Skip to main content

behind

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!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

what binds us together?

For the past few weeks, I have been reading a book by famed psychiatrist M. Scott Peck which chronicles his travels (together with his wife) through remote parts of the UK in search of prehistoric stones. The book is part travel journal, part spiritual musings, part psychology, and part personal anecdotes. A mixed bag, to be sure, and not always a winning combination. At one point, I considered putting the book aside, not finishing it, but then Peck started writing about community. He is no stranger to the concept. He has led hundreds of community-building workshops over the years, helped start a non-profit organisation dedicated to fostering community, and written a compelling book about the topic, one which greatly impacted me when I read it oh so long ago.[1]

In preparation for a course I am teaching next year, I have been doing quite a bit of study on unity and community. Once you start thinking about it, you see and hear evidence of it everywhere. (See my blog on the impact of b…

job hunting

I am on the hunt for a job. PhD in hand, I am a theologian for hire. The thing is, not a lot of places are hiring theologians these days, and if they are, they are usually looking for scholars with skills and experience outside my area of expertise. Today I found job opportunities for those knowledgeable in Religion, Race, and Colonialism, Philosophy and History of Religion, Islam and Society, Languages of Late Antiquity, Religion, Ethics, and Politics, and an ad for a Molecular Genetic Pathologist. Not one posting for a Dramatic Theologian with  a side order of Spirituality and a dash of Methodology.

I know, I know. My expectations are a bit unrealistic if I believe I will find an exact match for my particular skills. I know that job descriptions are wish lists to some extent, so no candidate is ever a perfect match. I also realize that one must adapt one's skill set according to the requirements of the job and be flexible. But there are so few jobs which come within ten or even…

lessons from a theological memoir and a television series about lawyers

It's a hot Wednesday afternoon, so let's talk about false binaries. Basically, a false binary or false dichotomy happens when a person's options are artificially limited to two choices, thereby excluding all other possibilities. Insisting on the limited choice of either A or B leaves no room for middle ground or another, more creative solution. In other words, a false binary assumes the rest of the alphabet (after A and B) does not exist.

Binary thinking is quite prevalent in our society. Either you are for me or against me. Either you are guilty or innocent. Either you are a Democrat or a Republican, conservative or liberal. Either you are a Christian or a pagan. Either you are all in or all out. Admittedly, it is convenient to see things as either black or white, but we live in a multi-coloured world and not everything fits neatly into two categories. This is why insisting there are only two choices when, in fact, other options exist, is labeled as a fallacy in logic an…