Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The smell of new pencils

Nothing feels like "new" more than the first day of school.  New books, new shoes, a crisp new backpack, a spiral notebook that is shiny and unscathed.  A new school year brings with it new friends and new experiences. A huge blank slate just begging to be filled with colorful exhibits and sketches of so many unknowns.  It is all so scary and exciting at the same time...

As we brought our nervous kids to their new schools today I began to think...why is newness so scary?  Why do we fear the unknown and cling to the comfortable and familiar?
Who is to say that comfortable is better? What is it that we fear....?  I really couldn't come up with an answer.  Is it just something in us that wants to flee from an outcome that is uncharted?

A song comes to mind, by Stephen Curtis Chapman called "Wake Up!" The refrains is :
"I'm playing Gameboy standing in the middle of the Grand Canyon
I'm eating candy sittin' at a gourmet feast
I'm wading in a puddle when I could be swimming in the ocean
Tell me what's the deal with me
(I know the time has come for me to)
Wake up and see the glory"....

Could it be that our comfort keeps us blind to seeing His glory?
I so often identify with this need to "wake up".....but it is just so much easier to wallow in my nearsighted, arms-length comfy-zone. Waking up implies that I would have to pay attention; I might have to break out of my 'zombie-like' going-through-the-motions- activity. Waking up might imply that I would have to live with purposeful intent....(ouch!) And that might actually make me uncomfortable....hmmm....

What am I saying...? Comfort is great...and I especially want my children to settle into routines and get comfortable in their new surroundings....but how do we balance our comfort with not losing awareness of what options are waiting for us just beyond the radius of our comfort zone?

My girls look to me for encouragement as we approach their new schools.....and I find myself explaining (with great conviction) to my daughters exactly what I need to have someone explain to me, which is:  "There is nothing to be afraid of!  You are going to make friends; people will like you; you will do great work;  you are smart; you are fun to be around; you don't really need to be scared..."

Both they and I know that my words are only a little bit helpful....they still have to let go of my hand at the doorway and walk into their classroom alone...and face their fear alone.  I believe herein lies the root of our fear....the idea that we are alone. That we will be forgotten and passed over and left behind as we walk into the unknown.....however, nothing could be further from the truth.

Although I have walked only a short time in the shadow of our savior's strength...I have come to understand that the only thing that cures the "fear" is trusting in the unknown holy prescence of God--that which is not seen--and then walking boldly in the direction of your fear holding His outstreched hand for encouragement and hearing His words...."my sweet child, I am with you, do not be afraid, I will never forsake you, I will never leave you..you are my beloved and I am yours and I will shine through you."

It is my hope that this is the lesson of the first day of school.....for both me and my kiddos.


1 comment:

  1. This is perhaps one of the most inspiring posts I have ever read! It is so important to find comfort in Him especially when we are outside of our comfort zone. This will give us the courage to venture forth without, as you say so beautifully, "losing awareness of what options are waiting for us just beyond the radius of our comfort zone." So very well put. Thank you!

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