It’s September, and for teachers and parents, September means back to school. You know, The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.
I’m a parent, and know lots of other parents, and it seems that back to school is what everyone is focused on these days. Despite events happening around the world and in our own country, newsworthy stories about war-torn countries and our involvement, or some starlet’s behavior on an awards show, the undercurrent is all things back to school.
Grade levels. Teachers. Supplies. Clothes shopping. New schools. Old schools.
Moms of young ones talk about their own tears as they watch kindergartners ride the bus for the first time. Parents of older elementary ages and middle schoolers lament that the full swing of after school and evening activities will soon begin and no one is ready for it. Parents of seniors are wondering where the time went as they have finished their children’s college visits for the summer and are onto college applications and the last year of high school. College students are gone already. Thoughts about packed lunches and school meetings and what to make for dinner and the ominous threat of homework and tests come to the forefront of our thoughts as we all find new schedules.
Everyone is changing, growing, preparing for the new.
For me, back to school means a whole new routine. Finding my way through the day that doesn’t include two other people involves a new order, new priorities. I am not very disciplined without a routine. Tasks that I put on myself are numerous and I see them pile up if I don’t give them each their own time, and my reaction is to freeze up and do none of them. To stay focused, I draw up a daily schedule, keep my head down and my nose to the grindstone. I tell myself that life doesn’t stop just because I do. The fear of being smothered by household chores and other tasks is usually enough to keep me going every day. At the end of the day I am successful in keeping the pile from collapsing. But that is no way to live.
My way through life is not fulfilled by having a routine. No matter how I try to order it, something will fall out of place. There has to be flexibility for other things to fit in there, because other things will come up. More important things.
I pray for wisdom these days, wisdom and clarity to know what it is God intends for me, what my role is in his intention. I picture Solomon praying for wisdom, being wise enough to write books on common wisdoms and have them published in a book that millions of us read centuries later for answers, God’s very word. Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived. If Solomon could ask for wisdom and receive it, why can’t I? Wisdom can only help me.
I forget about all of Solomon’s mistakes.
I need to remember that even Solomon, in all his wisdom and success, made mistakes, that even within his organized, flourishing kingdom, his wisdom benefited him only when his focus was on God. When that focus slipped, he was led away from God, and his kingdom suffered. (see 1 Kings 11:3).
Like him, my kingdom – household, relationships, life – will suffer if I don’t apply wisdom to my decisions. But more importantly, I have to have the wisdom to focus on God first. When I look at my mountains of tasks through the filter of God’s wisdom, a new routine doesn’t seem as important. What becomes more important is to please him.
Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours? 1 Kings 3:9 (NLT)
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7 (NIV)