Maybe I’ve written this before, but I’m writing it again with new words as a reminder to myself and hopefully an encouragement to you.
Stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:11b
How does Satan attack me? Through the little lies that enter my head. Just like Eve in the garden, he puts doubts about God’s character and God’s plan in my head. He makes me doubt what is good around me. I try to maintain a regular devotional and prayer time- he says, “did God ever say you have to read every day? You’re tired, so take a day off.” My boyfriend compliments me, and Satan shoots it down by pointing out all of my flaws. When I face something difficult, Satan convinces me that I have to do it all on my own without God or humans. I have an idea of something to write, and Satan whispers that someone has already written it better. The list goes on with the little lies that Satan puts in my mind.
Paul reminds me to stand firm. The only way to do that is to maintain a strong relationship with God. It means resisting the devil by opening my Bible even when I’m tired. It means catching myself in the mental comparison game and instead thanking God for the beauty and health he’s given me. It means accepting God’s strength and human help when tasks look daunting. It means sharing my thoughts even though they may not be unique.
Mostly standing firm means covering my life with prayer.
One of the benefits of being a teacher is summers off, and it’s not just because it’s a great time to Netflix/book binge and clean my house. The (somewhat) free summer means I actually have time to breathe and reflect upon my teaching, attitude, and goals. That’s what I plan to do this summer with some binging, cleaning, and travelling thrown in for good measure.
Colossians 3:23 says “whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, and not for human masters”. While I agree that times of rest are important, especially for teachers who pour in so many hours and emotional energy for ten months of the year, God makes it very clear that we are to work with our whole heart. He doesn’t instruct me to work for ten months and then forget about my task for two months. Instead, I think he expects me to spend these two months resting and reflecting in order to ensure that I can teach and lead my students better when August comes around.
Practically for me this summer that means reading some teacher books that I never seem to find time to read during the school year, continuing my grad school classes, and spending more time in fellowship with God. That last point is especially important because the school year gets so busy at times that I can easily lose focus on my God-time. I believe the summers are great time to ground myself again in good spiritual habits, sharpen my sword, and shine my armor. My students need someone who is ready to fight spiritual battles with prayer, encourage them when they’re fighting, and speak truth. The only way I can do that effectively is to be sure I am spending daily time with God. If my eyes are fixed on God and I’m working at my task of teaching for Him, the quality of my teaching has to improve because he will lead me to the most effective teacher I can be.
In the next few months, look for posts about how I am relaxing, reflecting, and re-grounding. Yay for summer!