April 18, 2017

Making Some Changes

Happy Tuesday! I am at home today, and it is a good, good day in sunny and warm, Phoenix. The skies are hazy today, and we have a very high air quality advisory. Still, I feel blessed to live in this beautiful place. I feel content to be a Phoenician, and despite being a transplant, I am getting more and more comfortable with the moniker. I feel like the Lord is turning my situation around, and today, more than ever, I am coming to terms with the events that led me to this desert place. In truth, I would say that as of yesterday, I am determined to accept my lot, so to speak, and to accept the fact that this is the place where the Lord intends to firmly establish me in order for me to produce good fruit. I cannot say how I came to feel this way, but yesterday I simply had this sense, this deeply rooted sense that seemed to be saying to me (if that is possible), that my life and the outcome of my life, was tied to this place. More so, I feel like my mindset has shifted, and my feelings about Phoenix, have changed from loathing and hatred to joy and possibilities. Let me explain…

Attitude is Everything

Yesterday, I was on my way to GCU when I heard the Lord speaking to me. You know, like in my heart and mind, pressing in on me in that special way that only He does. I was praying at the time, and I felt like the Lord was speaking directly to my heart. I had been confessing my attitude of late, and I was talking to Him about my desire for a new life, moving, and such. I was also sharing my feelings about being rejected by GCU (for a permanent position), and about my need to a full-time job. In short, I was pouring out my sorrows, confusion, and general displeasure with some of the more recent events in my life. I felt like the Lord was saying several things to me. The first was that it was up to me to accept my life as it is, and that in doing so, I had to accept the fact that some of the outcome I experience today is the direct result of choices I have made in the past. This was not really new or earth shaking, but it was a reminder that the Lord doesn’t wipe away all our foolish mistakes, and sometimes, He lets us suffer the consequences of our poor decisions.

Second, I felt that He was telling me that the reason why I was overlooked at GCU was simply a matter of mismatch. In this way, what He was saying was that it was neither my fault nor that of GCU in that my skills and experience didn’t line up with what they wanted. Furthermore, I felt He was saying to me that the position He had for me was a better fit, that it would suit me more comfortably, and that in the end, the position I had applied for simply was not His will for me.

Last, my life in Phoenix has been rough. I have suffered greatly over the past 20 years, and even though the last 7 have been much, much better, I have not really made a way for myself here. As such, I have desired to move some place new, simply for a change of scene and to experience a better life. I was looking for “happiness in all the wrong places" as the song goes. I was thinking that the grass would be greener over there —> in a different state, and that by moving, somehow my life would be better. In reality, I came to see that my life here is pretty good. In fact, I would say that it is very good. I needed a new perspective, and after my prayer time in the car, and then a good day on campus teaching, I left school thinking that the Lord was saying to me that what He has provided here in Phoenix is good for me. I have a good life, but as long as I continue to think of it as being difficult, challenging, or not comfortable — then — I would continue feel like it was difficult, challenging, and uncomfortable. I needed to look at my life through different lenses, and once I did, I began to see that what I have been given is a great thing, and that my life has real possibility.

After my long day at work yesterday, I came home and promptly crashed. I laid on my bed thinking to myself, “who am I kidding?” Meaning that I realized the fact that I cannot teach full-time on campus — any where — simply because of my back and my need to be off my feet. Teaching face-to-face has been a glorious experience, but the truth is that my back, legs, and feet simply cannot handle the stress and strain. I need to have more seat time, and in the way, I can recover more quickly. I laid there and I confessed that the Lord knew what was best for me, and with all these part-time online positions, I realized that what He was providing was really the very best thing possible. He was giving to me a way to work from home whereby I can stay off my feet and my health can recover. He is good to me, so very good to me.

This morning, I woke up and my first thought was that I was going to have to rush out the door to take my son to school. He needs my car, but I have an appointment to get my oil changed. I was panicked, pinched, and pressured, and as a result, I didn’t sleep well at all. I woke up early — at 4 — and then couldn’t get back to sleep for a long while. I am tired, so very tired, and the first thought I had was, “Oh, Lord! Not on my day off! You know I need my downtime.” Again, the truth rang out. I realized that the Lord knows I need my days at home, and while I am a work-a-holic, and I love to be busy, I need to be busy in my own way. I need my schedule, and I need to be able to live according to my own timeline. I cannot work someone else’s hours, and I need to sleep when I am tired, rest when I need to rest, and work in between. He knows me well, and I believe He is providing a job that will work with these special needs. I need accommodation, and in this way, I will work very hard, long and hard, but I have to have my freedom. I can no longer go and do what other people want. I need to be free to say, “No thanks,” if I am tired. I need to be free to stay up late, if called on or to be free to sleep in, when my body needs it. This is the fact of my life now, and the cause of this need is simple. I have spent the past 40 plus years living in chronic stress and cortisol overload. I am near adrenal failure due to this prolonged stressed way of life. Now, I suffer from chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and my own structural issues (due to scoliosis and injury). My body has born the brunt of the stress and injury, and while I keep going (like the Energizer Bunny), I simply cannot do things the same way that other people do. I need to REST. I believe this is why the Lord constantly says to me, “Carol, rest.” I need physical, emotional, mental rest just as much as I need spiritual rest. I have that peace — that blessed rest — that is promised with my salvation, but I still need rest in all the other areas of my life. I need rest.

With all this in mind, what I am saying today is that I realize what the Lord is offering to me, and it is very good. He is providing a way of life that “suits me.” He is providing a way of life that will enable me to be very productive and achieve desired results — all without having to stand on my feet or without having to keep awful hours. Instead, He is giving me prolonged rest so I can recover my health and vitality. Furthermore, as I wait on Him for His deliverance, I realize that my attitude must be one of total reliance and dependence. This means that I am to wait with joy. I am to be patient with  happy expectation. I am not to slunk around with a somber gloomy face and say like Eeyore, “It is okay…I don’t mind” in that long, drawn out voice. No, rather I am to be eager, excited, and filled with joy — not for any other reason — but for the very joy of the Lord. My attitude is important, and I am to cultivate a spirit of joy, of expectation, and of eager excitement and anticipation. He is so worth the wait! He is so worth the wait!
In Closing

As I sit here today, I give the Lord thanks for His blessed provision of rest. I give Him thanks for meeting my deepest needs with sufficiency. I give Him thanks for the goodness He has brought into my life. And, I give Him thanks for His mercy, and for His grace. He is worthy to be praised! He is so worthy to be praised!

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