I know that being busy is not a valid excuse for not journaling. I have been very busy the past couple of weeks, and I feel myself falling further behind. I have been reading the Word in the mornings and then rushing to work thinking that I would journal in the evenings, but I am so tired after putting the boys to bed that I fall asleep before book reading or journaling. I want to be diligent and consistent in journaling.
This week, I had a couple of experiences which the Lord used to improve my attitude toward work. I have been second-guessing my role as a professor because of the significant time requirement and my competing desires to spend more time with my family. I have been so focused on the busyness and stress of deliverables that I have missed the sense of joy and privelege that I should have.
A recent graduate from our program came by my office to review some of his ideas for developing his home town in Africa. He also shared that he is training to get into the NFL, but he had a job opportunity in petroleum engineering. Though I felt very busy with other responsibilities, I took time to talk with him, and I realized that it was a privelege for me to talk about developing water and wastewater treatment infrastructure in Africa, and it was a privelege for me to advise and encourage him to seek to honor God with his opportunities in the NFL and engineering.
On Saturday morning, I had the opportunity to brief a delegation of dignitaries from Malaysia who are UTEP alumni. They are interested in developing an academic partnership, and I realized that it was a privelege for me to meet international political leaders and develop collaborations for sustainable infrastructure and resource management.
The Lord has also been working with me to help me grow as a spiritual leader. I think I have been wrestling with whether or not I should be taking an active role in spiritual leadership, and I think the Lord confirmed that I should be diligent in growing as a spiritual leader.
On Wednesday evening, the elders met to make some decisions about staff roles and responsibilities and improving some management systems/processes so that the church leaders can more effectively lead the church. While I still consider myself a shepherd in training, I think I have to opportunity to humbly learn by doing. I don't think you can learn all you need to know before trying; I think you have to try and seek the Lord for wisdom and grace.
On Thursday evening, we were blessed to host Robin, a Brother who spoke at a retreat for us in the spring. He has a gift of hearing from the Lord specific words of encouragement to people. One of the things that he told me was that I can serve a helpful role in leadership in our church body. That was encouraging and challenging because I have been wondering if I can serve in this capacity without compromising my effectiveness as a husband and father. I also talked a little bit with Robin about my desire to help people get clean water and Living Water, around the world. He encouraged me by assuring me that I need to make my family a priority during this season of life and not to try to travel too much. He also encouraged my by reminding me that we as Americans get so obsessed about the "exact will of God for my life", when perhaps the Lord's will tends to be more perceptive and less prescriptive.
Sunday evening, Brandi and I rode our bikes (with kids in tow) to a park, and the Fitzgeralds met us there. It was really nice to have a good chat with friends and watch the kids play.
This morning, I am flying to New Orleans for the WEFTEC conference, and this afternoon, I have the privelege of presenting in a technical session about water treatment in developing countries. What a privelege for me to talk about my experiences in Ecuador and El Paso, and to learn from others in how to more effectively help people get clean water!
Heavenly Father, thank you for your rich kindness in Christ Jesus. Thank you for the blessing of my family and the privelege of serving my wife and sons. Thank you for the vocation that you have given me and the privelege of serving students and working with people around the world. Thank you for the local church that you have led us to, and thank you for the opportunity to grow in maturity and leadership. Lord, may I be a humble and Spirit-led man today. I want to be salty and bright today, showing the joy and love of Christ. I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.