March 24, 2017

Taking It All In

Happy Friday! It is the end of my week off, and frankly, I am just starting to feel well again. My week was relaxing, and I was able to rest most of the days. Still, though, I feel like I need another week just to feel my best. I guess you could say that I am in need of a prolonged rest. I know this is the case. I’ve known it for years, but after working so hard for this goal in particular, I really know it now. I need months of rest. I need months of downtime. I need months of low-stress. If I was able to really rest well, daily rest, I mean, I think I could recover. I think I could finally feel my best.

Unfortunately, for the next few years, all I really see is more work. A lot of work. I don’t see anyway around it. But, I am okay with hard work. Actually, I prefer hard work. I really need to keep busy, so having work to do is a good thing, a really good thing. It is just the stress of having to get up and head out the door each day that gets to me. I really need to work from home, like 100% of the time. Furthermore, I need to teach from home where I can spend my days resting in between my time online. I think working from home as a teacher would be the best possible thing for me. I need to figure out how to do that, how to turn my part-time teaching online into full-time teaching online. Sigh! I am praying that the Lord will provide for me since He knows my needs well. He knows that a full-time job teaching from home is the BEST fit for me. God be praised, He knows my needs well.

Making Sense Now

As I sit here today, I am thinking about how far I have come and about where the Lord may be leading me to put down roots. Yesterday, I spent the majority of the day resting. I mean….RESTING! I was so tired. I did do my maintenance work, but I didn’t attack my stack of essays like I had hoped. Now, I have an even bigger stack to get through before the week ends. Still, the rest was a necessity. I felt that I needed to do the least amount of work simply to allow my tightly coiled spring a chance to unwind.

In truth, I felt like I needed a vacation from my vacation, but until next month, that is simply not going to happen. No, my days are still feeling the pinch and the pressure, but I can sense that things are starting to change for me. I can sense that I am coming into my own, and that in a very short amount of time, EVERYTHING will make sense to me. Everything will be clear. By this I mean, that what is clouded now will become crystal clear. My path, my next steps, my future life, will all become clear to me. I will know where He is sending and what He is asking me to do. Furthermore, I will see a way out of my current situation so that I can fully recover from my years and years of stress. I will see things clearly laid out, and in that way, my life, my past, my present, and my future will lay out in a line that leads me from where I am today to where the Lord wants me to be tomorrow.

Some things are already clear to me. First, I know that the Lord has me situated in the right career. I am made to be a teacher, and God be praised, I am doing the work that suits me best. I love my job, and I love my life, and while I don’t always feel 100% in control of the outcomes, I have come to learn how to experience life, to let things roll over me, and to go with the flow of things. In this way, I have become very comfortable as a teacher.

Second, I know that for now, for the near term, my life is situated in Phoenix. By this I mean, my life as it is today, is framed and couched in this desert place. God has provided a home for me, jobs that are located in this city, and a hopeful expectancy that I could remain here long-term if that was His will for me.

Third, while I am living with my aged parents for the near term, this will not always be the case. I desire to live on my own, to have my own life, my own future, and that means to purchase a home and to plan for my retirement. I have a drive and a desire to make a life for myself that is all about Him and His will and work. I long to go places, see things, do things, but my life really gains traction right in my home. You see, while I enjoy traveling and sightseeing, I really am such a homebody. I love to stay at home.

Last, my life is complete now that I have finished my PhD. I know that sounds weird, but I believe this was the Lord’s intention for me many years ago, but because I didn’t follow or obey Him directly, I ended up taking a “wilderness trip” and spending nearly 25 years outside the Lord’s will for my life.  This means that I walked — no, I journeyed — around the Lord’s promise simply because I disobeyed His direct command to me. Yet, the Lord didn’t forget His promise to me. He didn’t recant. No, He delayed His blessing, and through that delay, He prepared me for far greater work, far more significant success.

I am where He directed me to go. I have finally arrived at my destination, and now that I am here, in this place and in this time, I am beginning to sense that the Lord’s plan has always been to prepare me for this life. In many ways, I feel like Esther who was appointed as Queen over a kingdom she had no desire to rule. God raised her up, and she was destined to rule in order to save her people from extinction. In Esther 4:13b-15 (NASB) we read,

Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king's palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” 

Of course, my life is no way comparable to hers, but I feel that for whatever reason, God allowed the delay of blessing to come to me later in life. I know I am responsible for much of that delay, yet I also believe that the Lord used the delay to create and to equip me for His work, work that was needed today, tomorrow, and into the near future. Yes, I believe I was raised up from the ashes of my destroyed life to do something special, something set apart, and something significant for the Lord.

I just don’t know what that is or what He intends to do through me. I just feel it. I just sense it.

