Sunday, September 8, 2013

For when you can't throw God a parade

Sunday night is a fragile space of time.

My planner wide open, my lesson plans spread, my internship binder created, my eyes bulging. How is all of this going to fit into five tiny school days? And how will I do it all before it's time to come home and make dinner for a hungry, studious husband?

I know I'm not the only one with a bundle of responsibilities and a package of worries. You're just as busy as the rest of us. It's just that I'm beginning to notice, with every early morning run and jam-packed school day and late night sewing spree, how easy it has been to place my priorities on everything except what truly matters.

I love my job. Love my job. I love serving my husband. I love spending time fulfilling my resolution for 2013 of creating and enjoying beauty through my newest pursuit to sew and sell scarves. And I love training for another half-marathon! All of these things feel so natural to me; I am finally beginning to find and enjoy the things that He has uniquely created me to be. But at what point do those beautiful and enjoyable things become an idol that wars over my soul??

I never wanted to be a career woman, but learning more about being a teacher pulls my heart and affections closer to my classroom and my students day by day. I want to help these struggling students change and feel successful. I want to love on them and make them feel special, all while becoming the best teacher I can be. I want to spend hours poring over my lessons, making them work so that I can pack the biggest punch possible in each of those 30-minute sessions. I want to be effective. And if you have any doubts about how much hard work goes into being an effective and loving teacher, read this and doubt no more.

Between the lessons and the long runs and the dirty dishes galore, I hardly have time to even think about when I will have time to spend some time with Jesus. I remember at the end of the day, as my eyes are quickly drooping, that I need to spend some quality time with Him tomorrow. As the dismissal bell rings and my heart rate begins to slow back to its normal pace, I ask myself what in the world it was that I learned from my quiet time that morning that I so desperately needed to remember throughout the day. My mind moves at a hundred miles per minute from 7-3:30, so how am I supposed to remember to intentionally love my neighbor and constantly be in prayer with the Lord??

I have dwelt on the wise words of Jerry Bridges for at least 2 weeks, and it has encouraged my heart so much as I ask questions such as these.
"Even the most dull and tedious days of our lives are ordained by God and ought to be used by us to glorify Him."
His glory is found in the smallest moments.

The tedious moments of our lives-- those when I just want to snap or cry or run away from all my responsibilities-- those moments are ordained by God.

A kind word shared before the morning bell rings, a prayer of thankfulness for patience with a student, a cry for grace when kind words are not shared: His glory is found in those moments.

I'm so thankful that God's glorification does not require a giant parade with streamers and confetti, because I just don't have time for that. What I do have time for, though, is what I'm already doing-- and when His glory is made a priority in my everyday doings, those things that once stood as idols quickly refine themselves into something with much greater purpose.

I'm all for living what I love with a purpose much greater than my own... and it's beautifully freeing.

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