June 11, 2016

Patiently Waiting

Happy Saturday! It is a good day in sunny and warm Phoenix. I think the high today is only expected to hit 100 (yay!) It has been a blessed relief to not be in the "triple triples." Those triple triple digits are forecast to hit here again by the end of next week, so I am enjoying the "cool" weather today. LOL! Yes, it is weird to think that 100 degrees could be enjoyable, but given the alternative (110-120), I would say that it is true.

God is good, so very good.

Our AC seems to be working well again (finally), and our inside temperature has stayed at a steady 77 degrees since last week (PTL!) My prayers are that we continue to have the problem repaired. It has been a rocky ride of cool/hot/cool/hot these past two months. As we enter our hot month (June), the last thing we need is to have continued AC troubles.


Resting or Trying to Rest

It is a good Saturday, and I am at rest. Yes, I am resting today. I slept well, woke up refreshed, and feel pretty good overall. I am a bit bored with life, but that is normal whenever I come to the end of a big project. I am used to having things to do, papers to write or courses to complete, so this "down time" is a blessing and a curse to me. I prefer to be panicked. I prefer to be swamped. I prefer to have no rest. This is my normal. I am so not used to resting. I am so not used to having prolonged rest. I need something to occupy my mind. I need something to focus my attention. I need some work. Yes, I need some work. Sigh!

What is more, I miss my studies. I miss my cohort (at Regent), and I miss my routine of being a "doctoral student." This past week all of these feelings of being out of sorts came home to roost for me. You see, this past week was "residency week" at Regent. The first week of June is traditionally the required "on campus" week for doctoral students in the communication program. I have spent the past three summers traveling to VA to spend a week on campus. Each time I head to campus, I am filled with excitement. Not only is the time on campus blessed, but it is also the highlight of my entire year. I spend a wonderful week immersed in study, but I also spend it with people I love. We laugh, we hang out, and generally, we have such a rousing good time together. Residency week has been such an amazing blessing, and here I am, sitting at home with nothing to do. It has been such a depressing thing for me. I am so depressed about my status of "ABD." I miss being a student. I miss my program. I just miss the work I was required to do as part of my program. Waaah!

I think the thing that got me down the most was when I saw all the pictures my colleagues posted to Facebook. I could see that they were having such a great time, and part of me was feeling so down, so completely down, just thinking that I was missing out. Moreover, I so sad to think that I was finished with my program -- like completely finished.  Yet, here I am "on hold," not really finished, but so close to being finished, and I feel like my life has spun into limbo. Instead of pushing on through to the end, to graduation, I am stuck waiting an entire summer before I can make any progress toward that end. I hate this feeling. I hate feeling like I've been slowed to a halt. More so, I hate feeling like I don't have any control over my finish, my program completion right now. The fact that I cannot begin researching without permission and passing my defense makes me feel so inadequate.

This was not how I planned to spend my summer. I had planned to not work so that I could conduct research. I had planned to defend my proposal in early May and then move into research mode over the summer. Then I would defend my dissertation in fall, and I would graduate. Now, it all seems so very iffy. I feel so like a failure for not being able to complete my proposal, for not being able to push on through to the final phase of my education.

I wish I could explain why I feel this way, but it is difficult to put those feelings into words. I simply feel like I have failed because I wasn't able to do what needed to be done. It is my fault, or so my brain tells me. I didn't stick to the schedule like I had planned in the spring. I could have finished my proposal earlier, perhaps made it in under the wire. But then I think, "no," there is nothing I could have done. I mean, my professor had never really even worked with me on getting my chapters written. He had worked with my peers prior, and they had all written chapters and had them reviewed in previous semesters. In my case, my professor had never really worked with me that closely. I don't mean to blame him because that is not the case at all. Rather, as I look back on my progress, I see that my classes, my courses, and my dissertation research simply didn't progress as far as some of my colleagues' work. Perhaps it was simply the project I chose -- the megachurch -- and the nature of the research itself. Some of my colleagues picked quantitative research (numbers) and were doing surveys. Others were choosing to interview participants so their research was more accessible. Mine just seems time-consuming and perhaps that is why it got set on low and simmer rather than set to a rapid boil. I just don't know; I honestly do not know.

