December 7, 2016

It Is a Good Day

Happy Wednesday, World! It is a good day today. In every respect, it is good. I woke up early again, around 5:00 a.m., though I forced myself to stay in bed for almost an hour while I read the news, caught up on social media, and checked email. Finally, I was roused by my boys batting a Christmas ornament down the hallway. I still cannot find where it landed, but for about 10 minutes all I heard was the “ching, ching, ching” of an ornament as it was being whacked up and down the hallway outside my bedroom door. LOL! Still, despite the fretful awakening, I am choosing to treat this day as  a “good” one. Yes, God is good, and thus, every day under heaven is also a good, good day. Selah!

Giving God Praise

I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; 
I will glorify your name forever (Psalm 86:12 NIV)

The past couple days have been stressful for me. I don’t know why, really. It is not like my to-do list got any longer or more difficult. I think it is because my semester is ending, and I see everything that must be completed by the final due date, and well, that fact just seems overly intimidating to me. I know I can do it, praise be to God, but still the volume of work seems staggering at times. I have so much to do, and frankly, there just isn’t enough time in the day to do it all. But, God is good, and therefore, I am choosing this good day to give Him all the praise. He is good, so very good to me — so very, very good to me.

Lately, I have thought about my schedule, and about the realistic opportunity for me to teach so many classes regularly. I love the “thought” of making a lot of money doing what I love, but when I focus on the money aspect, and I realize that in order to make “what I think is enough,” I would have to sustain this pace long term, well, I just cannot do it. I mean, it is too much, and with this in mind, I realize that now I am overworked, overburdened, and just overwhelmed by the amount of work that must be done.

I am not sure what the Lord has in mind for me, but I pray that one job — just one job — will turn full-time and allow me the flexibility of teaching 3-4 classes rather than 6-7. I don’t know how much longer I can sustain this pace, but God be praised, I know that He knows my ends. He knows what I can and cannot handle, and He knows how much work I can tackle and still do well. It is encouraging, and satisfying to know that God, as my Manager, is the one who orchestrates my work life. He is the One who brings me favor with schools, and He is the One who says, “Yes or no” to various opportunities. I can trust in His determination, His judgment, and in the end, I can believe that He knows what is best for me.

For example, I have been thinking more about whether I should plan to go someplace else or remain here in Phoenix for a time. The more I think about staying put, the more I see the bare facts of little opportunity, in teaching that is, for me. I see skyrocketing housing prices, and I see rents following suit. I honestly do not see staying here as a viable alternative. I really believe that the only place I can go to earn a decent living is where teachers are paid well, but the cost of living and housing is less than it is here in Phoenix. I have looked at a number of places, but either teachers are paid a pittance or the cost of housing is commensurate with Phoenix. I need both aspects to fall in line with my potential earnings, and frankly, so far it has been difficult to pinpoint any place that isn’t in a cold climate. I guess that is why the salaries are so aggressively positioned. I mean, not very many people want to relocate to a cold place (e.g., Nebraska, for example).

I realize that taking a teaching position, while satisfying to my soul and my senses, was not the most lucrative financially speaking. Yet, this is what I believe the Lord provided to me, called me to do, thus I have to believe that He has a place for me. I have to believe that my path is leading me to a place where I can earn a decent living AND afford a modest home. Sigh!

O, Lord, I know you have me well covered this good, good day. Help me to not focus on what I lack, but rather to focus on the good you have brought to me. May my day be filled with joy and thanksgiving as I meditate on your Word, and consider with gratefulness the bounty of your blessings.

The Lord is good to me, so very, very good to me. Just yesterday, I was praying for some comfort, some confirmation, and thanks be to God, He provided it to me. I spent most of the day at home, struggling to even complete a single task. I did managed to get out the door and do some needed shopping, but other than that, I spent most of the day feeling down and depressed about my mounting to-do list. Still, late in the day, the Lord gave me encouragement as I spent time with my colleagues and discussed my project. It was good to have some company, to commiserate, and to not feel so alone in the process. I ended our chat session feeling better overall, but still not 100% as if I was back on track and able to focus more clearly.

This morning, however, after waking up so early again, I spent time in the Word and then prayed over my situation. I realize that I am suffering from some oppression, so the first thing I did was defend myself against my enemy who is seeking to cause me harm. Second, using the Word of God as my weapon of choice, I confirmed my calling, and reaffirmed my commitment to trusting the Lord — despite what appears to be a very difficult and challenging hill up ahead of me. I have no recourse but to remain faithful. At this point in time, I must remain steadfast. I must not fall into the trap of fearing failure. Failure is not an option, and I know this is the case. I must stay strong, but as my strength fails, I remember that I can do all things through CHRIST and His strength. I cannot do it alone nor can I even attempt this major project standing on my own determination and judgment. No, this project is His, and it has been consecrated for His praise, honor, and glory. I have said that I would take no credit in its completion, but I would give it ALL to the Lord for His praise. I know that I need His help, and without His help, I simply cannot do what is being asked of me. I reconfirmed my commitment to His glory — to seeking and praising Him — and to bringing Him glory as I work through all these things, these miserable and at times, heavy and hard things. Yet, I know He is pleased with me. He tells me so through His gentle affirmation, His kind words, and His gracious favor. I know my Father is pleased, and that thought cheers me on. I can do this, I say to myself. I can do this work because it pleases God, my Father, and in and through that process, I find joy, satisfaction, and an overall sense of accomplishment. I can do this work because it is His work, and therefore, it is His to claim, to name, and to proclaim.

I thank you, Jesus, for the good work you have in store for me this good, good day. I lay everything down at your feet and I rest in your sufficiency, your goodness, and your grace, this good day. I know that all things can be accomplished through your power, your might, and your wisdom; thus, I ask in Jesus Name for your power to infuse me, your Spirit to ignite the fire within me, and your word to settle me so that I can focus and do this good work. In all things, I give you praise. I honor your Holy Name, and I rest in your security and your provision. You are good to me, and I deserve you not. Thank you, Lord, for your blessedness, your presence, and your authority in and through my life. In Jesus’ Name I pray this today, amen. So be it. Selah!

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