Years ago when my oldest started getting into “real school” and I was adding students both in the phonics-stage and in the pregnancy-stage, I looked at the goals I had written out, I looked at the books I was collecting, and I looked at my pillows (with longing). I realized I was going to have to up my game every year if I was going to keep up – and keep up, I was determined to do.
Ironically, the method by which my capacity has increased has been more about admitting my weakness, incapacity, and faults than about grabbing those bootstraps and pulling with force.
When I resolved to grow my capacity, when I put my stake in the ground and resolved to do what it takes to homeschool well, I thought I would need iron will and grim grit.
Turned out I needed – and got – humility.
True humility is not groveling or self-loathing. True humility notices weakness and sin not to amplify it, pet it, or meditate on it, but to repent of it. True humility is feeling – not only knowing – that you can’t do anything without God’s grace and God’s strength. It’s knowing none of this will turn out at all without His intervention – and that’s not a cop-out, but incentive to continued faithfulness.
The start to our school year – both the summer term in July and the full school load in September – has been more uncertain and more unpredictable and more rocky for a wide variety of reasons. I’ve been feeling inadequate, stretched, and unprepared rather than cool and prepared.
So I turn and thank God for granting me the opportunity for humility. The opportunity to recognize I am weak, I am not able, I am not as prepared as I wanted to be – but my duty is not success, but faithfulness. It’s time to show up to do the work, ready or not. What success looks like is God’s call, not mine, so I can repent of my desire for control of the situation and of other’s responses and repent of my lack of self-control, of my irritability, of my wrong priorities.
Then the rejoicing is possible, because it’s no longer my show, no longer all about me and my preparations and my execution. It’s about God’s faithfulness evident in His gift of faithfulness and self-control. It’s about God working through us because it’s clearly not us.
And that’s a lesson to repeat every day, school day or not.