Today, I finally got to some ironing that had been too long neglected: 12 shirts and 3 pairs of pants. I don't think there was much left to wear in the closet, actually. It seems like I am perpetually behind these days. I am a week and a half behind in the schedule I have set for my reading course in order to finish it in a timely manner. I am always trying to play catch-up in household cleaning, buying groceries, and personal writing. I don't even want to imagine what Christmas preparations will do to an already packed month ahead.
This week I began to think about my education. In order to be all that I can be, I should be submitting articles, presenting at conferences, and applying for awards, but frankly, I just don't have the energy. I know I have missed opportunities for funding and deadlines for submitting papers for important conferences. That's what happens when I am trying to live a joyful, creative, and peaceful life while being a full-time student, a teacher's assistant, a member of a journal committee, a part-time administrator, a faithful friend, and a caring pastor.
I have been reading the story of Joseph in Genesis. It is another one of those biblical stories that doesn't quite make sense to me. In fact, parts of it make me uncomfortable, both in what it appears to be saying about God and in the odd behaviour that characters in the story exhibit. But today, as I was feeling like a bit of a loser, losing out on opportunity after opportunity because I am a person with limited energy who cannot multitask well, I was reminded that one of the common factors in these biblical stories is that people, no matter how hard they try, are not masters of their own fate. They cannot manufacture their own success.
Joseph, the man with loads of potential, was always at the wrong place at the wrong time, it seems. When he told people about his amazing leadership skills and bright future, he set a whole lot of terrible things into motion: he was grossly mistreated by those who should have protected him, he was falsely accused by his boss, he was forgotten for two years by a colleague who promised to help him out, and yet...things turned out very well in the end. Beyond anyone's wildest dreams! Because God had a better plan than the one that Joseph employed by trying to sell people on his skills. It involved learning to be a great leader by not relying on his own strengths, but on the dependability of his God.
The perfect example of this can be seen in Genesis 41 in Joseph's interaction with Pharaoh. The ruler says to him, "I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it." Joseph replies, "I cannot do it, but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires."
I cannot get everything right in my education process and all the life challenges that go along with it, but God will bring me to the place that he wants me to be. He always does, so I don't have to worry. Work hard, yes, but not worry.
This is a red pear that I let ripen for a few days until it was just right. Then I enjoyed its deliciousness!