Aug 30, 2009

A Lesson for Teacher...

Tomorrow is our first day back to school. Yes, I know some of you have been in school for nearly a month already, but since we school lightly during the summer with a few week-long breaks here and there (like going to Hawaii, going to see family in Texas, VBS, etc.) we start a little later in the summer than most public schools do. Call me sentimental, but I am glad to get a little more use out of our pool before we hit the new year.

So we usually start somewhere around the 1st of September. And that would be tomorrow.

Just as a little sidebar here, this is the first year that we have a middle-schooler in our family. I've told you before that the church we love to attend is rather large, so we have a separate building, affectionately called "The Warehouse," for Middle School and High School students to attend Sunday School.

We've never been to The Warehouse. Until This past Sunday.

We got to go because we now have a student out there. Apparently we are to not refer to him as a child anymore, but as a student. Pastor Rick (the middle school pastor) had a kind of open house for parents of all Middle Schoolers. He's a smart man, because he has volunteers cooking pancakes and serving cinnamon rolls, fruit and juice to lure the students into the main assembly.

Smart man, indeed. I'd say he knows a thing or two about this age group.

Anyway, I'm still trying to get over the shock of having a "middle school student." I started teaching Mini me kindergarten when we first moved into this house. It really wasn't that long ago.

Okay, reeling myself back in...

Mini me starts 6th grade tomorrow, Brown Eyes (who is still a child) will be in 3rd, and then there's Lil'bit, who will begin an official preschool curriculum tomorrow. This will be my first time teaching all three at once. Wow.

As is true with all teachers, God has seen fit to teach me a thing or two before letting me loose on His kids to teach them.

And I'm not talking about academics.

My last post about week 6 from the Believing God study mentioned quoting Scripture to combat negative words and attitudes. Beth Moore had discussed the power of our tongue...for both good and bad...and when we find ourselves with negative fleshly words, we can and should purposefully use the Word of God to change our hearts and minds.


How many of you know that when you learn something, or are even reminded of a life lesson, you will be tested on it.

The day after I wrote that post, I became an emotional train wreck. I mean to say that I was a royal grump, and I'm not even sure why that was. I just know that from the very beginning of my day, everything and its dog got on my nerves. Irritation, frustration, and hypersensitivity were my constant companions. From the eating noises of a careless youth of mine (I won't say which one) to the occasional bickering and whining that wafted from their bedroom, I mean I was annoyed by everything.

The thought (or shall I say still, quiet voice inside) kept bringing up in my mind that I needed to wield my Sword, I should stop and utilize the very tools that have been given to me to battle my own flesh.

Do you know I never did? That whole day, I would have that thought and think, "Okay, I will in a minute. I've gotta get done with...." And I never would get around to it. The biggest problem was that I didn't have any Scriptures ready in my mind or immediately available to employ. I was putting it off because I knew it would take time for me to sit down and find what I needed to apply to the situation, and my spirit was willing but my flesh was weak.

So I never did what I had just written about being the best thing to do in such a situation. And because of it, I was viewed by my children to be just a notch below Hitler himself. Okay, maybe not that bad, but a serious grouch anyway. And they got to witness some of the yucky flesh of their momma because I was unwilling to do what I knew I should do.

The very next day, I got up feeling better in attitude, but felt horrible for the attitude I had
the day before.

Normally, when I am dealing with regret, and even repentance, I am rather harsh on myself. And I have a hard time letting it go and moving on in the freedom I really do have in Christ. I usually choose to punish myself with it for a little while. I think I shouldn't get off so easy as just claiming the forgiveness and the relief of the load that comes with it. I should "hang onto it a while."

And that normally would consume any kind of a quiet time with the Lord I'd try to have. I would spend my time with Him telling Him how horrible I was and how I just don't understand how He could pour out His lavish grace on one such as me. I still wonder that, but I don't think the self-loathing is what He's after.

That "morning after," I sat down to tell the Creator of the Universe what a sad spectacle I had been (as if He didn't already know). I repented of my behavior and asked Him to help me with this new day. Then I opened up His Word together with "My Utmost for His Highest" by Oswald Chambers. Here's what the devotional said for that day:

"Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you." John 12:35

"Beware of not acting upon what you see in your moments on the mount with God. If you do not obey the light, it will turn into darkness."

Can I just interject here that I was in darkness, so to speak, all day that day. He goes on:

"Continually bring the truth out into actuality; work it out in every domain, or the very light you have will prove a curse. The most difficult person to deal with is the one who has the smug satisfaction of an experience to which he can refer back, but who is not working it out in practical life. If you say you are sanctified, show it.The experience must be so genuine that it is shown in the life."


Then the Holy Spirit brought to my mind the lesson I learned the day before,
during my Bible study time on my day of wrath. I had watched the video for Believing God week 8, which I will expound on more later, but I have to include this one thing here: Beth said in the video that with most believers, we have a tendency to lose spiritual battles in our mind before we ever begin to fight them spiritually.

In other words, when we say things like "It's not fair" or "it's his/her fault," or we wallow in our own bitterness over a subject, or we beat ourselves up over our mistakes and failures, we are fighting and losing the battle in our minds before we ever actually fight the good fight with the true enemy...we're fighting ourselves more than anything!

That last one, the "beating ourselves up" one, Beth calls it the "how stupid I am!" factor. When we do that, which is what I was tempted to do on the "morning after," is the same as self-loathing.

And then here's where she dropped the bomb: self-loathing is the same as self-worship, because worship is all about focus.

In that still time before the Lord in my repentance and sorrowful countenance, I confessed my sin of self-centeredness to Him, and then told Him that I refuse to worship myself, even in the negative sense of self-loathing.

Well do I believe Him or not? Didn't He die for that sin too? Didn't He throw that self-centeredness into the sea of forgetfulness along with all the others I have yet to commit?

Yes, yes He did. And I refuse to hang onto that anchor anymore beyond giving it to Him.

And I'm glad for this lesson now, at the beginning of a brand new school year, when things start out full of energy and excitement, but can quickly break down into a challenge. I have since written some very applicable Scriptures on some index cards that I am keeping handy so that when I feel overwhelmed by annoyances and irritations, I will listen the very first time I hear that still, small voice whisper, "Wield your Sword, child."

Yes, Lord.

Thank you, Father, for your unending forgiveness and me into obedience for today.


Abiding Branch said...

Very well said sister! I tried to call today to get our "talking in". Or was that yesterday? You know me, who knows! Love you much! Have fun teaching all three!!

Daddy's Chick's said...

Praying that you have a blessed school year :)

Greg C said...

Guess who Chel. I'm back. Anywhoo, we have one in middle school now too and our church room for them is called the loft. He loves it and so do we.

I am getting tested a lot lately. I hope I am passing. :)

Edie said...

Are you spying on me or what!? I am so guilty of these things. The irritability with my granddaughters, wearing my grump, and loudly I might add, the beating myself up.

I usually stop and pray when the going gets tough with the kiddos but lately I've fallen down in that. Guess I need to regroup.

Thanks for the lesson my sweet friend.
Much love to you!

Tracy said...

"How many of you know that when you learn something, or are even reminded of a life lesson, you will be tested on it." - yep happens ALL the time! Frequently I don't pass the test either.

I'm so grateful for His, grace, mercy and forgiveness. Grateful for the opportunity to praise Him.