I received an email confirmation for an 8-week contract beginning in July. This is a perfect gift -- right when I needed some extra income. God is so good to me!
Leaning on the Lord

Today's inspirational reminder is from Joyce Meyer. Joyce writes, "When we lean on God, we actually enter into His rest and can enjoy our lives, no matter what our circumstances may be." I love this quote because it reminds me why we must "lean on" and abide in the Lord. If we want to be at rest, to cease from striving in this world, we must rest in the Lord. Resting in the Lord means to trust Him, to let Him take the lead in every area and to provide for us in the way He chooses to provide. It means we must lay aside our desire to be in control, to make decisions based in human understanding. Instead, we acknowledge our need, we say aloud, "Lord, I don't know how to solve this dilemma, this problem, and I need your help to do it."

Resting has been one of the hardest life lessons for me to learn. I have struggled with resting for years, and in the past couple months, the Lord has shown me how my unwillingness to rest has caused great harm to my body. My lack of rest has taken a toll on my physical, mental, and emotional state. I have been running around on empty, and my body now is telling me "enough!" I know better, of course I do, but I still try to remain in control, to be the one who makes the decisions as to what to do, where to go, and how to do everything. I need to rest, to rest in the Lord, to lean on Him for everything. When I do lean on Him, my life seems to slow down, to that tortoise pace, and I can relax. I can find refreshment for my world-weary soul. God knows our limits, our ends, and He knows that we need to rest frequently.

As I think about my life today, I realize that for all my striving and struggling, I haven't managed to make a whole lot of difference in my circumstances. All I have done is create stress for myself. I have set myself up for pain, sorrow, and suffering -- needlessly -- all because I refused to allow the Lord to lead me and guide me into that blessed rest. My "take away" for the day is to remember that when God leads, He provides. When He provides, He guides. We need only allow Him His rightful place to find blessed peace and rest. I want to rest now. I want to accept whatever He offers me. I want to know and to be incomplete surrender to Him. I want to believe that what is coming to me is good, always for my good, for my blessing, for my rest. May the Lord lead me and guide me this good day. May I lean on, abide in, and rest in Him today and always. In Jesus' Name, amen. Selah!

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