February 13, 2017

Feeling the Burn!

My weekend was a crash and burn session. Yes, I crashed and burned while trying to revise my chapter four, findings, for my dissertation. I started out strong on Saturday, but I ended up stewing most of the day over my professors comments, which were difficult to process. I didn’t have an issue with his comments, per se, it was more that what he was asking me to do was so difficult. I almost had to re-write the entire chapter simply to address his concerns. Sigh!

On top of that, my brother and sister-in-law were in town to celebrate my brother’s birthday. It was nice to see them, but the distraction took its toll on me. I stressed over taking time out (silly of me) when I should have simply enjoyed their visit. I did enjoy dinner on Sunday, and some birthday wishes, but I forgot to give him his card, and I ended up just being pre-occupied to the point of not being able to even relax. Will this trial end? I see a light at the end of this long dissertation tunnel, and that light is getting clearer and closer by the day. Lord, help me stay strong! In the end, I made good progress, and I took the 32 pages I had, revised them to a full 58, and now am thinking that before I can send this chapter back for review, I will need to add another 10-12 pages. UGH!

The weekend, thus — despite the hiccups, hangups, and heartache — was actually good. I did rest well, and I woke up this morning feeling pretty solid. I have completed my power point lessons for the day, and right now, I have about an hour to myself, to blog, to sit, to think, to do whatever the Lord intends for me to do. Afterward, I will need to get ready for school, and then head over to campus for my 3-back-to-back classes. My plans this evening include continued work on my paper, and hopefully, by the evening, I will have “enough” to send back to my committee chair. At the least, this is my prayer.
Settling Down and Hanging In

So this weekend, in and among all the rush, pressure, and stress, I made the decision to stay put, to stay in Phoenix for as long as the Lord desires me to do so. I am not sure what came over me, but perhaps it was just the long-term stress. I was driving around on Saturday, and I thought to myself, “Lord, this place is not so bad.” I mean, sure I have some pretty awful memories of living in Phoenix, but to be completely honest, I also have some pretty terrific memories too. I have met a lot of nice people here, and I have lived in a number of homes, all of them decent. Well, let’s not talk about the massive cockroaches I battled in Scottsdale (nuclear size, I should say). In truth, my life in Phoenix hasn’t really been bad at all. I did suffer through the ending of my marriage, and while that was difficult, I survived the trial. I am even the better for the experience, if you can believe that fact. I don’t make light of my experience, no, not at all. Instead, I just mean that I survived the trauma, and I am in one piece. I am no longer grieving, and I am not destroyed as a result. I am whole. I am healed. I have a new life that is good. I have options and opportunities, and as such, I have a new hope. It is a good thing.

I think one of the reasons I wanted to move so badly was simply to get away from this place — from the memories. The Lord has not permitted me to leave just yet, so I have to believe that I am here for this time because this is His will. Furthermore, I have wanted to leave to distance myself from my ex-husband, but after a visit with him last week, I realized that he no longer holds any fascination for me. I mean, I do care about him (through our history), and I am concerned about his well-being (because he is my son’s dad), but there is no romantic attraction or even a longing or desire to spend time with him. I have let him go, and I have accepted his choice in life. Thus, leaving this place because he lives here really is not a good reason for me. Instead, I am choosing to stay put simply because it appears that this is what the Lord wants me to do. Let me explain…

I have been thinking about this idea of staying put for a long while now. I have vacillated between moving and staying, and while I have always felt the Lord leading me to go, I have also felt a sense of peace about staying put. I mean, I guess I finally realized that Phoenix is just as good a place as any to put down roots. There really is no value to moving unless the Lord provides a job for me. I mean, Phoenix for good or for ill, is about the same as any other place in the USA.

Sure, I would like to experience some place new. Sure, I would like to have grass and trees. Sure, there are friends I would like to be closer to, but in truth, there are people who need me here and there is work to be done here, so moving is really just a change of scenery.

It took me some time this weekend to process this all. I was driving, as I mentioned, through my old neighborhood on the way to the grocery store. I heard myself say, “Lord, I really don’t mind living in this neighborhood again.” Yes, I don’t want to go back to my old street, per se; but, I really don’t mind being in the same area. I like it where I live. It is dusty, beige, and very sunny (we don’t have a lot of trees over here), but the fact is that I know this place well. I like the shops, the hospital, the schools, the homes — everything about this part of North Phoenix — just agrees with me. Yes, if I had my choice, I would probably move back to Scottsdale. But after 20 years here, 18 of which were spent in North Phoenix, I guess you could say that I am comfortable in this part of town.

I spent some time on Saturday looking at houses in this area. They are modestly priced, which is to say that they range from $190-250K. Okay, so that may not seem modest in your neck of the woods, but here in Phoenix, it is modest. I looked inside some of the homes for sale and while I am not seeing the style I loved from the Midwest, I am seeing an acceptable alternative. Yes, we have Saltillo tile and beehive fireplaces. We have rocks and dirt. We have lots of Adobe Tan paint. It is Phoenix, mind you, and while we don’t have the big expansive homes sitting on acreage, we do have nice little houses, some even with pools.

I realized that living here requires an adjustment, a mental adjustment. I have to accept living in the desert, the heat, the dust, the dirt. I have to accept that I may live in a little plain box — without much character — and that I won’t find that adorable 1930s house with curved doorways and crown molding like I would back east. Still, a house is a house, and praise be to God, I am thankful to have one.

Now that I think about it, I realize that whether I stay or I go, I do so with His provision. If the Lord desires for me to move, He will provide. If He desires that I stay, He will provide. I am to do as He leads, which means that I need to let this whole matter rest. I need to let it go.

This weekend was such a good case in point. I stressed over the details so much that I couldn’t even think straight. More so, I missed spending time with my family simply because I was so focused on one thing — my project. Yes, I know I need to focus, but still, I didn’t trust the Lord to take care of me enough to rest. As a result, I suffered the loss of family time, but also I strained to complete my work. Thankfully, the Lord persisted, and I finally let go around 8 p.m. last evening. I accomplished my work, but I fell into bed completely exhausted. Have I learned my lesson? I sure do hope so; I sure hope so!
In Closing

As I close out this blog post, I am reminded that whatever I do, I am to do it in His strength. I am to do His work, and in this way, I am to let Him do His work through me. I cannot control the outcome. I cannot control the time. I cannot control the provision. I relent. I let go. I let God guide me. I give in, and I give up my control. I do this now in His mighty and merciful name. He alone is worthy to be praised. He alone is worthy to be adored. I do it all for His name, His praise, and His honor.

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