It is Wednesday, and I am sitting here at my home office computer thinking about the fact that I have the entire summer to do literally anything I want (or nothing, for that matter). I have total and complete freedom, and between today (May 10) and the start of school in the fall (August 28), I have almost four months of holiday/vacation on my hands. I cannot believe that have so much free time. I mean, this is the first time in seven years that I have no plans for summer, I mean, no plans work wise. I do have two contracts in place right now, but the workload is very light. I can easily factor these courses into my summer plans. In addition, I have a short 5-day vacation planned in Indiana, but that is not for another month. In all, I am in this very good relaxed place right now. I am ready to begin my full-time career as faculty, but for the interim, I simply am watching, waiting, and wishing (hoping) for the Lord to do what He does best — and that is — to bring to pass miracles that only He can create, administrate, and orchestrate. He is good to me. He is so very good to me.
Plans and Programs
So as I sit here and think about my plans for the summer, one thing is for sure. I intend to rest, and I mean, rest well. I intend to destress, to decompress, and generally, settled down so I can enjoy the time off. I love the fact that I am a teacher, and as such, that I have my summers to rest. I have summer school, but since it is online, it is really just extra money to earn during my downtime. In truth, my summer is a time when I can bear fruit. I can work on projects that I have had to put off all year long. I can also plan for the fall and spring, and I can really revise some of my lessons so I am a more effective teacher. I need to consider how to be the best professor I can be, and since I have spent the past 7 years in crunch mode, now is the time to reflect and to reinvent my teaching program. I am confident that I can do it. I have the time now, so it is up to me to simply make the most of this opportunity and get cracking. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that I have just come off a major program, and well, I am bored. I mean, like really, really bored. I need work, and I love being busy. This is my time to shine, to do things right, and to make a great effort so that I can enjoy the blessings of long-term satisfying employment.
First things first, however, and that is to say that I need to acknowledge that I can do all things through Christ, for it is His strength in every area of my life that empowers me to do these things. Second, I am choosing to do all things in order to bring Him glory. Yes, my focus is on bringing God praise, thus, I must do all things with His plans, power, and path in mind. I am not wandering off on my own; rather, I am sticking to His planned program for my life. I am simply putting my boots on, and I am gearing up to get my hands dirty. I am ready to start growing so the Lord can produce much good fruit in my life!
Step 1: Getting Organized
I am about out of room in my home office, so my first order of business is to reorganize my little space. I need to use it more effectively, and that means getting rid of the junk, moving things into storage (outside), and then perhaps purchasing another desk and bookcase. I am not sure how I will go about doing this, but I need to come up with a better plan for my 10x12 space.
Step 2: The General Plans
So once I get myself organized, I will begin to put together my lists for my library. My library was dismantled and given away after my divorce, so now I have to rebuild it. I have some good book lists, but they are not organized the way I want them to be. My classification system, the one that makes the most sense to me, follows a period versus subject listing. So I am thinking of having four sections in my library, organized by period in time: ancient, medieval, early modern, and modern. Within these four periods, I would then organize my books by subject. Right now, I think I will have the following subjects (more added as needed or discovered): Art, Bible and Theology, Humanities, Science, and Social Sciences. This should make it easy to find books when I need them for reference. Oh, I will also have a reference section. As of now, I am thinking reference will include my teaching materials as well as books about writing, reading, and pedagogy.
Step 3: The Specific Plans
Once I have my library setup again, I plan on reading systematically through the periods, as I am able. Of course, depending on my subjects and courses (for teaching), I may read out of sequence at times. The goal, however, is to revisit the great books — the books I love — but to read them for depth and analysis. I consider this continued teacher preparation. I consider this to be foundational to my knowledge base and to equipping me for cultural conversations in and outside the classroom.
My specific plans include creating reading lists and a general plan for reading each week. Then I will also create lesson plans using some of these books — should I teach world literature — for example. I want a broad base of knowledge with which to draw from during my online courses. Other plans include prepping for publishing articles. I have a couple really good ideas percolating in my head, so I am thinking I will start writing one article this summer. Right now, I am considering something on SOTL (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning). I am not sure, but I would like to do something with language and instruction that would be practical.
Other plans include preparing my dissertation on organizational culture and identity for publication. I have already published it as a dissertation, but I need to revise it for journal publication, and that means taking it down to 15-25 pages. Another article I am thinking of working on deals with visual rhetoric. This is my “field” so I would like to start writing articles for publication in this field.
Step 4: Preparing to Go
The last part of all this “movement” is to ready myself to go. As of now, I believe the Lord intends to keep me planted in Arizona. This means that I need to consider this my home, and as such, I need to focus on finding a home of my own (down the road). What is more, I also need to get reconnected to my church, engage in ministry activity, and generally, get back involved in community. All of this has been on the back burner simply due to graduate school. Now, though, I need to be involved simply to keep me active, and to provide opportunities outside of the home/classroom/office. Yes, I need some easy ministry activity so I can enjoy the blessings of God’s family.
More so, I need to focus on my next steps, not just in work, but also in future life. I have considered options for my life, and as of now, I believe that the Lord wants me to stay here, to focus on my family (my parents and son), and to simply enjoy my life. He is not pushing me out or calling me to move. Rather, I feel very content to remain where I am. He has said to me, “Remain,” and I believe that means to stay put. He may change the plans for me down the road, but for the foreseeable future, I get the feeling that staying put means to settle down, put down roots, and start to bear fruit in this place. I don’t feel any pressure or sensation calling or motivating me to relocate at this time. Of course, the Lord could open a full-time teaching job at Regent, and well, I would have to go! But, for now, like I said, I feel that this is His will. He is asking me to stand at the ready, but not to pursue any jobs outside the state of Arizona.
Speaking about jobs…I haven’t heard a wink from Grantham University. In fact, I haven’t heard anything at all on any of the jobs I have applied for that were online/remote. I am waiting on Old Dominion University, but frankly, I don’t think I have the right combination of experience to teach there. Moreover, I am waiting on Western Governor’s, but again, I don’t feel that this is the Lord’s will for me. So that means that for all intents and purposes, I am set to teach at three schools in the fall: GCU (on campus), Regent (online), and ASU (online). This is it. I don’t see any other options for now, and if this is His plan, I am completely OK with it.
Step 5: Resting Regardless of the Outcome
I am learning to rest. This means that I am to rest (to cease striving) in all matters. I believe God has a plan for my life. I believe that this plan is good. I am trusting in His timing, provision, and of course, goodness, so there is no need to worry over the details. I am to rest. I am to let go. I am to let God do what He does best, which is lead, and in this way, I will be led — by the hand — to my promised land. Yes, to my promised land.
In all that I am, in all that He is, there is one truth. God alone is worthy to be praised. He alone deserves the honor, the praise, and the recognition. I deserve nothing, and as such, I rest in His finished and completed work. He is my refuge, my rock, and my redeemer. I need nothing for He is sufficient in all things, in all ways, and in all plans. I rest my case now. I rest, and I let Him lead me as He desires. To God be the Glory for the great things He will do!
My mind is at rest today. I am at peace. I don’t know what tomorrow holds for me, but I know that my Father in heaven does. He knows the good He has in mind, and the good He intends to bring to me. I can believe, rest, adhere, and lean on Him for all the good He intends to grace me with this good, good day.