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Sunday, March 2, 2008

Guarding Our Thoughts

For the homeschooling mom, there’s a gnawing temptation to feel overwhelmed. I’ve wanted to address this issue for some time because I know how it feels. Thankfully, I discovered a way to protect myself from this emotion while in the throws of homeschooling.

I remember walking through my house and becoming easily overwhelmed during those years. One day I passed by a tremendously messy closet filled with books. On the floor, I spied a stack of standardized practice tests I had never given to my children. In an instant, the emotion of being overwhelmed washed over me like a dark presence entering my entire body. I normally would have received that emotion and walked in it with whisperings of despair clouding my day. But right at that moment, I turned away from it. I basically resisted the temptation and literally turned my face away from the reminder of my inability to "do it all." I turned my thoughts away from the lie that I wasn’t succeeding at homeschooling.

Over the weeks that followed, the temptation continued to arise. When I saw the kids’ Latin book lying upside down on a broken shelf in the hallway, both the untouched book and the broken shelf screamed their insults at me. But I turned away from the negative thoughts that were spewing through my mind. No, I didn't give my kids standardized practice tests, and we failed to use that Latin book. But that didn’t make me feel like a failure. I decided I would not let undone projects, plans, or curriculum rob me of my peace. Neither should you.

We homeschool moms are big planners and big dreamers. And that's a good thing—as long as we don't get down on ourselves for not doing all we planned or not reaching all our dreams. Planning and dreaming are important. They cause us to move forward, closer to our goals. But it's so important to guard our thoughts from the accusations that we are not measuring up because we haven’t accomplished domestic success or perfection in our homeschooling.

We need to believe that God is truly God over our lives, our children, and our homeschool. Perhaps it was not His perfect will that I make my children work through those practice tests. Perhaps He didn’t want us to study Latin that year. As His precious children, He has promised to lead us and guide us. Believe you are in the center of His will and are being led by Him, even when you don't fulfill your big ideas and grandiose plans. You can rest in Him, trusting that you’re on the right track—even when you don't feel like it. We’re not supposed to lean on our own understanding anyway.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5

If I were to lean on my own understanding, I would certainly think I should be doing much more, accomplishing much more, reaching all my dreams, and fulfilling all my aspirations. While God is interested in giving us rest—we’re more interested in being supermom, creating superkids, and being a family of superheroes. Yet He came so that we could enter into His rest. Rest for our souls.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29

So next time you walk by that enormously cluttered and disorganized closet with hundreds of great homeschool products you haven’t had time to use, quote the Scripture above, breathe a sigh of relief, and allow Him to bring rest to your soul.