This week is Gospel Emphasis Week at school, and I’ll be honest, I wasn’t all that excited for it. I have been feeling weary lately. Worn out from being stretched as a teacher, worn out from being stretched growing a baby (literally.), worn out from being at the intersection of big decisions and anticipation for a very new and real season that we are about to enter. All good things, but they have been leaving me feeling a bit drained and empty. So honestly, I was not responding well to the thought of the upcoming Gospel Emphasis Week. I was feeling overwhelmed and selfish and bitter. I did not want to have to rearrange my daily schedule, I did not want to have to put together a skit (not my strong suit), I did not want to have to come up with meaningful, insightful, thought-provoking activities for each day of the week that would challenge my students to encounter God in a way that they had not before.
Notice how much of those last few sentences focused on ME? That was my problem.
I have been extremely humbled this week, and it’s only Wednesday. God has used this week already to change MY heart. I was so focused on how I was going to craft the perfect week with perfect opportunities for God to move, that I was forgetting to actually just let God move.
And then Holy Spirit whispered in my ear, and humbled me. As he always does. He reminded me; this is not about you. It’s not about what you can do, or what you can not do. It is not about how weary you feel, how overwhelmed you feel. This is completely about me. He reminded me that my striving will get me nowhere, and that all of my efforts and my best-laid plans would be in vain if I was not surrendering them to Him and covering them in prayer. Nothing that I can put together or orchestrate will change a child’s heart. That is all HIM. And hallelujah that it is all HIM!
And I was struck by the beauty of the Gospel anew. This week has been humbling, but also incredibly life-giving for ME. God has been speaking to my heart; whispering the truths of His Gospel fresh in my soul, and it has given me joy unspeakable. I still feel tired, I still feel a bit weary; but I have been reminded of the peace that surpasses all understanding. I have been reminded of the GLORIOUS grace that is bestowed upon me, that releases me from the burden of doing. I have been reminded of the precious souls of the students of my class, and I have been released from the pressure of creating a perfect intersection of their hearts and the Gospel, and have been free to just pray for them and encourage them and do all that I can to convey the amazing truth of the Gospel. And we have had some really sweet times together this week. Times of reflection and worship and discussion about who Jesus is, and why He matters. About why His death is significant, but more than that–about why His LIFE is significant. I have been able to loosen up, and allow the Spirit to move in my classroom, and it has been inspiring.
We still have two more days of Gospel Emphasis Week, and I am asking you to join me in covering those two days in prayer. Pray with me that hearts would be softened, and that those students who do not yet know, who do not yet grasp the glorious Gospel of Christ, would hear. That they would hear and respond. Pray with me that I would continue to be an instrument, and would not strive to be the one leading. Pray that I would be humbled, and surrendered to the Spirit and that He would move among my classroom and the school. And we need to pray that each day we would be radically moved and overwhelmed by the truth of the Gospel in our lives. It changes each and every moment of our day; and I think that I have gone far too long not operating out of that truth. I have allowed it to become commonplace in my life; when it should be anything but common.
I will be praying for each one of you as well, that God would break through our walls and our routines and our striving, and remind us that it is really all about Him.
At Bible Study tonight we sang this song, and the lyrics really resonated with what I have been learning this week; here is the chorus:
I will rise, I will rise
As Christ was raised to life.
Now in Him, now in Him