August 9, 2017

WOW! Wednesday!

It is a beautiful day here in sunny and warm, Phoenix. The skies are clear and the air temperature is moderately warm, but not too hot (yet!) I woke up early, around 8:30, but returned to bed due to a pounding headache. I am up now (10), and with my hot coffee, my headache is starting to dissipate. I am well today, despite not sleeping as soundly as possible last evening. I was up until 1 a.m. grading final essay drafts, and by the time I finally turned into the bed, my eyes were so sore and tired. I did sleep fairly well, but I think I needed a couple extra hours to fully recover. Oh well!

It is Wednesday, and so much is on tap for this good day. First, we finally got positive news back on the vehicle we hope to buy. I blogged about this recently, how I needed to get a newer car for my son. We've been ride sharing for nearly 1.5 years, and well, the time has come for him to have his own car. I have put off buying another junker simply because I feel like that is just a waste of well-earned cash. Instead, I have been saving for a new car, hoping to purchase it out right. Unfortunately, I was called to teach at GCU for another semester, and with my son's needs at ACU, the whole "ride sharing" thing was going to be really complicated.

Praise Report

Last week, I called a business connection who deals in car leasing. Leasing has always been an option for us, but I really wanted to buy a car instead of leasing one. My son needed something reliable, and I needed to keep our payment low, so I opted for a lease. Our goal is to buy it out at the end of the three years, if possible. Friday, we did a test drive and measure, just to be sure we were happy with the vehicle. We found one we liked, but it wasn't available locally. After some finagling with the dealer, we found the color and style at another dealer in Prescott Valley. The good news is that the car is being hauled down here today, so we should have it to lease this afternoon. God is so good to us! He made this way possible, and so today, I am giving Him a great "Shout Out" because He is good, He is faithful, and He keeps His promises!

This week has been challenging, and not just for the whole "will we/won't we" get the car scenario. On Monday, I received word that I would be teaching 50-65 students per class at GCU again. I felt confident that I would not have to teach on campus this fall, but as the days wore on and the time passed, it became evident that I would have to keep those contracts. More so, I received a request to teach out at ASU, literally ending my option for teaching full-time there. I took it in stride, knowing the Lord had a better plan for me. Then this morning, I received a request to interview for Western Governor's University. I had applied a long time ago, but as has happened in the past, I never expected to hear from them. I read the request, and as I did it, I felt my stomach sink. In some ways, I was really surprised to receive the request, but in other ways, I thought, "Oh, no! Now?" I mean, I have applied at this school more than a dozen times over the past 8 years. Never a peep from them. I prayed over the option, and then I did some searching on interviewing and such. Turns out, the school has a noncompete clause for 12 months, which means I would have to give up my existing work to take the job. More so, the interview process is incredibly challenging, multiple levels and people, all online with a presentation and an essay. Really, for the money, I thought what they were asking was over the top. Lastly, there was a week long training session in Utah, and well, with my ground campus classes contracted, it would have been difficult to meet that requirement. In all, while I was surprised at the opportunity to interview, I realized today that I am in a really good place. I have good work, albeit all part-time, but I have great freedom to do my work as I desire. This job was a "9-5, 40 hours, be on the phone, but work from home" position. The last thing I want to do is commit to being tied to the phone -- at home! Been there, done that before with CVS and UOPX! No, I am a free bird, and I am staying that way as long as the Lord provides for me.

It is weird to think that I just turned down an interview for a full-time position after I said that I would take any and all work the Lord provided to me. I guess the caveat was that I would take any and all part-time work the Lord provided. So far, all the work He has provided has never conflicted with anything else. I was not asked to give anything up, and because I feel confident in what He has promised me, I can stay at the ready and be patient for His best work to come. I am not panicked. I am not afraid, and I know He will provide to me. Some might say that I should have simply interviewed, but I don't want to waste their time or mine, and if I am not set on working for the company, there is no reason to interview for the job. More so, one of the questions was "why do you want to work for us" and I thought, "Really, I don't." Enuf said. If I cannot honestly say I want to work for the company, I have no business interviewing.
Resting in His Provision

This morning as I was waking up, I was praying to the Lord. I was asking for clarification on my path, where I am at present, and where He intends to send me in the future. I pretty much know that I am to "remain" where I am, but that "remain" doesn't mean stay in Phoenix (for a short time only), rather it means to remain on the path, to stay committed to God's plan. I believe His plan is set, and I am walking on a path that leads to the completion of His plan. Thus, I am to "remain" where I am, to keep on walking in this way, to not deviate from the path. It took me a while to understand that "remain" didn't just mean stay put in Phoenix, but that it had much larger and wider connotations.

As I think about it now, I believe the Lord's word to me, "REMAIN," meant to stay right where I am -- to be wholly and completely dependent on Him. I am to not change my way, but to be committed to His work, His way, and of course, His will. More so, as He was speaking to me this morning, He said that in the next day or two, I would have more clarification on my life and His plan for it. I cannot help but think that this request for an interview was part of that promised revelation. I am comfortable in my decision to fore go the offer, but I cannot help but take the receipt of email as the first provision to come to me. The Lord offered, I responded. This was not His will, I know it. Yet, the provision came. I guess what I am saying is that sometimes when the Lord releases His bounty to us, we receive many things, not all of them are His best. It is like when He releases His power, people, and things move as a result. I had applied for this job almost 9 months ago, and they finally decided I was a worthy candidate. The job has been open for a year. This means that they must have interviewed many more people and finally decided to give my resume a twirl. So just because the provision came, doesn't mean it was His best provision. It was simply part of the outflowing of His mercy and goodness. At the least, this is what I think happened.

