January 18, 2017

Do Not Be Afraid

It is a good Wednesday. It is “hump day,” as the saying goes, and for all intents and purposes, this middle day seems to be starting off with a big bang. I will admit that I had planned to sleep in some this morning. I arranged for my son to take my car to school, and I asked my Dad to take me over to  pick it up around 1-1:15 so I could drive to campus. I was all snug in my bed when I heard the garbage truck roll on by my window. Yes, I forgot to set the cans out again! This is the second time in two weeks, and frankly, I am persuaded it is due to my stress level and my overload at work.

Still, God be praised, I made it out to the street (sans slippers) and was able to set the can out by my neighbor’s bin. The truck rolled back around, and ta-dum, collected our garbage. I came back inside and tried to go back to sleep, and even though I did sleep for another hour or so, I ended up with that “hungover” feeling. Sigh. Nonetheless, I am determined to make this into a great day!

On Tap For Today

It is now mid-morning, and I have done nothing at all. I have checked email and Facebook, responded to some student emails, but other than that, I have dealt with issues here at home. The good news is that my Mom is on the mend. We (me and my Dad) were very worried about her yesterday. She has a virus, and has been not well the past couple days. Yesterday, she acted as if she was lost, and well, that really concerned us. More so, she had pretty intense stomach pains, and for a time, we thought we would have to call 9-1-1. Then, she fell off the bench while trying to put her pants on, and well, that was a nightmare. She was so out of it, couldn’t roll to her knees, and again, we thought we needed to call the paramedics to come help us get her standing again. All said, we got her dressed and in bed, and this morning, she woke up her cheery, albeit still slightly sick self.

All worries aside, this behavior is a concern to me and to my Dad. Mom’s condition has been getting worse, and she struggles some days with simply getting up and moving around. On other days, she is doing well, clear and alert, and even willing to go out to the store. Most of the in-between days it is rather hit or miss. Dad doesn’t want to leave her alone, and I cannot do as much for them due to my work schedule as I would normally do. The time is coming soon to make a decision on their next level of care, but until I am settled with a job (full-time), I honestly do not know what to do.

I blogged yesterday about the fact that I made progress on my research. In truth, I had a very productive day. I quit around 10 p.m. last night after completing the following to-do tasks:

  • Prep for week 2 at GCU (review PPTs and create new ones)
  • Read assignments for week 2 at GCU
  • Grade ice-breaker discussion at ASU
  • Grade Free Write assignment at ASU
  • Work on chapter 4 (dissertation)
  • Meet with my chair (Regent)
  • Answer emails
  • Do house chores
I know that this list does not seem like a lot of work, but the online tasks and creative tasks take several hours to complete, and I actually reviewed, edited and added new content to my chapter 4. In truth — I did A LOT OF WORK. Right now, I have 21 pages completed of my results chapter, with perhaps 20 more to go before the weekend. I had hope to send all 40 to my chair yesterday, but that didn’t happen. Now, I am scheduled to send it this weekend, and I feel confident that I can send him chapter 5 by the following week. If all goes as planned, I should be able to send him chapters 4-5 by the end of the month. This would leave us about 1.5 months to revise and defend. My chair told me that I am one of the students he expects to finish this spring, so that was very encouraging news. I am praying that I can do it — and Lord willing — I will do it. If it is His will, then it will be done! Selah!

Oh yes, I also applied for full-time work at Regent. Like I posted yesterday, it is a long shot. Plus, I am not sure I want to teach on campus. I love online, and well, I guess I would love to work there full-time. It is more so that I am not sure I could live in VA Beach, what with the cost of housing there. Still, I felt a prompting by the Lord to do it, and so in obedience, I did. If nothing comes of it, at the least, I followed what I thought was His desire for me to walk in faith. I did it, and I am content in that fact.

Now my day is full with on campus teaching. I have my three classes at GCU, and frankly, I am relieved. My time on campus is relaxed, for the most part. I like my courses, even though I get stressed over the American Lit course.  I am getting the hang of it, and my students are working with me. I think they are nervous about the way I teach — perhaps they don’t know what to expect yet. Anyway, my 106 classes (English II) are in process, just as they normally are, and for the most part, I just show up and do my stuff.

