Friday, April 25, 2014

Professor of the Week: Dr. Connie Chester

Posted by courtneyschultz On April - 15 - 2013

When my husband and I take a trip together, we always disagree. He wants the GPS to be set to give him step by step directions, one at a time.

I don’t like that mode at all. I prefer a complete overview. I like to all the upcoming turns, how long we will be on the same road, what roads we are going to take, etc.

I like to consider different routes and choose the one that suits me best on a particular day, whether I’m in the mood for back roads, highways, or the quickest route.

I like to choose the route I’m taking and know every turn that’s going to happen along the way.

For me, the end of the school year is a time of reflection. Having been in school, either as a student or a teacher, since I was five years old, has conditioned me to live my life according to an academic calendar.

For most students, the end of one semester means thinking about the future; what classes are going to be taken next semester, what jobs are available, what graduate schools are the best, places to live, or even people to marry.

This year, as I have been reflecting back over the last few years, I have appreciated the old adage “life is a journey” in a way I haven’t before.

I’ve realized that I have most often approached life the way I approach a trip using GPS: I want the route laid out before me. I want to know exactly where I am going, how I am going to get there, when I am going to get there, and what is going to happen along the way. Life has not been that easy or well defined, and it’s been very frustrating to me at times.

I made the choice at a very young age that I really wanted my life to belong to the Lord; to do what He wanted and go where He sent me.

The journey, however, has not always gone as I planned. The directions have been much more like my husband’s preference of travel, rather than mine.

I’m sure I’m slaughtering theology by writing this, but the voice of the Lord in my life has been a lot like the voice of the GPS.

Though not usually audible, to my dismay, but in retrospect, relief, God has usually only provided me with the information, the opportunity, and even the grace I need to take one step of my life journey at a time.

For someone who planned what I wanted to do when I was eight years old, planned out the steps I would take to achieve my goal, what I would do each step of the way, and when I would it, God’s direction in my life has been frustrating. I don’t see the whole route. I don’t get to know how long I’m going to travel a certain road. I don’t even know where I’ll end up, or what I’ll encounter along the way.

Many times I’ve become impatient while waiting for the next direction, and looking for “road signs”, or even stopping to ask for others for directions has ended me on the wrong route.

Gracefully, and mercifully, God has always “rerouted” me, and gotten me back on the right path. He has used my lack of understanding, my mistakes and failures, to deepen my understanding of my need for His direction, and my appreciation of His patience and faithfulness.

I have been a lifelong student and like most students, I want to know my assignment, exactly what is expected of the assignment, and when it is to be completed.

When I was younger, I really wanted God to tell me what His plans were for my life, so that I could get busy carrying out the “assignment”. For me, that has not been the way life worked out at all, and I am so grateful.

My life has been full of wonderful things: wonderful parents and siblings, a great place to grow up, wonderful scholastic opportunities, great husband, great kids, great jobs.

It’s also been full of disappointments and struggles: seeing my father deal with a terminal illness, the death of a parent, grandparents and children; the frustration of applying for jobs and not getting them; the irritation of working jobs that I didn’t want to work.

Some roads on my life journey have been difficult, ugly and potentially unnecessary detours. Some of them have been smooth, scenic highways that I never wanted to end. All of those roads, however, whether smooth, rough or ugly have led me where I am today.

It is a good place. It is not the end of my journey, and I don’t even know how long I’ll be on this particular stretch of road before there is a bump, a detour, or a sharp curve. It used to frustrate me that I couldn’t see those things in the distance. Now it is a relief.

I am learning that God’s grace is sufficient for now. I really don’t have any idea what the future holds, good or bad. I don’t know the entire route God has planned for my life, and how my personal decisions, or the decisions of others, will effect that. I have learned, however, that He is faithful, and He is there, and most importantly, He knows the next step. Ultimately, He is the only one who does.

So, as you graduate, go on to a career, family, or graduate school, or just take the summer off, remember that life really is a journey. If you don’t like the road you’re on, maybe you need to reflect on whether or not you have committed your life to the only One who really knows your ultimate route. If you have committed your life to the Lord, know that He will give you direction(s) in His timing and in His way. Listen for the next step of your journey: look for road signs, even ask directions from others whom you trust, but ultimately listen for His voice, in whatever way He speaks to you.

And, relax. There will be disappointments, discouragements and difficult times along the journey. There will also be moments that will better than you can even imagine, and wonderful surprises along the way. The journey of your life may turn out very differently than you imagine, but if you follow the route He has planned for you, you will not be disappointed.

 

ATTN: Editorials do not reflect the opinion of the entire publication.

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Issue 12 of The Campbell Times

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