The Lord said that I should expect change and that change would come to me in a massive way. So much has already happened to me this week, I honestly cannot imagine what more He has in mind for me. I know for certain that I am set on work (I have enough). I know we have a car purchased for my son (praise God!) I know that I still need more income to cover my debts and to prepare for a possible move in the early Spring. More so, I know that my student loans are coming due soon, and I will need to be able to pay for them. I have some credit challenges as well. Unfortunately, the folks at Kia messed up my application yesterday. They submitted my application to lease in the place of another person's application to buy. As a result, I was denied purchase and my credit report took a blow. Now, I will need to repair this error. I am not concerned, but it does affect my buying power. I need to get my credit cards and my Nissan paid off so I can be considered credit worthy again, especially if I want to buy a house next year.

The Lord has promised security to me. I am in a good place, but my budget is very tight right now. I need to get some of my finances under control moving forward into 2017-2018. I know He will guide me, and I know He will help me recover financially, BUT until that time, I need to be wise about what I consent to do each and every day. I need to be fiscally sound in all my decisions.

Furthermore, the Lord has provided for my life by giving me a career I love. The last thing I want to do is take work that will drive that love out of me. I am not desperate for work, so I am not going to jump at the chance to be employed if it means giving up the work I love to do. No job, no money, is worth suffering that way. I have sacrificed for 8 years to get to where I am today, and the Lord has graciously made it possible for me to be a professor. I plan to be a professor. I plan to remain in academia and to do this work until I retire. Therefore, I no longer control the job in that I am trusting the Lord to lead, guide, and provide for me, and that means, to provide the best job or combination of jobs to suit His plans for my life. I don't need to be hired full-time to be satisfied financially. I don't need one job to cover me. I need His blessing and provision, and I need His hand upon my life. I need HIM in all things, and in this way, I will have the security, provision, and comfort I desire, I want, and, yes, I need.

Lastly, as I recall His words to me this morning, I must prepare for major change. He mentioned navigating the "choppy waters of debt" and that means that His focus is on clearing my debt. More so, He said I needed to be prepared for the change that is coming, and that preparation was mental. I need to get my head in the game, be ready mentally, to deal with the changes in my life. I must be ready to handle whatever He allows and whatever I run into as I walk on this path. This path is blessed, I believe it. This path is good, I know it. This path is prosperous, I am confident in it. But, this path is a challenging one. It is difficult, and it requires much of my time. I am driven to produce, to succeed, to excel, and as such, I am ready to tackle the workload. But, I know that with that workload comes much sacrifice. I must continue to sacrifice everything in order to do His work. I will give up my free time, my family and friend time, simply to do this work. I know, I know. I am a workaholic, and this is true. I don't work for the money, per se, but I do work to achieve results. I work hard, long hours, and with great diligence only in order to see results. My Ph.D. was all about performance and doing my best. I wanted nothing but His best, and for me, that was to earn all As. I did just that, and now that I am no longer in school, my desire is to take my performance and drive and turn it heavenward. I am driven to do His work, to complete the tasks He has assigned to me, and to do so in order to achieve good results -- His results.

I make no bones about the fact that this is my life, and that I have chosen this path. I had a decision, I was part of the decision making process, and I could have chosen another, less intense, way to go. The Lord offered me the choice, and I took the hard way, the difficult way, the challenging way simply because it was the shortest time to completion. I wanted to rest at the end, and for me and to my mind, this meant doing the hard nasty work first. Eating the FROG as Mark Twain suggested just so I could get it over with and get on with my life. I am all about doing to hard work first, and even though some might think I am lazy, the truth is I am far from lazy. I am a hard worker, and I never give up. I don't give up, at the least, I don't remember the last time I said, "I quit. I give up." Of course, I tell the Lord this all the time, but I mean quitting or giving up as far as His work is concerned. I am a "do or die" kind of person, and because of my work ethic, there is no "quitting" allowed. Now, don't get me wrong. I love to "veg out," to "chill" and I do this all the time. In fact, most afternoons, you will find me lounging on my bed with my phone as I surf the internet. In the evenings, when I am not grading, I will be on my bed, watching Netflix or Amazon on my laptop. I do "veg" well, but at other times, it is "every man to the main sail" and I am all in. This is why last night, I graded until 1 a.m. I did everything I had to do, so today, I can focus on prepping for GCU and ASU. This is how I roll, so to speak. I work really hard for short bursts of time, 4-5-6 hours, and then I relax and chill. It is this ebb and flow pattern that must not be disrupted. I mean, I am happy to work full-time, but I like this push, then pull, then push approach to work and to life. It is what I have done since my early teens, and I have always been very successful at it.

In Closing

In closing, as I think about the plans the Lord has for my life, I believe that He has no intention of disrupting my approach to work. Instead, He intends to go with the flow of it. This means that as the blessings come to me, I will need to sort through them and I will need to be a bit picky. I will need to only receive the ones that fit my lifestyle. The other blessings are sent back out to land on someone else, someone who needs them more than I do. This way, I am passing His blessing on to others, and that allows me to be a blessing to other people. He is good to me, and I want to be good to others. He gives to me liberally, generously, and I intend to do that as well. In all things, I give Him thanks. In all things, I desire to bring Him praise and honor. In all things, my life, my heart, and my mind are positioned and poised to worship and adore Him. He is worthy, so very worthy, and today, I lift up my sacrifice of praise in order to worship Him! Selah! It is done!

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