Saturday, May 24, 2014

Teaching from a State of Rest

 Four years of homeschooling and I am burnt out.  I am tired of the planning, the workbooks, the memorized lists, the lack of motivation, the cheerleading to overcome the lack of motivation, the weight of the responsibility, the guilt when I know it hasn't been a great learning day, the comparison to others, the panic of the future, the test score freak-out, and did I mention the planning?  

Why did I let myself fall into this disastrous and hopeless state? I could say that I got caught up in performance - by me, by the kids. Meaning, my eyes focused on the achievement and result. 

Or, that I didn't have enough down time away from the kids to refuel. Meaning, my eyes focused only on my kids. 

Or, maybe that this trip down homeschooling lane has simply out run its course and is over.  Meaning, my eyes were weary from too much strain and carrying the load alone.

I attended the NC Home Educator's conference this week.  There were so many fascinating and engaging speakers during this conference, it was difficult to choose which sessions to attend.  However, one speaker had the title, "Teaching from a State of Rest."  That was an easy decision.  Checked and circled.  And, this is what I heard:

Exodus 3
Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush,“Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.”

What does this possibly have to do with homeschooling from a state of rest?  All I see is Moses working and becoming distracted!

Note the following:
Moses is tending a flock.  Not just any flock, but the flock of his father-in-law.  And, his father-in-law was also the priest of Midian, so most likely the sheep were earmarked for sacrifice.  Obviously, Moses's job was hefty with a load of responsibility.  The entire tribe rested on his ability to keep the sheep safe.  I can imagine the amount of stress Moses must have had from knowing this.  All the success was on his shoulders.

And then, Moses turns away from the flock, doesn't he?  He goes over to look at something else.  Wait!  What?!?!  Moses, you are neglecting your duties, you are not keeping the sheep safe.  You are letting everyone in the tribe down!

Now notice that when the LORD saw Moses had turned to look at Him (the burning bush), God called him.  Why did God decide , at that moment, to call on Moses?  The answer is because Moses had turned his eyes to God.  Who was tending the sheep then?  God.  Who was keeping them safe?  God.  Who was ensuring a level of success for the sheep that was completely acceptable no matter what the level?  God.

My vision has been off.  I have not held the correct purpose of home educating my kids for quite some time.  For at least the past year, if not longer, homeschooling has been about performance, production, and protection.  I put all the weight of achieving my self-created goals on my own effort and strength.  I lost sight of when I have been my most successful at this endeavor and it certainly wasn't this past year.  Sure, I desire to see my kids get into the college of their choice, but is that really up to me? No, it is up to God. And if I am really honest with myself, how their college journey looks is not important to the health of their souls.

If my focus is on God, then He will take care of my sheep.  He will protect them, guide, them and give them the right type of success that will be completely acceptable to them and most importantly, acceptable to God.

By shifting my gaze, I am no longer be operating from a state of anxiety and abstractness.  By shifting my gaze, I replace statistics and performance with wisdom.  I replace rules and expectations with virtue.  And, I replace control with faith.   

I will focus on training these three souls in my care that they may discover and perceive God's truth because the very well-being of their souls depends on it.  I will do that by having my eyes fixed firmly on God and thus, showing them Jesus.  Lord, forgive me for straying from you and taking this burden on my own shoulders.

Note:  A thank you to Andrew Kern, author of The Lost Tools of Writing, and founder of the Circe Institute for inspiring these thoughts.


Renee said...

Thank you for sharing what you learned. I can relate completely and needed to read/learn that it isn't letting our family down by focusing on God, and that when I do, God looks after the responsibilities that I have.

Renee said...

Thank you for sharing what you learned. I can relate completely and needed to read/learn that it isn't letting our family down by focusing on God, and that when I do, God looks after the responsibilities that I have.

Chris Abbott said...


You have a gift with words. Thanks for sharing. I wasn’t able to attend the conference so I liked hearing about it via your blog. I think there are a lot of homeschool families including myself that needed to hear all of that!! We need periodic reminders like that for us to keep our focus on the things that really matter. Thank you!