Looking Unto Jesus…

Today is the first day of our school year.

I always have a mixed bag of emotions on the first day of school. I usually am a little relieved to be getting back into a school routine.

By the end of summer, our self-discipline is a little lacking. My family in the summer is a perfect example of the law of entropy. We start out okay, but as the weeks go on, we start staying up too late, eating more junk food than we should, spending too much time on the screens, and getting out of our regular chore routine. This means that momma spends more time screeching than she should, doing more than her fair share of the chores, and feeling like junk. Getting back to school means that we will get adequate amounts of sleep, have better routines, and better discipline.

However, I also feel a sense of being overwhelmed. Every year we tackle a huge amount of work and on the first day of school, we have NINE WHOLE MONTHS before we can take a long break. I really don’t want to get back to work because I’m such a lazy hot mess.

Since today is my family’s first day of school, I am in serious need of encouragement. The best place for me to find this uplifting is in the pages of scripture.

Hebrews 12:1-2 is the perfect place to begin.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Let’s look at homeschooling from the perspective of running a race.

Lay Aside Our Weights and Sins

First, we are told when we are running a race that we must lay aside every weight and sin that can cling to us.

What weights are holding you back from running your homeschooling race effectively? Since the word “weight” is separated from the word “sin,”  what could this verse mean when it refers to weights?

I believe that weights are things in our lives that are not necessarily sins, but they are unnecessary things that are holding us back. In my life, a weight might be my habit of over-committing myself to things outside of the house. While it isn’t wrong to volunteer for extra activities, if they hamper my ability to serve my family, perhaps I should hold off until a better time in my life.

What weights are holding you back? Perhaps you and I both should examine our lives for unnecessary commitments, feelings, and habits that may be keeping me from doing as well as I might be.

Next, I need to examine myself for sin that is keeping me from running the race that God has set before me. Sins like laziness, anger, discontent, and pride keep me from being all that I need to be in my walk. I need to set these aside and repent of them, sometimes on an hourly basis.

Run With Endurance

I’ve homeschooled long enough to know that there are going to be some difficult days in our school year. In fact, there will be some weeks and even months are are just downright crappy. February is the most awful month for homeschooling because Christmas was eons ago and spring feels like it will never arrive. We’re usually stuck indoors too much and often shut up due to snow and ice.

My Bible tells me that I must run with endurance. This means that even when things get difficult, I must continue one in the race that He has for me.  I can’t quit just because things get hard.

Looking Unto Jesus

This is my favorite phrase in this verse. I am supposed to keep my eyes on Jesus and Jesus alone.

When I start looking at others, I start feeling inadequate, insecure, and discontent. I wonder why my homeschool doesn’t look like theirs. I wonder why my children are not as helpful as theirs and why my house is so much messier than theirs.

When I start looking at myself, I begin to feel like a failure. I wonder if my kids wouldn’t be better off in school rather than stuck at home with their Hot Mess Momma. I feel frustrated that I can’t do better. I feel discontent with my abilities and my calling in life.

However, those rotten feelings disappear when I  fix my eyes on Jesus alone.

When I was in first grade, I had a teacher that I absolutely loved. I remember that, when she wanted the class’s complete attention, she would tell us to put our pencils down, fold our hands on our desk tops, and look straight at the board. She had something important to share with us, and knew that she needed our full attention. She knew that we would miss crucial information if we were doodling, watching the other kids, or flipping through our textbooks.

Jesus is the same. He has important things for us. However, if I am looking at myself, my friends, or something else, I will miss out on these incredible opportunities. At the same time, my distraction doesn’t improve my attitude. No, it simply brings out all of those icky feelings of failure and worthlessness.

For me to be effective in my ministry to my family, I must fix my eyes upon Jesus alone.

This is where I need to start out my school year.

Not feeling discontent, overwhelmed, and inadequate.

But simply resting on Jesus to provide what I need when I need it.

I’ll close with the words from a wonderful hymn that I really need to apply to my life today and every day this school year.

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are!
His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

 

 

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