Tuesday, May 7, 2013

uncharted territory

"You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? 
How much can you win?
And IF you go in, should you turn left or right . . .
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it's not, I'm afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind."

From Dr. Seuss' Oh, the Places You'll Go!
Now that I'm ABD, I'm facing my next dissertation chapter head on. And it's all new territory.

I have a pile of pages to read two inches thick that I've photocopied from theological lexicons.
I have a to-do list at least 5 pages long.
I have a whole shelf of books quietly waiting to be read.
And I have nagging questions about the best way to frame my research.
But the clock keeps ticking, which means I can't stand around too long procrastinating.
I just need to make up my mind and get started.

The biggest challenges in life don't come with instruction manuals. But whether your uncharted territory relates to breastfeeding or sleep training, educating your kids, dealing with teenagers, applying to grad school, resolving conflict, writing a dissertation, embarking on a new career, beginning a dating relationship, settling in to a new culture, navigating doctrinal questions, or responding to the needs of aging parents, the good news is you are not alone. We have a shepherd-king who will guide us each step of the way, even when the streets are "darked."

"Yahweh is my shepherd. I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, 
he leads me beside quiet waters, 
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the paths of the righteous
for the sake of his name.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will not fear evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me."
Psalm 23:1–4*

*my translation, adapted from the NIV 2011

1 comment:

  1. I don't have young kids anymore, I have teens, so I'm not quoting Dr. Seuss, but Sara Bareilles:

    Each day, countin' up the minutes, till I get alone, 'cause I can't stay
    In the middle of it all, it's nobody's fault, but I'm
    So low, never knew how much I didn't know,
    Oh, everything is uncharted.
    I know I'm getting nowhere, when I only sit and stare like...

    I'm going down,
    Follow if you want, I won't just hang around,
    Like you'll show me where to go,
    I'm already out of foolproof ideas, so don't ask me how
    To get started, it's all uncharted.

    But I got a good annual review so...head down and plow in!

    Made my reservations for SBL, so let's plan on meeting! (I'm going to the Johannine Pre-Conference instead of ETS, but may be able to show up to IBS, we'll see...)