Since I posted last, I have seen God work more powerfully than I ever have before. In just a little over a month, He has provided for all of my needs this coming year! He truly is Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides.
Ironically, now that the real pressure is off and I'm somewhat secure for the next year, I am struggling to keep a proper perspective and view on life. It's like the old saying "there are no athiests in foxholes." When I was out of my comfort zone and relying on God day after day, it was relatively easy to maintain a relationship with Him through prayer and Scripture reading and meditation. I needed it! But now, even after witnessing such a display of God's power of provision, I often feel like I no longer need to be in a close relationship with Him.
This is made worse by my frequent self-focus. For various reasons, I have had a lot of time recently where I didn't have the mental juice or the energy to apply myself to study or planning, and so I just vegged and did whatever I felt like doing. Entertainment is fine in moderation, but when consumed in larger amounts it fuels a harmful self-focus: what can I do to have fun and relax in the short term? This has been my problem in the past week or two, and even though it feels good at the time, it has left me feeling unfulfilled and empty. We were designed by God to live in community, facing outward not inward, and we were designed for long-term happiness in His kingdom, at the cost of some short-term pleasures. Only when we are living in community with God and others, and when we are thinking, planning, learning, and living in light of that future glory will we be satisfied.
For me in the next few weeks, this probably means pulling back to none or almost no media usage, spending more time reading the Bible and other books that I have been meaning to read, and spending more time with my friends and family instead of entertaining myself. It will be difficult, but the results will be worth it!