May 30, 2017

It is a Good Day!

Happy Tuesday! Today, is a good day! I am alive and well, and I feel GREAT! I cannot really explain it, other than to say, that I feel blessed today. I feel really, really blessed.

First, I should say, that I didn’t sleep well at all last night. I tossed and turned at the start, and then I woke up three-four times during the night — each time — thinking it was morning. My son left for camp early today, so I was worried about oversleeping and not getting up in time to drive him over to church. It seemed like each time I rolled over, I would wake up. Sigh!

Still, while not sleeping well last night, I actually feel pretty well rested and refreshed today. I don’t get it, but I am also not complaining about it. God is good, and I am good, and for these reasons, I am celebrating life this good, good day! Selah!

As I mentioned, my son is off to camp this week. He is fortunate that as a musician, he is often asked to attend High School and College camp. He gets a free week of time in the mountains or at the beach, all in return for his presence in the worship band. He is off to Point Loma today, and will be in the sun and surf for the next 4-5 days. God is good to him. He provides him with these good opportunities for rest and relaxation, and He gives him time to spend with his peers as well as just hang out and be a “kid” some. He is almost 24, so the time for playing around is coming to an end, but the Lord is good to provide these chances for him to experience worship, retreat, and growth in this way. Amen, so be it, thy will be done! He is good, so very good — all the time — He is so good!

Second, my life seems to be running on steady steam ahead right now. For example, I am in week 3 of my 6-week summer class, and so far, everything is working well. My students seem to be doing really well in the class, and my time each week has been moderate. It is so nice to teach just one class! Oh my goodness! Compared to last semester when I had 6-classes going at the same time, teaching only one has been a super blessing. I am enjoying the course so much, and I am really spending quality time with my students. It is such a wonderful gift to be able to teach online at ASU’s Writers’ Studio.

Third, I am content. I am really, really content. I have a “perfect” life, in that I have everything I need to be comfortable. I have plenty of good practical work. I have a lovely home that covers me well. I have food to eat, and I have money in savings. God has provided for my every single need, and in this way, I can rest. I can relax. I can let God do whatever He decides to do because I realize that in all things I am completely, wholly, and utterly dependent on Him. You see, everything I have, every gift, every blessing, every provision comes from His merciful hand. I have no needs at present, and praise be to God, I am giving Him thanks because I know that very easily, I could be plunged into despair or faced with a difficult or devastating crisis. Right now, I am good. I am so very good, so I give Him thanks, I lift my voice to give Him praise, and I humbly confess that I am in this good, good place simply because He has made it to be so. He is chosen for me to be in this place, and with His good provision, I am able to live very easily, comfortably, and modestly.

Some More Thoughts on Work and on Life

I’ve been waffling again. I’ve been fidgeting. I’ve been flitting and flying back and forth between options, between going and staying, between resting and restlessness. Most recently, I’ve been preoccupied with my life, my work life, to be specific. Yes, I’ve been thinking more about what is in my best interest as far as moving or staying put when it comes to my work, my job, my career, etc. Even though I have believed that the Lord said clearly to me that I was to remain (after my graduation from Regent), I have fidgeted. I feel confident that I heard His voice (as in hearing it in my spirit) say to me that I was to remain. Remain. That was the word of testimony I received. I was to remain; yet, I have resisted. I accepted His word to me initially, assuming that what He was saying was that I was to stay put in Phoenix, to remain right where I am, and that He would provide a job for me. But, my time on campus, my time driving around VA Beach — well — I simply fell back in love with the whole place. I wanted so much to move there, and I felt this strong pull to do so.

The problem has been that the more I tried to wrap my head about remaining in Phoenix, the more I wanted to go live some place else. You see, I love my school. I love working part-time for my school. I really love the area around my school, and yes, I feel such a strong spiritual connection to my school. So even though I believed the Lord was saying, “Stay put, Carol,” I really wanted to do the opposite. I wanted to go.

What is more is the fact that I wanted to do both, to go AND to stay; but neither seemed right to me. Hence, all the confusion I felt; hence, all the befuddlement I struggled to understand. Then, the more I struggled to figure out how I would go without a job offer, the more I felt unsure about the way as an open door. Likewise, as I struggled to grasp how I would stay put with so many part-time jobs, I began to spiral down into despair. Truthfully, the rub became clear — how can I go without a job and how can I stay without job. Sigh.

Thankfully, clarity rained down on me as I was driving home today from church. I was praying about this whole mess — whether I go or stay — and the thought came to me that regardless of the outcome, I am at His mercy. The fact is that I am unable to secure any full-time work on my own no matter how much I’ve attempted to do so. I mean, I’ve tried; the Lord knows that I have tried. I have applied so many times and to so many schools, but the only work I end up receiving is part-time offers. Moreover, I love my adjunct work; I really love the freedom of adjunct, but there is this lingering thought about me being a PhD and working part-time. Really? After all my hard work and effort — no tenure track position? No full-time Assistant Professor role?

