PUTTING MY FOOT WHERE MY MOUTH IS

By Lisa Huddleston

This post is a re-run. No, that does not mean that I am reprinting an old post—it does mean that I have to keep learning its message over and over, time after time, ad nauseam even. Sheesh!

This truth is that doing anything, accomplishing almost any goal is more about persistence than it is about anything else. And that is a difficult truth to grasp.

Heck, I literally have this message tattooed on my right foot—truly—so you’d think I might be able to remember it. A long obedience in the same direction … is what gets us wherever it is we hope to arrive.

get-attachment.aspxBut this week I faced a difficult situation at “work.” I use quotation marks to set off this designation, because I am not a “real” employee at the Adult Learning Center. I am just a “volunteer” meaning I can come and go as I please and no one can really can expect too much of my abilities as a teacher.

Now, that doesn’t mean that is how I treat my “job.” I actually take it very seriously, show up on time, watch the clock during breaks, do my best with any task I’m given, and so on—as long as I am not paid to deliver I am less worried about my perceived inadequacies as a teacher and I can assist spontaneously without panic or too much fear.

However, this week was different. The regular teacher was taking a well-deserved vacation, and, because she is a true force to be reckoned with and would not take no for an answer, I was to teach in her place! What what?!

Oh, don’t think I didn’t try my best to squirm out of it! One thing I did was decide to spend my volunteer hours this whole year on one day instead of splitting them between two days as I had in the past. I told them it was a more efficient use of my time (and it probably truly is), but it was really because I hoped they’d get someone else to substitute for these two weeks! They did not.

But after teaching on Tuesday, I realized how difficult it was going to be for the “real” workers to cover “my” classes, and I felt guilty putting work I could do onto others so I caved. I actually offered to do it all! And as soon as I did, I knew it was the right step to take.

The truth is, God made me to be a teacher in one capacity or another, and when I walk in obedience to that I honestly find a great deal of joy. My family, friends, and other teachers have all told me so–but fear is a difficult obstacle to overcome. Thankfully, the classes this week went very well, the students seemed happy and engaged in learning, and I felt useful if not actually confident in the role.

So it’s one step at a time as the opportunities arise—for at least another week and hopefully for a long time after that. No, I don’t plan to apply for a “real job” as a teacher, but I’m trying not to rule anything out. God knows the work he has for me to do and as long as I can keep my eyes off of me and focus on the needs I can meet then all will be well. I pray … if I can just keep walking … and maybe position myself from time to time to see that crazy tattoo on the outside of my foot!

What goals or needs or opportunities are you allowing to go unmet because of fear or lack of discipline or insecurity or self-indulgence? Do you secretly know of something you feel drawn to do but aren’t willing to face up to the obstacles that stand in your way? What can you do today to set your eyes and your feet back on the path of long obedience? May these words encourage us all—just do it and then keep on doing it!

 

 

THE LONG OBEDIENCE STUFF

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Paper research. Fun? Nope.

By Lisa Huddleston

Probably like many of you, I have a great deal of difficulty finishing long-term projects. Oh, I start out with gusto, raring to go and looking forward to the challenge, but after a few days, or weeks, or months, or in some cases even years, I want to throw in the towel.

And that’s where I sit today–towel in hand and just about to let it fly! I’m struggling with my exercise regimen, my healthy eating program, and I have yet another paper to write for a class that will not be completed until the first week of May and still has several projects left to conquer. I just don’t wanna do anything that I know I should do today. Ugh.

That said, I did do one thing already on my list of “supposed tos.” I read today’s #LentChallenge selection. How does God always know? Really, how does He always arrange it so that I am forced to look at the truth that hits me right where I sit? (Remember where? In my corner of the ring about to throw in the towel.)

“But there is another urgency before me now. I feel compelled to go to Jerusalem. I’m completely in the dark about what will happen when I get there. I do know that it won’t be any picnic, for the Holy Spirit has let me know repeatedly and clearly that there are hard times and imprisonment ahead. But that matters little. What matters most to me is to finish what God started: the job the Master Jesus gave me of letting everyone I meet know all about this incredibly extravagant generosity of God.” (Paul, Acts 20:22-24)

Man (said with a long, drawn out, annoying Midwestern aaaaaa sound, please) … I really want to quit. You name it, I want to quit it. But no, God has to go and make me read these very words today–and I actually have to hear and heed them.

Okay, I get it. For some reason, I felt compelled to begin these classes in order to renew my teaching license–maybe to continue my work at the Adult Learning Center, maybe to face what would feel like “imprisonment” by taking a real, paying job rather than continuing to work for free and in freedom. Who knows? (Yes, God does. I know.) But whatever the outcome, I need to finish what He started in me. Keep walking on that long obedience trail in every way that He has placed before me.

Obedience is tough even for the short-term, but this long obedience stuff just may be the end of me. I guess I can hope so anyway–all the way to the end.