We started school last week. Usually as the first day of school approaches, I feel a happy sense of anticipation. We normally feel the first cool breath of fall in east TN around this time of year, promising a season full of new beginnings. I always look forward to new subjects, new friends, new schedules, new goals. I can depend on breathing in that first crisp breath and feeling ready to tackle the world… or at least geometry.
This year, however, has been different. The first day of school approached like it always has, and the temperature even cooperated by dropping ever so slightly. We bought all the school supplies and checked off all our lists. But I am missing something. Where is my sense of excitement? Where is my new energy? Where is the inspiration those sharpened pencils usually carry with them?
I blame it on a really enjoyable summer. We had a sweet summer this year, and we didn’t want it to come to an end. We didn’t take any fancy vacations or do anything particularly noteworthy; we just really enjoyed each other as a family this summer. We had something that typically seems to run in short supply at our house… time. Time to read, relax, talk, and just have fun together. None of us want to let it go.
Even so, the first week of school went pretty well, at least on the outside. Lunches were packed, Latin was learned, soccer games were played, pointe shoes were tied… heck, even the house got cleaned. But on the inside, I didn’t do so well. My sweet sense of summer peace vanished. I turned into the I-better-do-it-all-right-because-it-all-depends-on-me version of myself.
When our family is “pushed” in terms of time or money, I often fall into thinking that I have to hold it all together. I have to create family time, I have to balance the budget, I have to make sure everyone has what they need. If I fail to plan well or budget well or spend my time well, then we’ll all…. what? Fall apart?
Last night I decided that I needed to start the second week of school differently. Nobody enjoyed who I was last week, least of all myself. I knew the schedule wasn’t going to change. I knew the budget wasn’t going to change. I came to the bright conclusion that I needed to change.
How? Just like always. Through the gospel. I took a walk and preached the gospel to myself… again. I admitted my sin to God in the twilight of my neighborhood. I am not God, and I’m so sorry for trying to pretend that I am. I breathed in the cool air and reminded myself of the truth. God is God, and he can and will take care of us. Hasn’t he proven that in Jesus? God can and will hold our family together even when time seems too short. God can and will provide for us even when the budget seems too tight. We don’t depend on enough time or enough money or enough me. We depend on him.
So much for the first week of school. How about a new start for the second?