Unintentional learning

Hey there!  Hope all y’all are doing well.  I have a summer head cold.  It’s the first time I’ve really been sick since I moved.  Summer school classes can be very intense, even when we are passionate about the subject matter!  It’s not been nearly as hot here as it has been  in Kansas, but the humidity makes it sticky, even when it’s not really hot.  Anyway, grab a cuppa something iced and find a cool spot to relax.  College is interesting.  We often learn things we didn’t know we were researching.  In this post, there are three underlined terms; if you click on them they are links to other information.

My current class is Writing Creative Nonfiction.  (You may see some improvement in the blog.)  I realized a couple of nights ago I’m doing quite a bit of research off-topic.  Evidently I’ve been researching a trio of topics – sleep deprivation, health in relation to devotional practice, and the seemingly subtle differences between healthy self-confidence and outright pride.  All this while living ‘immersion research’ in over-commitment.

I’ve laughed at myself, even as I’ve been proud of myself, for going back to school and acting like a college student.  Late nights, late to class, late papers, etc.  The late nights are me; the rest are not historically my character; but this writing class has been different.  I’ve pretty much given up sleep – to the point of being clinically sleep deprived, ‘researching’ how long and how late I can sit in my chair with the computer screen displaying my thoughts as I write the paper, the book, the blog, the e-mail, the Facebook post.  I already knew that sleep deprivation is worse than alcohol consumption in terms of mental acuity and physical response time and accuracy; but between needing to have work completed to turn in, the passion to write that just takes me sometimes, and then being sick with this cold, I discovered new things.  I can lose my peripheral vision reality – I can have semi-hallucinations.  I can function in a way, driving, writing, eating.  But lack of sleep has me run down, seeing things that aren’t there, seeing things in a distorted fashion, and who knows what else.  The joke in my family that “I can sleep when I’m dead!” is not a joke at this point.  My physical body needs physical sleep.  (I slept most of the weekend after I wrote this.)

I’ve discovered that it requires a certain level of energy to express my love for the Lord in devotional practice.  It takes some energy to simply read Scripture, to focus on prayers, to think of others, rather than myself.  The more tired I become, the less these things are accomplished.  When I’m not feeling well, I simply need to sleep.  How many excuses can one person have?  I may never really know… but I may write a book.

I write.  All the time.  I imagine how words will sound strung together, even as I think of how a mundane everyday topic can parallel a spiritual truth.  These are not bad things in themselves.  But when I slip over into the “I’m good at this”!  and think I’m better than others, it’s a problem.  I found myself repeatedly late to class, continually interrupting or talking over the other ladies, or even interrupting the professor.   Dr. Sunny confronted me for the third time about being late.  She then suggested that I take it to prayer.  What a great college and wonderful professor!

Jesus is so faithful.  When I sincerely asked Him why I was always late to class, what flaw in me was making me late every morning, He showed me.  I already ‘knew’ in my head that I was being disrespectful to the instructor, and the other classmates, when I waltzed in late, interrupting class time, making the professor repeat herself, or wait on me to show up so they could actually start class.  It was wasting the others’ time and money for the class – I was stealing from them!.  The root of the entire matter was…   pride.  The manifestation was two-fold: thinking more highly of myself than I should, and not sleeping.  I’m still struggling with it.  I’ve returned to praying on my knees, not just wherever I find myself at that moment during the day.  I’ve returned to the Litany of Humility.  I’ve returned to my rightful place, no longer independent, but dependent on Him.  It’s so much more peaceful here!

How about you?  Is there something in your life that’s not lining up correctly? Find a pastor or a priest and just sit and talk about it.  They can help you pray it through and show you where God’s grace is waiting for you, the power to overcome your particular struggle.  Jesus is waiting for you!

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