April 17, 2017

He Reigns!

It is a good Monday here in sunny and mild, Phoenix. The air is warm, and today is forecast to hit close to 92. I am happy to be here in Phoenix, and despite feeling a bit groggy, I actually have this incredible feeling of anxiety -- an anxiousness -- welling up inside of me. I am not sure why, and I asked the Lord about it this morning. I was concerned if what I was feeling was panic, dread, or a premonition of impending doom (LOL!) or if it was anxiety related to some unknown good? You know, how we choose to look at the world is a direct result of our worldview. I mean, do we think first of negative or harmful situations or do we consider every opportunity as meant for good?

I struggle with thinking positively some days. Today, my first thought was "Oh no! What have I done?" After some time thinking, I am now of the mind that what I am feeling is simply apprehension of the fact that I have two weeks -- 1.5 really of school left -- and that means that I have a lot of work to do in a very short amount of time. Well, my students do, I mean.

In truth, today is a good day. I am on the countdown to graduation, and I am getting ready to realize the plans that the Lord has for me. You see, I believe that He has a great plan for my life, and part of that plan has already come to pass. I graduated with my PhD, and as such, I am ready to begin Phase 2 of His marvelous plan. I have known for a long time that my life would change post-doctorate. This means that in all my work, all my striving to complete various jobs, assignments, tasks, etc., I would not receive His reward -- the revelation of His plan for my future -- until I completed this one particular thing. Now that this has happened, I feel I am on the verge of seeing what is next for me. Perhaps I will find out today. Perhaps I will be emailed or receive some word of knowledge that will help me see my future. Perhaps I will have to wait -- just a bit longer. Whatever the outcome, one this is for certain. The Lord knows the plans He has for my life and they are good. His timing is perfect. He has this all planned and purposed out. I must rest. I must wait and look up. I must not become flustered or frustrated because His timing is so perfect. His timing is PERFECT.
Some Thoughts on the Matter

So it is Monday, and that means that I am making my way to the end of another semester. April 2017 will mark the close of four years of teaching at GCU. Yes, after four years, I will be ready to embark on another job, at another school, and begin to experience growth in my abilities as an educator. I am praying that the next job will be online. I really like teaching online, and while I will miss my student’s faces, I really think I am suited to online teaching. Well, I hope that is the case.

I received my fourth rejection notice from GCU over the weekend. I was expecting it to come simply because I have found that I am “marked” as not promotable at this school. I have applied each year for a full-time position — only to be rejected — without even an interview. This time around I had all the qualifications and more. I had great student and faculty reviews, and I had the requisite teaching, experience, and education. Yes, I had it all, and I was still passed over. I have decided that it is time to move on from GCU. I have heard this from other faculty who were in a similar position. I was passed over, and as such, after a time, it becomes sort of obvious that they don’t really like you well enough to promote you. I believe that the Lord has already promoted me, and so, I simply must wait for Him to show me where I am to apply. Perhaps it will be the position I applied for at Old Dominion University. Or perhaps, it will be at another school. I don’t know, but what I do know is that GCU is not the place for me. I have had issues out there in past years, simply a disagreement in my grading and such, so really I need to move on. I think I have been given the heave-ho, without being heaved, if you get my drift. I asked the Lord to close doors that He didn’t want open, and well, this one closed hard. I have been getting the feeling for the past year that my style and their style didn’t mix. I have been getting the feeling that it was time to move on to other pastures, and well, now I am ready to move. I still have contracts for fall, but right now, I have 3 small classes. In my view, if I were offered 3 classes at another school for better pay, I would take it. I would resign and walk away.

It is funny, really, how we try to make certain jobs or employers fit. I mean, I really sold myself to the Academic dean a month or so ago. I reminded him of my skills and experience, and even of his referrals for me to do certain work. No matter how much I prostrated myself in front of the faculty and other staff, it seemed I always came up short. Yes, I always came up short. This semester has been rough, it was a duplicate of last spring, where I was scrutinized and constantly reviewed. I spent the better part of the semester in agony, and frankly, I am tired of playing that game. I know I must be evaluated, and I have no beef in that matter. It is just the constant looks, the feelings of displeasure, and the fact that the evaluations always come back high. It is as if the faculty expect me to fail, but the evaluations say otherwise, and they don’t like it. I know I am probably making more out of this than I should, but it is something I have observed. I don’t have empirical proof, but I do have my own experience, and while colored and bias, I guess I simply have a sour taste in my mouth, and as the days wear on, that taste is becoming more and more soured with the passing.

It is time to go, I should say. So I have five more class sessions and then praise the Lord, I will be free to accept His next job offer. I have prayed for closure, for the opportunity to walk away with my head held high. I am hoping that a full-time faculty position comes to pass soon. I would really like it to be as an Assistant Professor, but I am willing to accept any position if the pay and work was His will. I cannot be prideful in this matter. If He chooses to place me as an instructor, lecturer or adjunct faculty member, so be it. If He chooses to promote me, well, then I will be ecstatic and overjoyed. Right now, I am in this very good place. He knows me well. He knows my needs for fall, and He knows what I can and cannot do. I need to stop worrying, and I need to start trusting Him more. He is good to me, so very good to me.

My ideas are not His ideas. As much as I would like to believe that I have an oracle, and that I can know the mind of the Lord (ha!), the truth is that I cannot. I am blessed to receive testimony from Him. I am blessed to receive words of knowledge when they come, but I am not always the recipient of details of His plan of action. Sometimes, I learn or find out about the next steps through other people. Sometimes, He presses some action on me, and then I figure it out. Sometimes the word just comes to me out of the blue, like in a phone call or email. It is never really of my doing. He simply decides when to show me, tell me, or move me, and well, then it happens. It just happens.

I believe this next job will be like all the rest. I will wait, and then He will point to me and tell me where to apply. I will apply, receive His favor, and be hired. It will be just like all the previous times. In truth, all the jobs I have worked this way, even GCU. He opened the door, sent me through it, gave me favor, and I walked out with a job offer. I believe it will be the exact same way. He will make this come to pass, and praise be to God, I will wait for His movement. He will do it, in His time, and it will be to His praise and honor. I will wait for Him. I will patiently wait for Him to move me.
In Closing

My anxiety today is unfounded, I think. I know that several things must come to pass before I will receive His testimony on this next job. First, I must have my PhD in hand. This means, I must be able to prove that I have graduated, aka have a transcript. I don’t have that yet, and probably will not have it until 3-4 weeks after graduation. Second, I know for my ministry work, I must go to the graduation ceremony where I am commissioned. The Lord has said that I must be commissioned by my faculty before I can start this important work. Thus, I must patiently wait until May 5 to be commissioned for His work. After this point in time, things will happen quickly. I believe I will come into full knowledge of the work He intends to do through me, and in that way, I will begin to walk in His expressed purpose and plan for my life.

Does a full-time teaching job come as part of that package? No. Teaching is my practical work. Like Paul, who was a tentmaker and sailmaker, I will work in a practical discipline (teaching) in addition to the ministry work (communication) that the Lord has trained, prepared, and equipped me to do. Is one more important that the other? Yes. My PhD is for His work, thus, the work I do in ministry is always more important than the work I do as a teacher. However, teaching is the place where the Lord has favored me, blessed me, and allowed me to use my gift of encouragement, exhortation, to encourage, mentor, and empower students toward His expressed will for their lives. Therefore, both are important, but I know that the work I do in the Church is specific, and it has Kingdom priority stamped on it. Until He moves me through the commissioning ceremony, graduation, and the receipt of my diploma and transcript, I must patiently endure. I must wait, work, and willingly do all that is asked of me.

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