May 12, 2017

Dealing with Boredom

It is a good day here in sunny and warm, Phoenix. The sun is out, the skies are blue, and the air temperature is warming up nicely. Praise God, we are only going to hit the mid-80s again today. I am thanking the Lord that our hot May temps have been pushed south and that we are sitting pretty for the next 10 days or so with mild late spring weather! I woke up feeling fairly refreshed this morning, and after a little bout with GERD, I am feeling better. Yes, I am not sure why I had some acid reflux first thing in the AM, but I guess I will need to cut back on the spicy foods at dinner time. I can do it, of course, but it is just another limitation I have to deal with when I would really not deal with anything -- right now. Sigh!

As I sit at my desk today, I am thinking about my life, my home, and my future. I had a nice conversation with my Dad yesterday. He assured me that my plans for being hired as a professor wouldn't get in their way. I think it was a nice way to say that they are supportive of my career. However, knowing that we are in this very tenuous place right now, what with my Mom's memory issues and such, it makes it very difficult to even plan for a new job, let alone consider relocating should one appear on the scene. I am trusting the Lord for the job, the outcome, and the necessary changes we all would have to make in order for me to be hired as an Assistant Professor somewhere. Until the Lord opens the door, I am choosing to be content to remain right where I am now. In fact, I am choosing to be happy with the provision He has given to me. I have enough, praise God! I have enough income to cover my needs, and while the future would be more secure with a full-time position, I also know that my security is not bound up in my work. It is 100% bound up in Him, in my Lord, and with that acknowledgment, today I am choosing to believe that God is going to bring me a full-time faculty position where I can teach online. This will be the perfect solution to a difficult life, and it will make it possible for my family to remain together. It is what I believe the Lord desires, so I am committed to waiting for His perfect blessing to come to me. I am waiting, patiently waiting, for the Lord merciful hand to deliver my much-needed promise.

My plans today are pretty low-key again. I don't really have anything to do. I need to work on my class for ASU, which is starting on Tuesday. I want to create some handouts and other resources to help my students do well this session. I have some work to do around the house, such as mopping the kitchen floor, and perhaps, running the vacuum, but other than these small tasks, my to-list is woefully blank. I should be happy, you know, but I am not. I am so used to having 25-30 things on my task sheet, and to see it with a pitiful 1-2, well, it is making me feel useless -- bored -- and what is more, restless. Oh, Lord, how I need to rest today! I need to rest!

In truth, I am well-rested, physically speaking. I am well-rested mentally as well. I am well-cared for emotionally, and spiritually, I feel great. I guess it is more that my hands need something practical to do, and right now, my hands are empty. I don't have anything to do, and I really do not like that feeling. The Lord knows how I prefer to work, and He knows that I am at my best when I am slammed, so hard pressed, that I cannot do anything besides lean on Him for His help. I love this feeling -- when I know that I cannot do it without Him -- and I can lean on, abide in, and rest in His way, will, and word. Yes, Lord! I want to rest in YOU completely this good, good day.

Choosing to Be Content

I've blogged about what it means to be content several times now, but I think I need to take a refresher course just to remind myself that part of contentment is the ability to patiently wait for the expected outcomes. Contentment in its simplest definition is "state of happiness and satisfaction" ( Learning to be content is difficult for most people because when we think about being content, we naturally think about being "satisfied" or "happy." Thus, contentment is more about making one's situation happy (meeting needs) than it is about changing one's attitude or outlook on life. We all want to be happy. We want our needs met, and we want to have that satisfied feeling that gives us a warm and comfortable "hug" so that we no longer worry, fear, or doubt. Yes, we want a "boppy and pacifier" in order to feel content.

In Biblical terms, however, contentment really is more attitude than anything else (Focus on the Family). states, contentment is "being satisfied with what we have, who we are, and where we’re going" (para. 1). They remind readers that it was Jesus who said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25) Jesus was commanding His followers to place their trust and faith in God, and in doing so, they would not worry about their needs being met. In this way, contentment is a reliance upon God whereby we no longer seek the world to meet or satisfy our needs.

I understand, and I heartily agree. I am content in my Lord, and I believe that He has me well covered. I am simply being impatient. I want His provision now, and rather than waiting for His perfect timing, I am feeling pressure to reach out and grab what I can through my own efforts and opportunities. If I did this, I mean, I would be making a big mistake. You see, this is the devil's ploy. This is the same tactic he used in the Garden when he questioned God's provision for Adam and Eve. Did God really say this...? Did God really mean for you to wait...?

I have fallen victim to this tactic before, and even today, I started to question the Lord's timing about my degree posting at Regent. I've read the words on the website. I checked, double-checked, and triple-checked, and still there has been no degree posted. I emailed the registrar, only to receive back an email containing the same verbiage from the website. I get what they are doing -- they are slammed with 1900 graduates wanting their degree posted so they can get a transcript. Of course, my situation is slightly different. I have been cleared for over a month, and still, my degree hasn't posted. There could be a problem, for sure, but no one will help me, so I must wait. I must give this a couple more weeks, and then -- if nothing is posted -- I can call and find out about it. Until then, I have to be patient, and I have to wait. UGH!

It Begins with Peace

So how does one be content? I think it is interesting to note that there are many different approaches to learning contentment. Crown Financial Ministries says that contentment is one of the most difficult things for Christians to learn. In fact, they suggest that many Christians have a mixed-up notion of what contentment is and is not. For example, many people will say that contentment is being happy with your life, as it is, and that as such, wanting to improve or make your life better, shows a lack of contentment. More so, some people look to their material possessions, financial security, and even emotional well-being for contentment. Yet, research has shown that people who are poor or affluent can be content or discontent -- and neither has a handle on the secret to this inner sense of peace. They write, "Contentment, contrary to popular opinion, does not mean being satisfied where you are. Rather, it is knowing God's plan for your life, having a conviction to live it, and believing that God's peace is greater than the world's problems" (para. 1).

Contentment, thus, is all about attitude, and it is about knowing three key things:
  • Knowing that God has a plan for your life
  • Believing His plan is good
  • Acknowledging that He has everything under control
In recognizing God has the author and finisher of our faith, we place our trust in His ability to produce outcomes. What He determines for the course of our life will be best so we can let go and let Him lead us. We can choose to rest in His sufficiency, and in this way, we let all the worries of the world settle. God is in control. He knows my future. He has a good plan. His will is coming to pass. I don't have to reach for the brass ring, so to speak. I can sit and let my God do what He does best -- and that is -- lead, guide, and provide for me.

My peace, therefore, sits with Him. He is my Prince of Peace, and as such, He gives His peace to me. I don't have to worry. I don't have to fret. I don't have to lose my patience. I will wait. I will rest. I will let Him do what He wants, and in this way, I will be blessed, favored, and completely cared for according to His marvelous plan and good grace.

In Closing

As I close this blog post, I realize that choosing to be content is a daily habit. It begins with thanking God for what I have at present. It then develops into an "attitude of gratitude" for His mercy and sweet blessings. It concludes with utter reliance on Him for His care -- continual -- and His assurance that He will be with me, never leave me, for all eternity. I trust Him. I rest in Him. I abide, lean, and let Him guide me. He is good to me. He has me well-covered, and there is nothing I need worry about this good, good day.

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