January 11, 2017

Compassion

It is a good day to be alive and well and living in Phoenix, AZ! I am feeling fine today, despite the fact that I was roused at 6:45 at the sound of the garbage truck passing the house. And yes, I forgot to set the bin out, so I jumped out of bed, hustled outside and put the bin across the street. Thankfully, I made it in time to be collected. Sigh!

It is now 10:00 a.m., and I am sitting here at my desk, working on my computer, and thinking about all that has transpired over the past several months. I am in this sweet “spot,” this wonderfully good place in my life. I have my home, my job, and my studies at Regent. I am content, happy, and settled. I am open to new avenues, new ideas and thoughts and discourse on said ideas and thoughts, but mostly, I am in this place where I feel safe and secure.

Lately, the Lord has been sending me confirmation — like oodles of it — whereby I am sensing just how blessed I really am. And, just yesterday, after I received a recorded message from my healthcare provider reminding me to schedule a wellness visit, I could not help but a “sigh of relief,” simply from the fact that I know that I am well-covered (medically) this year. More over, after that call, I made a dentist appointment (for bi-annual cleaning), and again, I had to give thanks to the Lord for His provision of dental care. What is more is the fact that as I complete the paper work for my new teaching contract at ASU, I cannot help but remember that I would have “nothing at all” if it wasn’t for His gracious provision of a teaching career, an education to support that career, and semester contracts to give me blessed experience in that career. Thus, in all things today, I am giving Him thanks.

Notwithstanding all the joy, I am a wee-bit stressed (just a partial bit of stress — LOL). Yesterday, I didn’t work on my dissertation at all. Instead, I took care of business and other issues related to my new employment. I spent time working with my online students, and then later, I rested. I was so beat, worn from getting up at 5 a.m., and of course, from not sleeping well the previous night. I am not sleeping well normally, and these periodic wake ups are taking a toll on me physically. Still, I am thankful for a good rest, and a good day yesterday that was filled with more down-time than up-time. In all, the Lord has graciously provided for me. He has made it possible for me to graduate on time, and for that gift, I am truly blessed and thankful.

As I work through my day today (leaving here around 1:00 p.m.), I am thankful that I have this wonderful schedule. I mean, while I am not crazy about teaching until 7 p.m., the very fact that I am able to do it, is testimony in and of itself. Yes, I am thankful for the provision of stamina, grace, and interest — just so that I can do this work — and what is more, I am thankful for an increased interest in my field, in my area of study. Yes, the Lord has not only blessed me with a rich and wonderful place to work, but also He has graced me with the gift of interest. I love my job, and I love what I do, and I love my field of study. I cannot imagine anything better than what I already have at present. The Lord has made a way for me, and I am safe, secure, and settled in it. He is good, so very good to me! Selah!
Interest is Everything

I mention the fact that I have this renewed interest in my field, and just today, as I was prepping for my American Literature class, I realized that English and Communication are so tightly intertwined. I mean, I am studying rhetoric, and rhetoric is found in both speaking and in writing. More so, my background is in digital technology, and as such, I have spent many years working with technology as a means of persuasion, communication, and of course, marketing promotions and advertising. My life, it seems, has been one long progression or journey that started with my interest in studying Art in high school (Graphics or Commercial Art) and later developed into an interest in all things technical (working in high tech industry in the 80-90s), which then led to a career in designing and producing artifacts for commercial use (90s-2000s). Moreover, my study in academics, has been a progression as well. I first studied Art (commercial, studio, history, and culture) and then later, English Humanities (history and culture), which in turn, let to graduate study in literature and communication. Thus, I have spent the majority of my professional life working as a producer of communicative goods. More so, I have spent the majority of my academic life studying the influence of art, architecture, and literature has had on the development of historic culture as well as postmodern culture. Now, as a PhD in Communication, I am studying the underlying theory that supports how we learn, how we think, how we process meaning, how we communicate, and how we use language to engage with each other socially, culturally, and representationally in this digitized, modernized, and heavily mediated world we live in. Yes, it seems that the plans the Lord had for my life have come to fruition. I am right where I belong, having lived and studied, the very content He desires me to understand, to incorporate, and to explicate for His people, the Church. I am ready to do His work, and because of my broad range of experience, I am in this very unique position to be able to do this work well.

My mind is fixed. My heart is focused and determined, and as such, I am ready to be let loose on His Church. I am ready to go and do this wonderful work, in addition to teaching students rhetoric and the art of writing academic and persuasive papers. I am ready to come into my own, and to begin to live my life as a Professor of English Humanities with an emphasis in Digital Rhetoric. I am ready, so ready to move into this wide field, one that embraces both aspects of my life — the applied part and the theoretical part — and in doing so, I am poised to make an impact in this area, this field.

It is exciting to see how the Lord has used my life, all of it, the ugly and unpleasant bits along with the sweet and wonderful bits, to bring me to this place today. I am right where I belong, and that thought excites me, encourages me, and causes me great enthusiasm as I plan, ponder, and purpose my days going forward. I do believe so strongly that the Lord has a wonderful plan for my life, and with what I have experienced thus far, I can only imagine what my future life will bring.

