While most students are heading back to school from their summer break I’ve already been sitting in the classroom. Not necessarily by choice and not the typical classroom or teacher. So, without further ado, here are three things I learned while unwittingly attending summer school.
1. Resource Management: No more people-pleasing
I’m pretty hard on myself. I tend to focus on my flaws instead of perfections and on the work still to do instead of the progress made. Because I don’t like to disappoint others it’s sometimes hard for me to say “no”, which also makes it hard for me to know if my agenda aligns with God’s. I often ask the question, “Am I living out God’s purpose in my life?” But here is what caught my attention while reading my textbook: I am His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God prepared beforehand so that I would walk in them (Eph. 2:10). As His workmanship that means God created me exactly as I am and sees me as perfectly fit and suited for His calling. This gives me courage and confidence to know ultimately I can’t fail. If I’m listening and obedient I will be fully aligned with His will. I’ve re-written my job description boiling it down to just one word: God-pleaser.
2. Law 101: Closing Arguments
In spiritual conversations I often find myself on the defense, that is, defending what I believe and why I believe it. This summer while driving, I heard on the radio an exceptional and perfectly timely sermon by Chuck Swindoll. God used his sermon to remind me how important our victory in Christ is and that we need to spend much less time in the trenches fighting and more time declaring our hope in Christ. Amen.
3. Endless Homework: Living in the Spirit
Each summer I am challenged with the same things every other mother and parent around the world is challenged with, bored kids, sibling disputes, and juggling the general needs of life and family. But in addition to that I also want to grow these precious kids into people who know and love Jesus and will serve Him well. I take this work seriously, yet again, like most mothers, am challenged with enormous guilt that I don’t do nearly enough to that end. I am reminded that sometimes just “being” speaks louder than words. I am left to ponder what am I “speaking” to them in the quiet or not-so-quiet moments of our interactions?
Mid-summer this thought came to mind. Instead of focusing on negative behavior, and unrealistic expectations of how I could change my kids or change the situation, what if I focused on the good fruit God is trying to cultivate and grow in me? Ah. This resonated deep. God reminded me He has given me these children not for me to change them, but for them to change me.
I am reminded that I am a work in progress. And that He that began a good work in me is faithful to complete it (Phil 1:6). The Holy Spirit and I did a lot of work together this summer and I learned a lot. Ultimately, I enjoyed His classes, even the disciplining (sigh). He’s a great teacher, gentle, merciful, and full of grace and truth. I’ve already signed up for the next class (to be determined).
“Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.”—Mt. 8:19