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Back to school arrived last week, for me.

The first week back, after summer vacation, is always a difficult week at work for me, for a few reasons.

One is that summer is over (it really does not matter what the weather is, or what the calendar says about the end of summer being a month later, summer ends when school begins, period).

Secondly I work in a school … with students, and before Labor Day weekend, there are no students at school. Work without students is … boring!

Another reason is that, in my line of work, every year can mean a completely new assignment, with completely different students, in completely different classes and grades, working with completely different teachers. Everything, and I mean everything that I was confident in just two months ago is gone, and is replaced by something new.

And, finally, people ask how I feel about being back, and well, considering the above mentioned reasons for the first week being difficult, that is an answer that I really do not want to give … because it makes me sound terribly negative, and feel terribly depressed.

Once I get to work, on this first day back, I am (along with my colleges) given our schedules, with the reminder that we should not write down anything, except in pencil (things can still change for the first couple of weeks of school). It is then that full panic mode begins.

For the past few years when I receive that initial schedule for the year, I really start to feel panicky because I feel as though I am so inadequate to do the job that has been handed to me. And then, from that moment until the first day of school, I get increasingly panicked.

I often consider resigning, saying no, running away. Anything that will allow me to put distance between my job assignment and me. At this point, I am convinced those little butterflies in my stomach have changed into buzzards, and they have come home to roost inside of my innards.

As I was driving to school the final day of the week I was drawn in by the lyrics of a song that was playing on the radio …

“A thousand times I’ve failed
Still your mercy remains
And should I stumble again
Still I’m caught in your grace”
Oh man, how did God know that it was fear of my own failure that was making me anxious?
“Your will above all else,
my purpose remains

The art of losing myself
in bringing you praise”
Oh ya! This job, this life, it’s not about me, it is about me decreasing so that He would increase.
“My heart and my soul, I give You control
Consume me from the inside out Lord
Let justice and praise, become my embrace
To love You from the inside out”
Oh, how I needed embrace right then. And He met me where I was was at, and the reminder that in giving Him control, justice and praise would fill me from the inside out.
“Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame
And the cry of my heart is to bring You praise
From the inside out, O my soul cries out.”
I get it. I remember now. I will praise You, from the inside out, and leave the anxious, fearful thoughts of my job assignment to You, because You are everlasting and faithful to me.
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I remember the day I wanted to run away. The temptation was so great, I was almost certain that I should just do it. Everything within me wanted to run. It had seemed as though nothing was going right, and I saw no other way out. The horizon looked to be so appealing to me, and I so wanted to turn around and head that way. I had nothing packed, but really didn’t care, I was ready to go.

That was just the other day.

I had just bought groceries, and was heading home. It had been a beautiful warm spring afternoon. The sun was setting, and the air was clean with the fragrance of spring. There was something in the sky, in the air, that just made me want to turn my vehicle around and drive from the direction of my home.

It is not that I was particularly frustrated with my life. I love my family. I enjoy my job. I have good friends, and a good life. It was more a matter of seeking adventure, of seeking something new, of seeking …

I think my inclination to run away is not something that only I have experienced. I have a feeling that we all have days (weeks, months, even years) when we simply feel that our life is missing something, that we are missing something.

Some give in to the temptation to seek. We see that in the person who is regularly changing jobs, changing cars, changing houses, changing spouses. We see their frustration with the status quo, then we see them make a change. They are in a state of delight and excitement. Then, the novelty of the new ‘toy’ starts to wear off, and, gradually, they are back in a new state of status quo … and it usually does not look too different from the original one.

So, if new changes and adventures and people do not end our seeking, then they are not what we are really seeking.

What we seek does not get found in leaving the life we have. What we seek is not available to us here and now. What we seek is beyond, not just the front door of our homes, but beyond our earthly life. We seek and strive for the Eden existence we were created for.

This life we live is not what we were created for. We were created to spend our lives walking in the garden with our Creator.

There will still be days when we just want to run away, because we do live in a flawed world, full of struggles. But we need to keep in mind that there is a place awaiting us, and one day we will be be taken there, by the one who is already preparing a place for us.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You believe in God; believe also in me.
My Father’s house has many rooms;
if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
You know the way to the place where I am going.”
John 14:1-4

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