It is hump day, Wednesday, April 12, 2017. I am sitting at my computer, drinking my coffee, and thinking to myself, “Oh, how I wish it were Thursday!” Why, you ask? Well, because today is my last day of class for the week due to the Easter holiday. I am so ready for a break, LOL!
In truth, I think to myself that I am pretty lazy. I mean, I just had spring break like three weeks ago, and there are only two more weeks of the semester left, so really? Really? Yes, REALLY! This has been one very long, exhausting, and difficult semester, and frankly, I am ready for it to be OVER. I am so ready to rest for the summer vacation. I need a long, long, long break, and summer is calling my name today!
My students are probably feeling the same way. Most of them have already checked out, if you know what I mean. They show up in body only. The mind is somewhere else, and they simply are not interested in doing any kind of work. It is a challenge for sure, but then, so it goes every spring semester. I don’t notice this “Spring-itis” during the fall, but it sure does come around at this time of the year. I know, it is really just exhaustion, and for my students who are not taking classes over the summer, well, they are just ready to BUST out. I am so with them…so with them today!
I woke up this morning around 4 a.m. For a time, I just laid there — wide awake — before I got up to use the bathroom. I was finally able to drift back to sleep around 5-5:30, but in truth, I never did sleep soundly. I woke up finally around 8:30 — but with that horrible hang over feeling. Now, it is nearly 10:15, and I haven’t done a thing toward getting myself ready for class today.
I think part of the problem is that I am feeling harassed. I am feeling as if I am being oppressed, and well, I can tell that there is a little black rain cloud perched just north of me, waiting for permission (mine) to settled down and start raining on top of my head. Yes, I feel so pushed out of shape, pinched, and truthfully, I am at the snapping point. It is like when you take a rubber band and continually stretch it. You stretch, release, stretch, release, and then in one swift moment, the band just snaps! It breaks in two. This is how I feel today, like as if someone crosses my path and says anything snippy, snappy or even contradictory, I will just go “ballistic.” I cannot let that happen, no, not at all; but, what can I do? I guess the key is to understand where the oppression originated and why it has taken up residence this good day.
First, I did a thorough check on my sin. I confessed my sinful thoughts, habits, patterns, and even, desires to the Lord. In reality, I know I have sinned, but I don’t rightly recall that I did anything in particular to cause conviction. Thus, I believe that sin is not the issue.
Second, I considered my ways, my thoughts, and my speech. Often, we bring condemnation down on our own heads because of our negative self-talk. I have engaged in some negative speech lately, simply saying aloud what thoughts popped into my head. These thoughts were things like: you are no good, you aren’t a very good teacher, your students don’t like you, etc. These are taunts by the enemy, and while I don’t believe they are true, often I let these kinds of thoughts stay a bit to long in my mind. I need to “check them at the door,” as Kay Arthur likes to say, and then not permit them into my head. Negative self talk can open the door to oppression, especially when we say things that are clearly not true or not based on scriptural precedent.
Third, and this is the most probable cause, and that is that I am being condemned by my enemy in order to keep me from expressing joy in my Lord’s provision of good in my life. I made the conscious decision the other day to practice happiness — to put on joy — and well, my enemy doesn’t want me to experience joy. Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10), which reminds us that Satan’s desire is to steal your joy in the Lord, and if possible, kill you physically, spiritually, emotionally, or mentally. He doesn’t want you to experience Jesus’ abundance gift of life (eternal as well as material). I know this is the case in my own life because since January, I have been trying very hard to not complain, to not whine or grumble over events and circumstances in my life. I haven’t been too successful, so it makes sense that my enemy is trying to attack me, to get me to see the foolishness of my desire to walk in His joy.
Lastly, with this in mind, I realize that my focus of late has been off-target. Once I completed my PhD, I suffered a bit of “lostness of purpose.” I mean, I completed my goal — my BIG LIFE GOAL — and that left me with this feeling of “so what is next?” In my decompression, which was so needed, I lost some perspective. I felt like my life was over, and that all that was left for me to do was work, work, and more work. I stopped looking forward for a short time, and in doing so, I really lost my sense of value as well as my sense of drive and ambition.
Now that I am at the end of the semester, literally I mean, I realize that my life is just beginning. Getting through my PhD program was significant, and it took 100% of my focus, attention, and drive. What is more is that my life post-graduate school is to be just as significant as my life was during graduate school. I have to be patient, however, and I have to wait on the Lord to open up new doors and new opportunities for me.
In all, I realize today that my life is good. I may be in this weird, overworked, and so very tired place, but I know that there is purpose in it. God has a great plan for my life, and I intend to focus on His will and not my own. He is good, He has me well-covered, and with this in mind, I choose to rest in His abilities to care for me and my family. He is my ROCK, REFUGE, AND REDEEMER.
As I let all the stress, the battle-weariness go, I know that the Lord is my defender. He is the One who is victorious, and because I stand my ground in His Name, and with His Shield and Sword, I am victorious too. I stand amazed and in awe of my God this good, good day. I stand amazed and in awe of the work He is doing in my life and through my life. I give Him praise. I honor Him, and I lift up my voice to worship His holy name!