Category Archives: Life of a Scholar

In Focusing on Only What I Can Control I Have To Deal with Handling Disappointment

So one of my goals for 2012, frankly this is a rollover from 2011 really, is to stay focused on what I can control.

Basically, I can’t control other people not my friends, not my family, not my teachers, not my classmates and colleagues but I CAN control what I do: how I study, how I support my family and friends. And this sentiment/perspective has helped me a lot in the last year. I have made more requests based on my needs instead of not making requests based on my fear around how my requests would be perceived and as an extension cause myself more stress. Making of these requests is actually an extension of the above goal — to do what I feel I need to do to remain healthy, wealthy and wise (obviously within reason and legality).

Though I have enjoyed my new perspective and feel better because I have asked more for the things I need and I have reached out to more people asking for help, one thing that has been hard is dealing with the disappointment of people, in most cases that I knew would disappointment me, when making these requests. Receiving no answers to my requests kinda takes me back to the place of worry, frustration and disappointment that has caused so many delays in the last four years. Especially, when I feel these answers reflect a person not working within their job description in terms of their relationship to me.

It also makes me think, “why am I doing this?” Luckily, I have a bigger picture reason to be where I am and I also can, “look to the hills from which cometh my help and know that my help comes from Him.” But even this doesn’t stop my human/flesh feelings of frustration and disappointment. In fact it basically re-affirms my old policy of just not letting people in and trying to do things on my own; which isn’t the solution.

Anyway, moving away from the raw feelings I have in these moments (I had one recently if you can’t tell from my tone), one solution I do have that has been working is seeking new help and pushing past the disappointment that stems from my expectation that I shouldn’t have to do this or that. Because at the end of the day, I don’t have power to change what should or shouldn’t be done in some of my family, friend and school/work relationships BUT I do have power to find new avenues to receive what I need to be successful.

In the last year or so alone, I have sought after new friendships and worked to gain new perspective on overlooked potential friendships around me. I have also sought out new and old mentors when it comes to school/work.

All these moves have bearing good fruit for me but I’m an idealist and I always want to help and I still think sometimes that I can get a new result from some of the people around me who have disappointed me in the past and have not shown any signs of changing. I also want to fix things as I go so that others do not have to go through the same disappointment, drama and frustration that I had to. Additionally, I go back to these situations not because I want to but because I have to because I am in the systems I am in for now and to protect myself I feel I have to say well I did reach out to person A or department Z and still look what happened (basically a protection mechanism to say that I did what I was supposed to do).

The other tip on dealing with disappointment that I am still learning how to really manifest is using my undesirable temporary situation as motivation to do what I need to do to move on. I remember one moment, I think it was my second year of graduate school, I was so frustrated with my experience that I thought hard about why was I doing what I was doing and then I remembered my research (that looks to female political elites in Latin America) and I remembered a video I received during my last research trip to the Dominican Republic and I put it in to watch. Watching that video and seeing the barriers and the work that is going on to increase the number of women in politics there was just the boost I needed to deal with the current “stuff” I was dealing with and push forward. Writing that sentence reminds of a sermon a pastor at my church taught where he basically said that the manure (mess) of my life is like fertilizer…though it stinks it actually helps to make me stronger. 

To sum up this post and offer some assistance and encouragement to those reading this post, even when you focus on what only you can control (your interactions with people, your work, your prayers and your constructive critiques etc) the disappointment will still come as people are people — imperfect and disappointment prone creatures. However, if you work to focus back as quickly as you can to what you can control, reach out to new people to become part of your needed support systems while remembering your big picture and the Higher Power you can get back to keeping the main thing the main thing as Steven Covey says in all of your relationships.

When We All Get to Heaven…

When We All Get to Heaven…

So I have not really been one of those Christians that thinks about life in Heaven much but lately I have been around leaders and teachers that share their thoughts about Heaven to the point that they know what they want their mansion in Heaven to look like (honestly when I heard that I realized that I had forgotten many of the “things” we as believers get in Heaven). For example, my Sunday School teacher shared one day how she really wants to see how God’s operation works. Like how does he manage to receive and work on all of our prayer requests and hand out our blessings? When she shared this I thought about a mother switchboard or the control room at NASA only bigger because well claro God is dealing with so much more than the phone company people or the folks at NASA 😉

Well, as a result of being under these leaders and teacher’s wings I have started to think more about Heaven and some of the things that I want to ask God about when I get there.

The first question I thought about was, “How does God do it?” How does He love us despite… In spite of if we are good or bad; in spite of whether we praise Him like we should on any given Sunday, Saturday or Tuesday; in spite of us, as humans, even accepting Him at all…God loves us and shows us His mercy and protection. I am doing much better in the area of loving people despite…but if someone does me wrong significantly I tend to walk away and go cool off somewhere and it usually takes me some time, even a lot of time depending on what was done and how much I cared, to come around and forgive them and love them and be comfortable around them again; but God doesn’t do this. This amazes me more and more as I learn and meditate more about Christ, His ways and His commands of us like, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,” Matthew 5:44 NKJV. God loves us because that is who He is and I can’t wait to talk to Him about this aspect of Himself after I thank Him for it 🙂

The second question I thought about is keeping the Sabbath holy. I mean I understand the concept and why God wanted His holy day, and He sure enough deserves this time from us, however as I sit here on a Sunday Sabbath writing this post and studying I can’t help but think, “if this is the day I am most inspired as I have a fresh pouring of Your Word and commands and love, why not work? I mean I’m doing some of my best work today and I hope this productivity continues (Yes Lord! Let’s bring this into Monday & Tuesday in Jesus’ name!)!” Basically, some of my best work has occurred on a Sunday afternoon with the fresh words of my pastor via God in my spirit and mind. However, despite my enjoyment of Sunday afternoon productivity, I have said that once I finish studying for and taking my qualifying exams I am really gonna make His Sabbath holy i.e. no more studying on Sunday. I am even thinking of doing a no TV day on Sunday outside of Football season 🙂 All this said, I would love to discuss the conundrum of His Holy Sabbath and increased productivity due to the results of collective worship and teaching a.k.a church with God when I get to Heaven.

To close and get back to studying :), though I have not thought too much about my life in Heaven, I look forward to further reflections in this area. I bid you adieu with a clip of “When We All Get to Heaven” the Gospel Hymn that is one of my favorites and always stirs my spirit to smile:

Have a blessed and productive week!