February 26, 2017

Making More Progress Today

It is Saturday, such a blessed Saturday! I am feeling fine, and I am thanking the Lord for His marvelous goodness today. I woke up with some sinus pain and pressure, but after a good swig of hot coffee, the pain seems to be settling back down to a dull ache right above my right eyebrow. I am sure it is the weather — or a combination of — the weather and allergies. Needless to say, I feel fine EXCEPT for the minor nuisance headache.

Today is one of two finishing days for me. I need to finish my dissertation project today and tomorrow so that I can mail a clean, beautiful copy off to my committee by March 1. I am in good shape to do that, though I do have some other grading to do. In truth, I will be glad when all I have to do is grade. I will be glad to be through this PhD program. I will be so glad to be able to finally move on from graduate school.

In some ways, I will be sad too. This is the fulfillment of a long-held dream, and I have worked very hard to achieve this goal. Now, though, I am ready to do other things, to work toward other things, and praise be to God, I am ready enjoy my life. As Joyce Meyer says, I am ready to start living and “enjoying my everyday life!”

My prayer today is to simply rest — LIKE AS IN REST — in my work. I have to let the Lord finish this project, and that means, I have to let Him do what He does best, and that is to bring events to a close. I am so ready to be done, but I don’t want to rush. I don’t want to finish with weakness. I want, instead, to close out this chapter of my life and to make it special. I mean, I have put my best into this program, and praise be to God, I am determined to see it through to the end with a Bang! Yes, I want to see fireworks at the end of this long, dry, and very difficult trail.
Moving On Without Plans

So as I approach this day, I realize that I have no plans for my life AFTER May 6, 2017. I mean, sure, I have my teaching contracts for GCU, and I have potential contracts for Regent, but other than these “potential” teaching assignments, I don’t really have anything “settled." I feel confident that the Lord does have a plan for the next academic year, and that plan will include a full-time position. However, if that position doesn’t come to pass, my prayer is that I will have enough part-time work to cover my needs, to keep me afloat, until that full-time position of His choosing does comes to pass. Selah!

Right now, I am content to remain here in Phoenix and to remain as I am (adjunct) until the Lord promotes me to Instructor or Assistant Professor. There are very few full-time jobs in my field right now (in Phoenix), so I am not sure what the Lord intends to do about more work. However, I received an email yesterday saying that ASU is hiring more faculty for the Writers’ Studio. I wasn’t sure if the job was for full-time or part-time, but nonetheless, I applied for the job posting just the same. My prayer is that perhaps this time, I will be selected for a one-year full-time contract (I applied for this job last year). This would be super convenient, but if it doesn’t happen, I am happy to remain on staff as part-time associate faculty.

I believe the Lord does intend to move me into a full-time position soon. More so, I believe He intends to “move me” some place else soon as well. However, I am not sure if this means moving, as in relocating, or just moving locally like from my current home to a new place. Right now, though, I am thinking that this “moving” may simply be to settle me rather than physically up and move me, as in relocate me. Let me explain…

Phoenix or Bust

I have always felt that I wouldn’t remain in Phoenix long-term, but I also have felt that the Lord was asking me to remain here for a time. I have tried to wrestle with the competing feelings of needing to move and wanting to stay, and often, I have felt this push/pull sensation ramp up. I want to go, He asks me to stay. I want to stay, He asks me to go. It has caused confusion for me because in my literal and so-very black and white mindset, there can only be one way. I simply don’t do life with contingencies or with these incongruities. Still, this is what He seems to be demonstrating to me. He seems to be saying to me that “going” is not always about “get up and get going,” rather, it is about going along with His will, choosing to accept His will.  In this way, when we follow after Him regardless of where we physically reside, we are actively engaging in this “going business.”

As an aside, I think the Bible stories we read as children and then later study in church give us the wrong impression of what God means when He speaks about “going” or “following” His will. In some ways, we get these two words mixed up. In truth, going and following are different, but I think the context is similar at times. When we think of going, our human minds think of getting in the car and driving to some place — as in — going to the store. When we think about the word follow, we think about “following the leader,” as in the child’s game we played in school. We follow the person in front of us.

The same is true whenever  we think about the examples of going that we read about in the Bible. For example, I tend to think about Lot and his family. This story always comes to my mind, and I recall the devastating details of how Lot’s wife looked back after the Angel of the Lord said to her — do not look back. Or I think about Abraham and how God told him to pick up his family and leave his home. Last, I think of the words of Jesus who said to the person who wanted time to take care of his father’s funeral arrangements, and Jesus replied “let the dead bury their own dead." The idea here is that often I tend to take one story, one very particular story, and think about the ramifications of that story as applies to my life. In this way, sometimes I read into allegory and come out with a personal application. But, I forget that often in historical stories, where the facts are clearly addressed for a particular time and place and person, that I need to be careful not to think this way.

In either way, I have taken Scripture literally, and sometimes I have interpreted the allegory correctly. But, at other times, I have ended up confused. I think my thoughts on moving have been confused at times. So what does this mean for me today?

Right now, I think it simply means that God is calling me to stay in Phoenix. He has not permitted me as such to move anywhere else so I have to accept this as a real fact. He may be asking me to stay here permanently, and I have to be ready, willing, and agreeable to staying in this city.

So what do I do after May 6, 2017?

For now, I stay steady. I will enjoy my summer, and I will continue to trust the Lord to provide a full-time job for me once I advance to PhD status. Until then, it is steady-on. I will complete the work He has called me to complete.

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