I recall that it was just a couple months ago that the Lord asked me to let go of my desire for titles. I was praying about work this summer, and He asked me if I could be content not being an Assistant Professor. I said, yes, but there was this lingering doubt in my mind. I have always believed I would be an “Assistant Professor” someday, and then not long after that conversation with the Lord, my mentor at Regent said that I needed a “professor” position now that I was graduating. Well, I put two-and-two together, and I thought, “Okay, I have to focus on tenure. I have to go for that full-time position.” Strangely, I believe the Lord does desire I work full-time. I do believe it is His will for me to be “Assistant Professor.” However, will that be? Will it come to pass? I honestly do not know.

Furthermore,  I think to myself that since the nature of higher education is changing, and more professors are part-time because of Obamacare and other administrative choices, perhaps “tenure” is no longer an option for me. In fact, I know for certain that there are fewer “tenure” positions available, and that fewer opportunities for part-time staff to become full-time staff. My faculty professors have said as much. I have seen this progression at all my schools. I hear about it through other channels. The cold hard fact is that tenure track roles seem fleeting. Yet, despite that truth, I long for this title. I long to have one job. I long to be settled, to be made a professor, and to have a clear path to follow. Sigh.

Then, I consider His words: remain, stay put, be content. I wonder if He is saying to me that while it is His will for me to be a professor, it is His plan for me to teach adjunct. I get it. I get that many things are within the Lord’s will for our lives, but not everything goes as planned. There are many paths, many plans, many options that exist under His marvelous will. We often just become so fixed on one way that we miss obvious doors that lead to other good and stable pathways. I know I do this. I have done this many times in the past. I want things to be very black and white, when in truth, they are varied shades of gray.

Thus, while I desire full-time salaried work,  I know that I can make good money as I am now — as adjunct — at multiple schools. Yes, I have to hustle. I have to work hard. I have to teach at multiple schools. It is not easy, but then no job comes easy to me. I have to work. I like to work. I want to be busy, and the Lord knows that I need to be busy. This will be my life, if He asks me to remain. I will work hard. I will be faithful. I will be diligent and honor the Lord in all things. He is my Commander and Ruler, thus no matter the work, the outcome, the location — I am to do all things in order to bring Him praise and honor.

This means that while part of me feels so strongly about moving to VA and working for my school full-time, there is another part of me that feels committed to staying put. I cannot really put my finger on it, but I want to do both things. I want to work for my school full-time, but remain here to help my parents and provide ongoing support to my son. I feel like I am a person with one foot in each camp. I  don’t know whether I am to continue this way or if the Lord will simply close doors here and move me there or if He will open doors here so I can simply stay put. It is a conundrum of sorts.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6-7 NKJV)

The good news in all of this is that despite not really knowing what will be for my future life, I have no anxiety or worry. I simply would like to know. I would like to know if Grantham, for example, intends to give me work. I haven’t heard from them in over two months, so I am sitting here wondering what will be. I just sent a polite email to the Chair to ask the status of the possibility to work there, so we will see what happens. I am open to this job, should it come to me. But if the door closes, so be it. I am happy to have what I have at present. God has graciously provided enough work to me and I am not in want.

The truth is that I am really in this wonderfully warm and safe place. I seem to be well-cared for and my bread basket is full. Should the Lord continue to provide online teaching jobs for me, I will accept them. I will trust that He will provide enough time and help so that I can do the work as assigned. I will work as many jobs as needed to earn good income for myself and my family, but I am no longer focusing on retirement, per se. I prayed today and I committed my retirement needs to the Lord. He knows what I will need down the road, so I am letting that worry rest for now. I will focus on day in and day out needs, and praise be to God, I will simply trust Him to provide for my long term needs as He determines best. I will be faithful. I will save. I will invest, and I will be a sower of seed for His kingdom. I will sow what He gives to me. I will reap the reward He has for me. In all ways, I will let Him lead, guide and provide for me. He is good to me, so very good to me.
In Closing

As I sit here today, blogging, I realize that nothing will happen in my life without the Lord’s approval. He has a plan. It is a good plan. He is making all things beautiful in His time. I will rest in His abilities. He will do this work. He will open doors for me. He will close doors for me. He will protect me, shelter me, provide for me. I, in turn, will worship Him. I will seek Him completely. I will trust Him infinitely, and I will abide in Him. I will not worry. I will not be anxious, but as God’s word says, “In all things, I will give Him thanks.”

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thess. 5:18 NKJV).

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