Now I am where I am and there is nothing I can do about it. I have to be patient. I have to wait this out. I have to trust the Lord and believe that His timing is perfect.

Waiting is Hard

I have had to wait before, but not like this, not in this way, I mean. You see, I know that what I am doing at Regent is the Lord's work. I am doing His work. This PhD is for ministry alone, and my work, my research project is the capstone that stands between this degree and His actual calling and the fulfillment of that calling. I cannot proceed without His hand of blessing. I cannot move forward unless He says "go." Right now, I see the end in sight, but I cannot get to that end without some major barriers being moved, being shifted, and being lifted so I can move freely up ahead. The Lord is the One who is driving this proverbial bus, and right now, I feel lost. I feel as though I have been chucked in the back seat and told in no uncertain terms to "settle down." I don't get it. I mean, everything was progressing so well, and then WHAM! This bus just slammed to a halt. Why, Lord? Why has this happened?

I am sitting here today blogging, whining in my "soup," so to speak, and I wonder why everything was moving along at a good rate of speed, and now we are stuck in the line that is simply not inching forward. It is like we got out of the fast lane and into the slowest lane on the freeway. What is more, it is like we are stuck in line at the toll booth. There is nothing we can do, we are stuck here until it is our turn to pay our toll and move on ahead. AGH!

I never thought it would be this hard to wait before. I never thought it would be like this, so awful, so picking awful. Yet, I cannot explain why I feel the way I do. I mean, I should be jumping for joy that we are resting. Isn't that a good thing? Resting, I mean? I have the entire summer off. I can sleep in every single day. I can binge-watch Netflix and Amazon Instant Video until I am bleary-eyed. Yet, I don't feel relieved. I don't feel happy. It isn't like I am on vacation or anything. No, I am just sitting here, bored to tears, and thinking that my life is over. My life is all over.

As I write out my feelings today, I hear this quiet voice say to me, "Streams in the Desert." Why, I do not know so I go and google it. Yes, I know the devotional work by Mrs. Charles Cowman, "Streams in the Desert." As I find several devotions, one for today and one from February, I am humbled when I read her beautiful words. In particular, I read this section which speaks deeply into my heart:
"Have you longed to do some great work for Me and instead have been laid aside on a bed of pain and weakness? This thing is from Me. I could not get your attention in your busy days and I want to teach you some of my deepest lessons. 'They also serve who only stand and wait.' Some of My greatest workers are those shut out from active service, that they may learn to wield the weapon of all—prayer" ("February 1," 1918)
I think about these words, how I am one of those called to "stand and wait." You see, my work, the work I do is His work. I am doing something that is for Him, by Him, and because of Him. I don't engage in this work alone, no; rather, I do it on His authority and with His power. I stand here today, humbled by the thought that for whatever reason, God has chosen to ask me to wait for Him. He has chosen to ask me to stand and wait, and therefore, I must do so without grumbling or complaining. In fact, I remember asking Him, no -- telling Him -- that I would not grumble. I would not complain. How silly I am to think that I could do such a thing? Really? I cannot pass a day without uttering some complaint, some grumble or mumble of dissatisfaction.

I confess my sin to Him today. I beg His forgiveness for I have not stood my ground. I have not obeyed His call to wait, to rest, to be patient. I have demanded that He do something. I have stomped my foot and demanded that He make a way for me. He has made a way for me, and that way includes learning how to rest this good, good day.


Heavenly Father, 

I ask that you forgive me for my impatience this good day. You have provided rest for me, and I am complaining about it. I accept your blessed rest. I trust your provision of time. And, I believe in faith that you are here with me, resting with me, and that in time, in your time, I will move on ahead. I will wait for you to promote me, to move me, to provide free passage to the next step in the process. Until then, I will patiently wait as I learn this valuable and needed lesson of rest. I ask now for your grace to be able to rest. I accept your provision, and I know that I have what I need this good day to take heed, to obey, and to do as you ask of me. I thank you for your goodness toward me, your love and your kindness as I reach for whatever you ask me to reach for today. May your Name be blessed. May you receive all praise and all honor. I ask all of this in Jesus' matchless, mighty, and merciful Name this good, good day. Amen, so be it, thy will be done! Selah!

References

Cowman, L. B. (1918). Streams In The Desert : February 1. Retrieved from http://www.youdevotion.com/streams/february/1

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