August 3, 2017

Thursday Thinking

It is a good Thursday morning. I am happy to report that I woke up feeling refreshed this morning. I slept well, and even after one midnight trip to the bathroom, I rested well for the majority of the night.

Mostly, I am feeling well. I am still having some tummy troubles, all related to my bout of food poisoning last week. I am on the mend and the little bit of pain and discomfort seems to come and go with whatever I happen to eat. Sometimes, I have no issues whatsoever. Other times, I feel the gurgling and pokiness of my digestion as it deals with my last meal.

In all, I can say that I am in a good place. I feel really good, and I feel confident that the Lord intends to do something GREAT this good, good day.

Rise Up and Say So

This past week, I have gotten back into listening to Indiana Bible College's Choir's CDs over Spotify. I used to just watch their big production on YouTube, but then I searched in Spotify, and I found almost all their CDs going back to 2008. I love the beautiful and melodic selections that are focused on praising the Lord, but sometimes, the jazzier, Gospel-fused selections just soothe my aching soul. Sometimes, I just need a good kick in the pants to remind me that our God is GREAT and that our worship of Him should be the same -- filled with great praise, adoration, and an exuberance of joy!

A perfect case in point was my sad and sorrowful attitude and my less than stellar actions of the past week or so as I struggled to come to terms with some things going on in my life. I've blogged about my life at present, and how I am in this weird and almost transitory place. I guess you could say that I am at the change of a season to be exact. I've just finished four hard years of study, and I am ready to begin my new life as a full-time instructor. Yet, I am not a full-time instructor at any of my schools. I have a couple jobs in the works, two that I am waiting to hear back on, but for the most part, I am still working as an adjunct (part-time) instructor at multiple schools.

My life is not settled. It is not set. I have some great plans, plans that I believe are of the Lord, but there has been no real movement toward these plans. I know of them, I have them memorized in my head, but I am standing still, waiting for a door to open, and until that door opens, I am getting mighty antsy. Yes, I am getting really frustrated that the door is not opening soon enough. Let me explain...

Some days, I am filled with great faith and joy, and I have this uber confidence that the Lord is going to reveal His will to me, and I will KNOW for sure which way to go. Other days, I feel like I am on a treadmill. I am walking, but not getting anywhere. Then still at other times, I have allowed doubt to cause me to jump back and forth between options, almost like salsa dancing. You know, step forward, step backward, and then twirl round and round in the same place. I am moving, but I am not getting anywhere. I am just wearing myself out. Sigh!

In order to keep from being so frustrated, I have tried very hard to find my contentment in Jesus alone. I have been intentional about the options, choosing to trust Jesus and only Jesus. In this way, I have surrendered my desires, my wants, and my wishes so that I could focus only on the things He wanted me to pursue. I felt certain that as long as I let all my wants go, I would be able to rest, to be at rest, but even after doing so, I found that I still couldn't stop the whole up/down, side to side, motion. In truth, I think part of my problem was the fact that I said I wanted to let Him lead me, but really I wanted to rush out and lead myself. I wasn't ready to let Him lead me -- in His time -- and to His place. I simply wasn't ready to stop my "fussing," as my friend from the south says, and let the Lord lead, guide, and provide for me.

As a result, I was utterly frustrated. I was depressed even. I was feeling so unworthy. I was feeling like I was wasting my time, and I wasn't feeling very good about myself. In fact, I was fueled by my enemy's condemning thoughts, and I was acting on them instead of acting in faith, believing what I know to be true about God and His promises.

After much turmoil, I finally was able to get some clarification from the Lord. A couple nights ago, after I had begged the Lord to clear up my confusion, I realized that my lack of progress wasn't due to my own fault, per se. I mean, I realized that I wasn't the sole cause of the standstill (like my enemy wanted me to think). The Lord helped me to understand that the lack of progression was due in part to other people and other organizations. So, the main reason why I wasn't making progress was that I was waiting on other people to do what only they could do. Sure, my behavior complicated matters. I wasn't waiting with a cheerful attitude, and my actions were not that of a patient person. But, the single action that could effect change wasn't mine to control. I was waiting on other people, and my attitude to that fact really needed to be changed.

Once I accepted this fact, I was able to rest more readily. It is not as if the worry completely subsided, but most of the worry dissipated immediately because I had to let it go. I had to say, "I cannot control this timing, so there is no point in getting upset over it. I will simply have to wait to hear the news." As I let the worry go, I found that my vision cleared. I was able to see the path in front of me more clearly, and while I still don't know if I will go to the left or the right, at least, I can see both paths now. I can see farther down each road, figuratively speaking, than before, and in this way, I have the confidence to know that either path will prove successful for me.

The Lord knows which path I am to take, but until I receive confirmation from Him and from these people, I will have to remain where I am. I cannot go forward until I know for certain, so I must just stand here and be patient. He is good. He is standing with me. I don't have to worry, fear or doubt. I can rest in His assurance that whatever comes, IT will be OKAY.

The Lord has confirmed to me that I am in a good place. I am right where He wants me to be, so that means that He is not concerned about the lack of momentum. He is waiting right here along side of me, thus, I need to settle down and just let things be. It is hard to do this sometimes. I feel like a little child standing at the gates of Disneyland. My parents are patiently waiting along side of me, and they are telling me to stop fussing, stop being so restless. But, I cannot stop. I want to go inside the park and see all the wonders behind those gates. Of course, the gates won't open until 9:00 on the dot, and I am anxious, eager, and filled with excitement and anticipation of what will be. My Dad says to me, "Carol, just stop. Rest a while. We will have plenty of fun once they open the gate." I am jumping up and down, and even whining a bit, "When, Daddy, when? When will the gate open!"

In so many ways, I am that little child, but instead of my earthly father standing next to me, it is my Heavenly Father, who is holding onto my very adult hand. Yes, my Father, my Abba, is holding me back. He is keeping me settled. He is telling me to rest. He is saying, "Be patient, it will happen soon." I trust His voice. I believe His voice. I know His voice.

Will I listen today? Will I rest today?

Yes, I will rest today. I will wait along side the Lord for each and every detail to fall into place. I will go when He is ready to go. Until then, I will stand there, patient and ready, for the gates to the next season of my life to open. He is good to me! He is so very good to me!

In Closing

As I look back on my life, specifically this year, I see how much I have (through the Lord's provision) accomplished. I have completed a major life goal, earning a Ph.D. I have transitioned to more than full-time work (multiple part-time works) and I am working progressively toward a full-time faculty position at the school of the Lord's choosing. Until He is ready for me to go, I must patiently wait. I must endure, which simply means that I must deal with the frustration, the waiting, in proactive ways rather than in distractive or destructive ways. I must keep my head in the game, so to speak, and make sure that I am always doing good things, good works, and thinking good thoughts. He has me well-covered. I am blessed. I am good.

The Lord knows me well. He knows what I can endure and what I can't endure. He knows my abilities, my stressors, and how much change I can handle without breaking apart. He knows how to test me, try me, and temper me. He has me well in hand, and I am well-covered by His mercy and His grace. He will care for me because He always cares for me. He loves me. He is good to me. Selah!

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