June 1, 2017

Learning to Live Again

Happy Thursday! It is a good day here in sunny and warm, Phoenix. I say, “Warm,” because today’s high is supposed to be around 98. Tomorrow's high will be mid-100s. The rest of this week through the middle part of next, the forecast calls for 105-106 each day. Yes, we are moving into the “hot” season, and that means, summer is officially here. I don’t mind, really. I don’t mind at all. I sort of like the heat (as compared to cold), and I enjoy the summer months of flip flops, tees and shorts. Of course, ask me again when it is August, and I will probably tell you that I am dying and so ready for fall. August can be oppressive, especially if we have an active monsoon, but today, I am thinking of mild Phoenix summer weather, and as such, I am giving the Lord thanks for clear skies, sunshine, and well, fair weather. He is good. He is so good to us!

Patience While Waiting

It is Thursday, and what is more, it is June 1. I was thinking about this fact as I rolled over in bed this morning. I have had one full month of vacation already, and I am still feeling like school just ended. I enjoyed May, and this particular May, will be etched in my memory forever. Of course, this May held my graduation, but in reality, May was the culmination of over 4 years of very intense hard work and dedication that led to the conferral of a PhD in Communication. I felt this way in 2012, but not as deeply, as May 2012 was the conferral of my Masters degree in Literature. It was a relief to have the master's degree behind me because I knew that I was “qualified” for a doctoral studies program. I had passed all my classes with a 3.9 GPA, and for all intents and purposes, I was ready to move to the “next big” goal. It is funny how May has been associated with so many high achievements in my life. I mean I graduated from SJSU in May 1993 as well, and that photo (recently appearing on my FB stream) made me laugh as it showed me in regalia with about 5 months of pregnancy tummy. In truth, May has been the month of closure. It has brought graduation ceremonies, degrees AND as a teacher, many sweet goodbyes as school years come to an end.

Now I am looking for new adventures, new starts, and I am hopeful that July 2017 will bring me some new opportunities. Just as May has been traditionally the end of goals and achievements, July (for me), has been one of open doors and new possibilities. I was thinking about this fact earlier in the week, how I have started almost all the jobs the Lord has brought to me in July (or been hired for them). I was hired to work at Macy's in July of 2010. I was hired to work at UOPX in July of 2011. I was hired to work at GCU in July of 2013. I was hired to work at Regent University in July, 2016. July seems to be the “month” of the Lord’s choosing. Granted, I was hired to work at CVS in late August and at ASU in December, but more often than not, July is when the Lord brings new and fresh blessing to my life. I am stoked, as they say, because this July is the first time in four years that I will be “free” to accept full-time work. Prior to this time, I have been fixed on part-time work because of my doctoral program; but now, I am free to accept a full-time offer and to work full-time as the Lord leads, guides, and provides for me. I am ready, Lord. I am ready.

New adventures means new life, and as such, I am excited, anxious, and eager to experience new things in the coming year. July is also the midpoint of the year, and for that reason, it simply suggests that what is behind (the previous 6-months) is behind; and what lays ahead (the coming 6-months) is ready to be revealed. Yes, for me, July is MY MONTH, and I stand ready like a child on her birthday who eagerly waits with joy and celebration to see the gifts coming her way. I am ready, Lord. I am so ready to see the plans you have for the next 6-months of my life!
New Life and New Things

As I sit here today and blog, I recall how often I have waited in anticipation for the Lord to do something BIG in my life. I mean, I can remember how I waited so patiently at UOPX for an open door. I started that job as an Enrollment Advisor thinking that it would be a good fit. I so wanted to work with students, to help students, and to encourage and mentor students. Of course, I didn’t understand that the job was selling education to students. I was misled by the recruiter and the trainers who told me the job was not about sales at all, and that there was no pressure to perform, sell, or make quotas.

In truth, it was all of the above, and I did very little mentoring, advising, or even encouraging. I did do some, but mostly I made hundreds of phone calls a day, mostly to dead numbers, and I learned the ins and the outs of private for-profit education. However, I also learned many good skills while at UOPX. I learned how to have a conversation, how to engage in dialog that helped people come to understand their own motivation and desires. I also learned patience, a lot of patience, and in the end, I came to learn how to rely on the Lord for my daily needs. UOPX was my first full-time job after my separation from my husband. It was the job that enabled me to move out on my own, to rent my very first apartment, and to begin to build a stable life for myself and my son. It was the first job that required me to trust the Lord for my performance. I had to “sell” or enroll 10 students a month, and I can tell you that enrolling 10 per month is difficult work. It is very difficult work. But, the Lord prevailed. He helped me not only to enroll 10 students but to learn how to manage a database, to develop contacts in business, and generally, to excel at very difficult and mostly unpleasant work.

