Fall a.k.a. The Whirlwind (or Poop-nado)

My blogging hiatus hasn’t been intentional. I promise. It’s just that the fall semester has happened. And keeps on happening.

The other day the thought came to me, I could sum up the past 10 weeks with one word: whirlwind.

And then I thought of this scene from Parks and Recreation.

poopnado

So maybe not as much of a whirlwind as a poop tornado. A poop-nado. Yes, Leslie Knope, that about sums it up.

When I signed on this summer to serve as the co-coordinator for our fall University Strategies freshmen course, I knew it would be a lot of work. But boys howdy, has it ever! As I’ve finished week 10 of the semester, these are a few lessons I’ve learned so far:

  • I’ve discovered I have the skills and abilities to be an administrator at the university level.
  • I’ve discovered I would perhaps rather not commit to serving in future positions as an administrator at the university level. As flattering as it’s been to be viewed as an educator, I’m quite content to be a collaborative, worker-bee, educator, librarian.
  • I’ve been reminded that, try as hard as I might, some freshmen just aren’t suited for college; at least not at this juncture in their lives. As their instructor, I can only do so much, and the extra effort I extend to them may still not be enough to motivate them to come to class, do the work, and eventually pass the class.
  • After a couple of unfortunate situations, I’ve said Amen to the adages, “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself” and “a failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.”
  • However, I remain thankful for how smooth it is to work alongside my co-coordinator, teaching partner, closest work colleague, and friend. If it weren’t for her, I would not have said yes to this gig.
  • My Type A perfectionistic tendencies have been gently filed down to a solid B+ on several occasions. Editing content + weekly deadlines x 16 weeks = do the best you can and move on!
  • I have come to appreciate good and timely communication skills from others on a whole new level.
  • Coordinating content and updates for 30+ sections of one course means you have 30+ instructors who have to be team players. We have been blessed with a very supportive team!

And beyond my poop-nado analogy, a more spirit-stirring one also came to my mind from the Old Testament. In 1 Kings 19, the prophet Elijah was downtrodden at the Israelites’ destructive behavior and was fleeing for his life. In his hour of great desperation and need, God sent an angel to provide for Elijah food and encouragement. And if that weren’t enough, the following verses show the subtlety of how God personally arrived on the scene.

11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. (NIV)

Amid all of the howling winds, Elijah found an expectant way to stay attuned to the Lord’s hand at work and His gentle whisper.

And despite (the proverbially-flying poop of) my frenzied fall semester, Elijah’s attitude and encounter with God Almighty reminds me that my daily interaction with Him is the only way I am ensured my thoughts and emotions won’t be buffeted by life’s storms. Because without Jesus, I get the self-awarded A+, gold star, grand prize medal for being She Who Takes Matters Into Her Own Hands and Obsessively Thinks About All the Things.

I’ve now walked with Christ for about 25 years, and I’m thankful this journey has allowed me to see His repeated faithfulness. Like Elijah, I have continually and intentionally sought to attune the ears of my soul to a divine encounter. Of course, sometimes I don’t do the best job at this. But you know what? In each instance I’ve tried, God has met me there. Every single time.

Two resources I highly recommend that help me keep the storms at bay and hear God’s gentle whisper:
Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
First 5 app from Proverbs 31 Ministries

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