Perhaps in time, when I am seeing the world (my little slice of it) more clearly, I will know and understand what He intends to do through me. Until then, I can only wait and be patient. I have to wait for the Lord to deliver me, yet again, from the snare, and bring me safely back to His palace where I can rest. Oh, blessed rest. I need so desperately to rest.
Finding Rest in My Life

As I was praying today, I said to the Lord, “I need rest, Lord. I need physical rest.” He knows this is true, but I felt like I haven’t articulated it in a long time. I haven’t been truthful. I have made up my life to appear as if I am invincible. I mean, here I am about to graduate with my PhD, and frankly, onlookers only see this strong, dynamic, and goal-oriented person. They see the achiever, the OVER achiever. They don’t see the fragile woman that is suffering with pain and with chronic sleep issues. They don’t see the woman who fights stress day in and day out, and who, without the grace of God, simply wouldn’t be able to do anything — wouldn’t even be able to hold down a job or comprehend planning a future alone. What is more, not so long ago, the real me was this sheltered person who often curled up in a ball to hide from the world because she was afraid to step outside her door. I used to be so insecure that I would run from opportunities and people simply to avoid having to engage with them — to talk with them. I was a shadow, a wisp, and over time, and through the Lord’s marvelous hand of grace, I have been transformed into this powerful woman, into a woman who has achieved, not only this high and mighty goal, but who has a future that is bold and big and beautiful.

When I think about this transformation, I can take no credit for it. The Lord deserves all the praise, the honor, and the glory for transforming me from this wimpy and scared little girl into this mighty and powerful warrior. More so, in that transformation, He helped me overcome obstacles and odds that were so against my favor. I overcame, and in doing so, I achieved victory against my enemy whose only desire was to thwart the plans of God. Now, I am ready to take on the next giant, the next Goliath. I have to be rested, however. I need to be of sound mind and stoic heart and body. I need to be empowered, strong, mighty, and diligent so that I can do this work.

How do I reconcile my need for rest with His desire for work?

I am struggling today to comprehend how I can survive when I am so tired. How can I do what He wants and still find rest, find peace, and find stress-relief? I believe that answer is simply that I must let go my need to plan my future, to try to figure it out, and instead, I must simply accept that my future belongs to the Lord. I have no say in the matter. I have no plan of attack. I cannot develop theory or test it out. No, I must rest in Him — for everything — including my physical needs. I must let go of my need to be in control, to connect the dots, and for once and for all, say to Him: “Lord, I trust you with my life. I trust you with my future. I trust you with everything because I am yours. I belong to you now, and my life is no longer my own.”

It is true. I mean it. I believe that the only thing that I can do at this point in time is to let go — like to let go of the rope I am holding on to and accept the fact that my security is in Christ alone. I can no longer go and do what I want. I can no longer make plans for my future. My life is 100% bound in His will, and that means that I am ready to be moved, to be planted, to be settled in the work He has determined, detailed, and described to me. I am ready. I am ready to be set free.

Plans and Such

Does this mean that I no longer take hold of or remain responsible for the daily needs in my life? No, not at all; rather, it means that whatever the Lord determines in my life, it will come to pass. Thus, if it is His will for me to purchase a house, He will provide the money to do it. If it is His will for me to work from home, He will bring a job to me that will allow me to work from home. If it is His will for me to travel, to do ministry work, or to be challenged in other ways, all of these things will come to pass simply because He determines it to be so.

Thus, today, I let go my need to hang on to the last remaining thread in my old life. I let go the past. I let go the old ways and the old beliefs. I embrace His way. I embrace His word to me, and I embrace the testimony of His life as it has been poured out in and through me. I take hold of my sword and my shield, and fully clothed in battle gear, I stand ready to defend against the assault of my enemy. I am victorious. I have overcome. I stand in His power. In His authority. In His confidence. I am powerful, I am bold, and I am able to do this work. Not in my own strength, but in His alone. I stand ready to do the work He has asked me, called me, prepared me, and trained me to do. And, I do it in His strength — 100% in His strength. Therefore, today, I recognize that the power I have inside of me is not my own. The fortitude, the resilience, and the determination doesn’t belong to me. It is Him — all of Him. Moreover, when I struggle, when my flesh fails me, I realize that it is my flesh that has failed. His power is made complete in my weakness, thus, I fail because I do not draw upon His strength at my weakest link — my fleshly desires.

I am ready, Lord, to do this work. I am ready to receive the blessing. I am ready to be established. I am ready to begin to do your will, and I understand now that I can do nothing apart from you. I am not able to stand, to walk, or even to exist without your power. I am weak, yet you are strong. I am afraid, but you are bold and confident. I am ready to turn on your turbojet and to let your power, your grace, your humility, your affection, and your love pour out of me as I face this hostile and unfriendly world. I will go and I will do what you ask me to do this good, good day. I am ready, Lord. Send me!
In Closing

As I close this blog post today, I realize that I am ready to do this mighty and bold work. I have come through difficult times, harsh times, and through those times, the Lord remained steady. He helped me. He never let go of me. He has made me into this victorious and powerful woman, and He desires and determines that I continue on. I am to walk on. I am to work heartily as to the Lord, and He will lead, guide, and provide for me. I will do all things in order to bring His name praise. I will do all things through Christ Jesus. He is my ROCK, my REFUGE, and my STRONG TOWER. He is my mighty King and my loving Savior, and today I rest in Him. I rest in His finished work on the cross, and I rest in His work in and through my life. He has already accomplished what He set out to do in me, and the rest of my days, I will experience achievement as a result of His finished work. It is done. Selah! Praise to God, it is done!

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