Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Daily Lessons

Maybe it’s the month of September and its relation to newly sharpened pencils and the musty smell of textbooks, unmarked notebooks and clean new sneakers and backpacks, lunchboxes and notes tucked in for teachers.  Maybe it’s the start of a new school year and a fresh beginning, the eagerness of learning new things. 

Maybe all of these things are the reason why the theme of teaching and learning has come up so much in the time I’m spending with God lately.  After all, the time is right.  It could be that the company that publishes my daily devotional knows what they’re doing. I can see it now: “Put the one about learning in that first week of September!  That’s back to school time!  Christians love that crap!”

Or it could be that God is trying to tell me something. Or teach me something.

That prospect is scary; I’m nothing if not a girl after comfort and routine.  In a crowd, I’m the one glomming onto my friends and acquaintances because I’m so awkward with new people.  I’m the one dreaming about her bed when a night out goes too late.  I’m the one who writes about her love for Monday mornings because of its promise of five full days of routine.  Oh, how I love a good routine.

I like to know what’s coming.  So when I leaf through my journal of notes and read through a new Bible study and the subject of teaching and learning seems to be highlighted and bolded and comes up more frequently than ever before, I get a little nervous.  God is telling me through his word and my own prayers that I am about to be taught something.  And the truth is: that makes me a little uneasy.

I don’t know why.  I’ve never shied away from learning new things in the past.  Plus, I trust that God has my best interests at heart.  But my unease at what God might want to teach me and what that might look like in my solidly-built power schedule and ohmygoodness how will I fit one more thing in? – this makes me feel like maybe I don’t trust God quite as deeply as I profess, and that makes me feel sad.  And then there’s the rabbit hole of feeling that God is sad because I’m feeling sad about not trusting him, that my lack of confidence grieves him, and who am I to distrust God?  Even if he wants to teach me something that turns my life upside down?  The feelings of worthlessness threaten to spiral out of control.

But then I take a breath, slow down, and read.  Read what I prayed last week: “Teach me, God, to trust in your power instead of my own.” A statement that I scribbled as an answer to a question in my Bible study:  “I need to be more deliberate in putting God at the top of my list, not consider ‘time with God’ as something to check off.”

God is clear that he wants me to trust him.  He wants that from all of us.  We have great examples to follow in the Bible, maybe even great examples of people in our own lives.  We have been blessed by God’s lessons; my life in particular has been made richer by what I have learned from him.  Why should today be any different?

Psalm 25 (NIV)

In you, Lord my God,
    I put my trust.

I trust in you;
    do not let me be put to shame,
    nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you
    will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
    who are treacherous without cause.

Show me your ways, Lord,
    teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.
Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
    for they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth
    and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
    for you, Lord, are good.

Good and upright is the Lord;
    therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
He guides the humble in what is right
    and teaches them his way.
All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful
    toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.
For the sake of your name, Lord,
    forgive my iniquity, though it is great.

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