I am happy, I guess you could say, that my life seems to be running smoothly right now. I am busy, beyond busy, but I have a feeling that everything is going to be OK. Yes, I am confident in His control, in His care, and in His consistent provision of good to my life.

Do Not Be Afraid

This morning, as I was somewhere between deep sleep and waking up, I had a conversation with the Lord. I know, strange as that may seem, it was like a conversation. I was sitting next to the Lord, in His garden (my favorite place to sit and contemplate), and He asked me why I was afraid. I remember responding with the usual answers:
  • Fear of change
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of not pleasing those I love
He listened to me recount my fears, and then took each one aside and asked me to really think about the fear and to determine whether or not I was actually afraid or just anxious about a particular outcome. As I started to run through each fear, I quickly realized that I wasn’t afraid at all — I was just a bit anxious (worried or filled with uncertainty or anticipation). My “fear” was more like how one gets when they are called to the principal’s office for some unknown reason. Your first thought is, “Oh no! What have I done now?” We tend to run toward the negative rather than the positive, and in truth, getting called to the principal’s office doesn’t always equate to punishment — sometimes there is reward for good behavior.

As I started to think more about my so-called fear, I realized that my anxiety was a mixture of anticipation of good news and not knowing what was to be next. I mean, I don’t have an oracle to consult, so really, I don’t know what to expect. But, I have confidence in the Lord, and as I realized this truth, I began to exert my confidence, my faith, and I began to see that I am not really afraid at all. Yes, my fear has been replaced by faith, and my faith is strong!

With all this in mind, my conversation continued with the Lord, and He asked me what it was about moving to VA that bothered me most. I remember this specifically because I thought about it, and again, I realized that it was personal preference more than anything else. I really love my school, and I would consider it a great privilege to teach for them full-time. At the same time, I came to the conclusion that moving there would have to be His will for my life, and that He would have to open doors, provide a way, etc., in order for me to do it. As I thought more on it, I accepted this fact — God is going to move me where He wants me to go — and I am going to obey Him regardless of personal preference.

I fell asleep sometime in mid conversation, but I remember thinking that He has this whole thing well-in-hand. I was obedient, and in that there is no shame. I was trusting, faithful, and I followed what I thought was the Holy Spirit’s prompting. In the end, what will be, will be, and I will accept His will on this matter.

Anyway, when I finally woke up and started my day, I had this sense of peace about the past couple days. I am working so diligently, and I am sensing His good pleasure as I trust Him, rely on Him, and wait for Him. In all, I feel good about my future. I still don’t know what job will be, but for now, I am good. I have enough manna to cover me for this good day, and I have the assurance that my God, Jehovah-Jireh, is faithful. He is always so very faithful!

In Closing

As I close this blog post, and I made myself ready for the day, I realize that my life is no longer in my own hand. I mean, sure — I can call the shots if I want to do so — but since I have laid my life down at His feet, He is now the One who makes those calls. I find this thought empowering, exhilarating, and freeing. In this way, I don’t have to worry about tomorrow because tomorrow is already covered by His blessed care and concern. He has EVERYTHING well in hand.

My life has taken on new proportions, and I realize now that all I am asked to do is obey. I am to be  obedient to the Word of God, the written and the spoken WORD, and in this way, if I attend to what He has said in the Bible and revealed to me through His Holy Spirit, then I am doing well. He will care for me, He will cover me, He will provide for me. I don’t have to be involved in the details or logistics anymore. I can simply let go, and in doing so, I will let God lead. 

There is peace in this way. This is the way to find REST, to really REST. I have worked so long and so hard to get to where I am, but I know that I am here for His reason more so than my own ideas or plans. I am right where I am because He determined it to be so. I was faithful to follow, and He was faithful to provide what I need, right when I needed it most. Now, I can sit here, in His blessed garden, breathing deeply and enjoying the beauty and the bliss that accompanies a soul at its rest. I am at rest. I am at peace. I have joy, and in this way, I am no longer controlled by fear, motivated by it, driven by it, or harassed by it. Instead, I am free to go and do my Father’s business because I KNOW, and I mean I KNOW, He has me so well-covered. Selah!

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