Sorry it's been so long, we seem to do that a lot; we'll be really good at writing for a few months, and then fall off the band wagon. I'm resolved to do better! We'll see how it goes.
So update in our lives, Ben will be graduating in April. Our lease will be up in April as well, so that means farewell to Rexburg! The only problem? We don't know where we're going yet. We have it narrowed down to a few options, but nothing solid. Graduate school applications are in and we're in the interview processes right now; it's just the waiting game that keeps us from knowing where we will be.
This "decide where we will live and go to school for the next 2-4 years" process has been really interesting for us. As we usually do with important decisions, we've been praying about it for a while. There have been many options as to what we could do, and (not surprisingly) the answer of what to do isn't coming all at once.
I think God wants us (not just Ben and I, but all of His children) to be able to make important decisions with a sure knowledge that what we are doing follows His plan for us. That knowledge doesn't come from Him saying "Hey, do ______ thing, at _______time, in _______place." He gives it to us one small piece at a time as we diligently seek answers. If God gave us the entire answer all at once, we wouldn't have to be very consistent in asking, would we? We would have to be diligent until the big answer came, but then, what reason would we have to continue to seek His guidance? For us at least, the answers have come in the form of really small steps to take. It's been a process of feeling out which program to pursue, and then which colleges to apply for. Do we work for a few years to gain experience before going into a program, or look for a program that is tailored to those without experience? Then we had to revisit which colleges we were applying for...about 3 times. Then we had to go over every detail of the application process (especially the essays) and come up with the money to pay all the application fees. Now we are in the interviews, and later it will be comparing offers and pros and cons of each program. Starting next week it will be visiting each campus to see how we feel about it. It takes a lot of time and effort and sacrifice, but I believe we're at a point where we are okay with that. Nothing that is worth anything is easy, and usually easy street is a dead end anyway.
Hopefully in the next 4 weeks we will know where we are moving to, which program Ben will be studying in for his masters degree, what employment we will have in order to not starve to death, and overall have a rough sketch of what the next 2-4 years holds for us. In the mean time, my biggest struggle is to resist the temptation to freak out. Not because I'm actually worried about whether or not we will end up in the right place or find a job or housing or anything like that, but because my pride tells me that I need to freak out. The temptation to be worried about something important comes from the natural desire within to not look like a fool to those around me who constantly ask "So what are you're post graduation plans?". I've realized that if I take out the factor of other people possibly judging me, and just think about if I trust God is in control or not, I'm really not worried at all. But when I think others are judging me or think that I'm foolish for not having our plans worked out yet, that's when the urge to act like a freaked out maniac strikes. Why is this? I think it comes from the desire to feel normal. Maybe an effort to not look like I think I'm better than everyone else, or an effort to look like I can relate to everyone else's circumstances too. It's tough to put a finger on why, but I know that it's rooted in my pride and desire to build my own self-image.
That's a problem. Obviously we all struggle with our own personal problems, and pride is a sin that nearly no one can escape. In fact I think Jesus Himself was the only person who was able to fully evade the temptation to indulge in pride at least once or twice. The problem with pride is that it's all about me. How do I look? How do I feel? What will others think of me? If I'm constantly focusing on myself and how I look, than I don't have time to worry about God or what He desires for me, or how He looks through me.
That probably doesn't make sense at first, but think about it. As Christians one of our duties is to use our time and efforts and resources to glorify His name. We are to do all things with "an eye single to the glory of God". The scriptures say that we are to "receive His image in our countenances". If I'm so worried about MY image, then I definitely don't have HIS image. It's something we all need to work on. For me, right now, I'm working on resisting the urge to worry about how I look, and trying to make God look good by doing what He would do and saying what He would say. Do others recognize Him when they see me? If they don't, then I have a lot of changing to do.
So back to my urge to freak out about not knowing what we're doing with our lives in the immediate future...so what? So I don't know what's going on, who does really? Why worry about whether or not I look like everyone else who does or doesn't "know" (or rather have a plan which will possibly not go accordingly) what their doing? I just need to worry about making sure I'm doing what He would do and saying what He would say. Everything else will fall into place. My trainer on the mission always had a saying "Everything will all work out," and she's right. I just need to stop worrying about my image and start worrying about if I have His.