November 4, 2016

Friday is Here!

It is Friday! Yay! This has been one long week, and praise be to God, it is now over. I am so, so glad that the weekend is almost here. In truth, this is really a turning point for me of sorts. In my GCU classes, my students are finishing up their 2nd essay today, and for all intents and purposes, come Monday, we begin the final countdown to the end of the semester. This means that we have five weeks of instruction left before winter break. I know — it is crazy to think that fall 2017 is almost over, but it is ALMOST OVER! What is more, when I think that at my other school, ACU, there is even less time to finish all our projects and assignments, my head begins to swoon. Monday brings us three more weeks over there, and well, the push will be on to get everything wrapped up and put to bed. I am so ready, so ready for this semester to end. In reality, I need this semester and next to be over.

This year, in particular, has been the most challenging of all the years (academically, mentally, intellectually, etc.) thus far. I have been stretched as a person, an academic, a teacher, and frankly, I need my PhD to be off my back. I am ready to be a full-time teacher, and to focus on teaching, scholarly work, etc. I mean, I love school, I really do. I love studying, scholarly work, and everything that goes along with it, but after a while, the workload, the pace, just gets to you. I am so tired most days, and with teaching 5-6 classes each semester, I simply am getting burned out. Ack!

Moreover, since I haven’t been sleeping well, I am struggling to make the rounds, to get myself from point A to B and still function. Last night, I had another dinosaur dream. Ugh! Why did I ever watch Godzilla and Jurassic Park when I was young and impressionable? I have visions of dinosaurs peering into windows and three-toed Raptors trying to open doors now. Sigh! The good news is that like with my other dreams, I rarely panic anymore. I am very calm in these dreams. I tend to move, to escape with ease, but I still feel the lurking, the scare tactics at work. I am in control in these dreams, and as is typical, I tend to protect other people in them as well. Normally, when I do wake up, I pray over these dreams so that I can fall back to sleep. I know that these are nightmares meant to cause me distress. These are not random dreams, and I know that my enemy uses dreams to cause me to fear. It has been this way since I was a child, and I am used to them in many ways. I have matured to the point where I can deal with them, no longer be panic stricken and frightened, but they still come, usually when I am stressed or when I am working on a very important project like my dissertation.

My prayer today is to focus on what I must complete, to remain in the “game” so to speak, and to stay steady. My Lord, MY ROCK AND MY REDEEMER, is at my side (or I am at His side), and with His help, I can do all things. I look up, I give Him praise, and I rest in His abilities, His sufficiency, His goodness this good, good day. He alone is worthy to be praised! He alone is worthy to receive our adoration! To God be the glory, forever and ever, Amen.

Plans for Today

So my plans for today are pretty simple. I have three classes to teach, and since my students are completing their peer reviews in class, I only have to go and walk them through it. It is low-key, easy, and really nice. I do have in-class discussion to post to my online classes, but I plan to do that later this evening, and then tomorrow and Sunday is set aside for the start of my dissertation research project. In all, if I can grade everything from this week, respond to my students AND get my dissertation work done, I will be in such good shape. Oh my goodness, yes! I will be in such good shape.

My prayer, thus, is to rely on the Lord for His strength. I need Him to do this work. I cannot. I have already let this go, but today, I am reminded that this is a daily process, a daily surrender of my abilities, my skills, my creative talents. I can only do so much, and what He has asked me to do is far more than I can handle. Thus, I must let this go again. I must make a daily sacrifice, laying aside my burdens, laying down my hopes and my dreams, and letting Him have all the praise, the honor, and the glory. I must decrease, as Paul said, so that He can increase. I must learn how to be less so that He can be more. I wish I could say that this process of letting go, of becoming less, is easy, but it is not. My flesh wages war, as Paul described, against the desires of the Spirit. I still want to be in charge, to call the shots, to try to manage everything, yet in my frail and weakened state, I can do no such thing. At the least, not to the level He asks of me. I must let Him be God in every area of my life, and while my mind says that I have already done this, my flesh screams loudly, “no, not now — not yet!” This battle is between my fleshly wants and desires and His Godly determined outcome. I want His way, I do. I want to do things as He asks me to do them. I want to experience blessing upon blessing, but my flesh just gets in the way. It just stands there — immovable — and in that way, I often succumb to fleshly wants. Jesus said, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41 NLT). Yes, Lord, help me to overcome this weakness, this fragility, this failing. Help me to do your will this good, good day!

Longing and Desires

My heart longs for the Lord. My praise all the day long is for His name and His glory. Why do I struggle so much to do the things the Lord asks of me? Why do I struggle to become the person of His choosing? Sigh!

Psalm 73:26 NLT says, “My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.”

As I think about this psalm, I am encouraged to realize that my focus on God helps me to remember that what I cannot do, He is able to do because He is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present. Our God is truly an all-consuming fire. I look up, this good, good day, and I remember that when my heart fails, and my strength grows weak, my God is my strength. He is my portion and my cup. His goodness overflows, and His mercy is unlimited. I trust in Him today. I wait for His promised provision, and I rejoice that while I suffer today, I will receive a crown of life at His final coming. I am good, therefore, good. Despite the pain (sciatica), the mounting pressure, the unending to-do list, and the various other trials and torments — I am good. I am so very good.

In Closing

I close out this blog post today, and I lift up His mighty and most merciful name. I praise Him. I take my joy in Him, and it is through Him, that I find my purpose, my identity, my destiny. I am His to do with as He pleases, and in this way, I am free to go and to do what He asks and wills of me. I hope is firmly placed in the One who loves me so deeply, so completely. My hope is secure in my God, my King and my Savior, Jesus the Christ. 

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