What a Can of Worms I Opened! Give yourself grace!
You see only the tip of the iceberg with blog post comments. The most personal comments come directly to me. And my recent post on setting goals certainly sparked a few emotional ones. My response to most of them was Give yourself grace!
Here are a few of your thoughts about setting personal/homeschooling goals:
I would love to set goals – but the only one I can occasionally manage is getting through the day without losing it with my kids!
My personal goal is to actually do everything in my lesson plan – just once!
How in the world can I do school, make dinner AND keep the house under control? There is certainly no time, let alone energy, for “personal goals.”
–and, my favorite–
A good week is when we all have clean underwear! I am just trying to survive.
Give Yourself Grace!
It is clear that there is a segment of homeschooling moms in need of encouragement and grace.
Ladies, step back and take a deep breath. This season of life is indeed demanding and often seems rather thankless – especially with very young children or when just beginning to homeschool.
And even the most sensitive of husbands often have no idea what it is like to be home all day with children, playing competing roles as mom, teacher, coach, chauffeur and nurse. (plus psychologist, maid… need I go on?)
Neighbors and extended family can be critical, but even if they aren’t – they are often watching to see how our children ‘do’ compared with theirs.*
It’s all about focus…on the right thing.
We’ve been called to do a mighty thing. And it is intimidating and difficult. The enemy would like nothing better to keep us discouraged, tired and focused on our shortcomings.
Sisters, now hear this: the answer is NOT just to try harder. (Or to try to be like someone else who looks like they have it more together.)
It is a matter of focus!
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Eph. 3:14-19 NIV 1984
Love Surpasses Knowledge!
Did you get that?
…and to know [Christ’s] love that surpasses knowledge…
Christ’s love surpasses knowledge.
Get out of your own head. Stop focusing on what you are not able to do.
Now I am going to be bold…
Stop focusing so much on yourself and how you are feeling.
Start focusing on Christ instead.
JESUS LOVES YOU. HE FORGAVE YOU. HE INTERCEDES FOR YOU.
THIS is how He sees you:
JUSTIFICATION = JUST-AS-IF-I-NEVER-SINNED AND JUST-AS-IF-I-ALWAYS-OBEYED
- It’s okay if you don’t do everything on your lesson plans.
- Don’t expect to be able to keep the house as clean as you once did before homeschooling.
- It’s okay if you have to apologize to your kids for losing your temper. Modeling humility sets a good example.
- if you have school in your pajamas sometimes, you take off a day to catch up on laundry, or you eat a lot of left-overs, it’s all okay.
What you can also do…
- Spend a part of every day focused on who God is. Praise is the best antidote for anxiety and depression.
- When you are tempted to start that cyclical, self-critical thinking (2 Cor. 10:5), remember instead that you are loved and it has nothing to do with what you do or don’t accomplish today.
- Meditate on the Ephesians passage above, and realize there is nothing you can do to make yourself lovelier to Him.
- Pray that you would be ‘rooted and established in [His] love.’
- Play Christ-centered music on the radio or Pandora in the background during school, helping everyone within earshot to be encouraged and peaceful.
It’s only from a foundation of belief, of faith in Him rather than in yourself, of ‘being rooted and established in love’, that you will be at peace. Only then can you get out of your own head enough to think about making other positive actions in your life and homeschool.
Setting goals and moving ‘forward’ in areas of difficulty is a great thing – but the foundation has to be there first.
Your Sister in Christ,
*Once when visiting a brother’s family, he took the opportunity while moms were at the grocery to play some kind of Trivial Pursuit for Kids game with our sons (both about nine). Guess he wanted to see how my homeschooled son did compared with his publically schooled son. 😑
Upon returning, my brother declared: “He missed the question about chlorophyll, but he knew that ‘Tock’ was a character in some book called The Phantom Tollbooth. I guess he did okay.”
Note: Some of these concepts are from my notes after listening to author Elyse Kirkpatrick. Additionally, they echo words of Tullian Tchividjian’s Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels, and sermons by Tim Keller, former Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, NYC, NY; and a founder of the Gospel Coalition.