Once I made the turn, the discovery that UOPX wasn’t my cup of tea, I had to wait, to endure really, 15 months of work in a hostile environment where I felt pressured to perform every single day. I despised the work, but I had to make the most of it — after all — the Lord opened to door for me, and He used UOPX to establish me as my own person, a single person. It was hard driving the 45 minutes one-way to work, sitting in a cubicle all day (plugged into a phone that tracked us) just to make “robo calls,” and wait for the chance to “enroll” a new student. I was grueling work (as was Macy’s), but I learned compassion, contentment, and yes, commitment from working in a job I didn’t like nor want for 15 months.

Likewise, when I started at GCU, also a mid-year start, I found the work easy to do, welcoming, especially after the chain-gang approach I experienced at UOPX. At GCU, I was free to come and go. I was free to accept assignment, to do the work, to be my own boss, so to speak. Moreover, being employed as an Instructional Assistant was like going to school without having to do any of the assignments. It was easy work, generally speaking, mostly just helping the students in class. In addition, I loved the environment, the campus, the school life. I quickly decompressed from all the stress of the previous two years, and I started to love my life again. It was a perfect fit for me, no. It wasn’t secure.was also an hourly job, like the work I was paid for at Macy’s, and in that way, I had to learn how to trust the Lord for everything. I had little income for a time. I had to use my financial aid reimbursement checks to live on, and well, I had to learn to let Him provide for me. He did, of course, and in short order, I went from IA to Adjunct. It has taken a long time, nearly 5-years for me to learn how to be a teacher, and now I am in this “sweet spot,” this good place, where I am ready to move from Adjunct and part-time to full-time instructor or professor. I am ready to be promoted. I am ready for the next move, but until that happens, I have to wait. I have to remain. I be patient. I have to let the Lord provide for me — again.

Now, I look forward to the next 6-months of my life. I wonder what will be, and where I will be. Will I be here in Phoenix in 6-12 months or will I be living in a new place, a new home, and a new state? I don’t know, honestly, I don’t know. I do feel confident that the Lord will keep me here in Phoenix so I can care for my parents and son, but I also feel confident that He does intend to open a door of opportunity for me to work full-time somewhere soon. Will it be here, Lord? Should I look at my current schools for opportunities? Or should I simply remain as I am, patiently enjoying part-time work, and enjoying my everyday life?

The work, the job, the options for better employment often take focus, and they often cloud my enjoyment of my life, day in and day out. I can easily become consumed with seeking work, and the Lord knows that whenever I do that (zero in), I can easily become entangled in issues of pride, self-sufficiency, and doubt. I easily lose my peace, and I become agitated to the point of not sleeping well, stressing over the uncontrollable, and generally, not remaining calm and content. Yes, I lose my peace. This is the enemy’s ploy, to cause us to lose our peace, and he is mighty good at it. At the least, he is in my case. I easily lose my joy, my peace, and my contentment whenever I stop looking to the Lord for provision, and I start to look to my own abilities or even my own attitude or actions. I know that the Lord doesn’t need my help to do anything. He can provide a full-time job to me, and He certainly doesn’t require my help. Yet, I constantly fidget. I constantly try to manipulate outcomes, when I should just sit still, be still, rest and KNOW He is God.

My desire today is to sit, to be still, to rest, and to let the Lord lead, guide, and provide for me. I am determined to stop intervening, and to start enjoying my life just as it is today. I am blessed. I am well-covered. I am good. I just need to thank Him for the blessings I have today, and remember to focus on what is already in my hand. No sense in being greedy. No reason to want more when I already have enough. I simply must stop whining, complaining, and groaning. The Lord knows what He is doing, and He is more than able to bring new opportunities and adventures to me.
Clearly Thinking and Moving Forward

Now that I have had time to think some more about my life, my faith, and the plans I believe the Lord has for me, one thing has become ever so clear to me; and that is, that the Lord is more than capable of bringing a job to me in any place of His choosing. Yes, if I believe that the Lord is able to direct my steps, and that it is His delight to do so, then there is no opportunity within His marvelous will that is too far from His hand to reach. This means that rather than being preoccupied with worry, I can rest in the fact that if the Lord desires it, then the "thing" (be it a job, house, car, whatever) will come to pass. He will bring it into light, and He will "make it so!" I don't have to be obsessed with knowing the details at this point in time; rather, I can simply sit still and wait for His revelation and will to be done.

It is a hard thing for me to do, but waiting brings blessed reward. Thus, today, I will wait. I be expectant and hopeful, and I will look to His marvelous plan for the rich reward and outcome. I will wait, Lord. I will wait.

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