My interest has been piqued. I am ready to become a fully-fledged English professor, and in this way, I am ready to pick up my banner and march on. I am ready for the Lord to open that door for me, the one that leads to that faculty position, a tenure track position, where I can set down roots, and really dig in and make a difference. My prayer is that He will bring me this position soon. I realize that I will not begin this work until after I graduate, and more than likely, not until the fall semester (2017) begins. Yet, there is part of me that hopes that I could start in the summer, perhaps begin this work in the summer, because with that, I would have a running start, so to speak, and I could really get a jump on the new academic year. But, the timing of all of this is within His hand, and I am ready to wait, to be patient, until He puts everything in order, in place, and I am in contention for this position. He will make a way where no way exists, and He will place my feet securely on the path that leads to the fulfillment of His will. He will do it, He will do this for me. He is good to me, always so very good to me!

Coming and Going

In many ways, I am coming and going at the same time, as weird as that sounds. I mean, I am learning how to come into my own, to embrace my unique qualities and gifts and to no longer fear the reprisal of others. I am fully trusting the Lord to cover me, and that means that I am trusting Him to settle my enemies around me and to give me peace. Yes, I am believing in faith that He will settle me. He will settle all contention, strife, anger, and hard feelings, and He will bridge reconciliation in all relationships. It is in His Name and Power that I claim this promise from scripture, and thus, I can rest in knowing that the person that I am, with all my oddities and idiosyncrasies is exactly what He desires. You see, I don't have to change my colors or stripes for anyone. I don't have to be like others, to do things like others, or to even react, act, or perform like others. I am my own person, created in Christ Jesus, for His specific purpose. Thus, I embrace me, and in doing so, I come to accept that everything that makes me "ME" is all part and parcel to His plan for my life. I am coming into my own through the process of letting go. I am learning what to let go of, which mostly is the need for approval, the desire for praise, and the longing for acceptance. I am simply enjoying my weirdness, my wonderful wacky way of looking at the world, and I am saying to the world, in short, "accept me for who I am because what you see is always what you get!"

The coming part has been hard-fought and hard won. I have processed through so much hurt, trauma, and difficulty, yet through that process, I have learned to become more comfortable in my own skin. I am in such a good place mentally, emotionally, and physically. I understand myself well, and I have finally have a handle on my wants and needs. I get what I need most, and that is to be free to be me. I don't want to change, to become someone I am not or to live always feeling the need to prove myself to others. I have decided that the best way for me to live without the need for approval is for me to simply let go all those expectations that others have for me as well as those expectations that I have for other people. I simply let them go. I let people live their lives, whether for good or for ill, and I step aside from the jury box. I let the Lord judge the nations, as it says in His word, and I simply remain busy doing His work. Yes, I place His work ahead of my need to control or to controvert anything, anyone, or any place to meet or suit my needs.

In this way, I am letting go of the biggest part of the "ME" picture -- the need to control outcomes. You see, I have so long needed to control the outcome of my life. I have stressed, struggled, and striven to keep my ship afloat, but now I am in this place where control no longer exists. I cannot control anything save my mouth, my anger, and my humility. I cannot change other people, cannot hope that they will behave this way or that nor can I even begin to expect them to live as I do. I have given over that control to the Lord, and as a result, He has blessed me with freedom. Freedom from guilt, freedom from oppression, and freedom from feeling less than perfect. Yes, I am free. He has set me free from condemnation and guilt, and He has helped me see how often I have allowed myself to become depressed and oppressed simply because I held myself to such high expectations (behavior, attitudes, and the like). More so, my need to be perfect, to not make mistakes, has caused me intense stress. I am learning how to humble myself, to accept my flaws, and to let mistakes happen when they do. I am learning how to say, "Oh, well" and in that way, I am releasing people, obligations, and even goals from holding me hostage. I am embracing His timeline, His plan, and His provision, and in this way, I am saying to Him that I am willing, eager, and excited to walk according to His frame of reference, His context, and His choice in all things.  It is liberating to me to finally accept myself and to let go of the past, the pain, and the unfulfilled life I led for so many years. It is a blessing to accept His future, His hope, and His promise for a good life, a prosperous and fruitful life. I am living in blessing, "walking on sunshine," and in this way, I am experiencing His blessed joy every single day of my life. I am enjoying my life -- every day -- as Joyce Meyer says. I am loving life, loving people, and loving the Lord simply because I have embraced His way fully. I have agreed with Him that His way is best. It is best, always the best! Selah!
In Closing

As I close this blog post, I lift up my voice and give thanks to God above for His magnificent blessing, His marvelous prosperity, and His majestic goodness in and through my life. He has made my way, and my way is good. It is so very good. Today, I recognize that every breath I take is a gift from the Lord, every word I speak is a gift from the Lord, and every thought I entertain is a gift from the Lord. I am alive and well. I am alive and well, and praise be to God, I am living in such a good place, a good way, and with a good hope and future -- all because -- He has chosen for it to be this way. Amen, so be it, thy will be done! Selah!

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