Many public and private schools across Nebraska are starting again today or tomorrow. I like all of the back to school sales and the excitement of a new year. But, with homeschooling, our days fluctuate a bit more, and we never completely stop school, so that first day is not quite as significant (although we do celebrate a “last day” every May – guess we need a bit of closure). But as a former classroom teacher , I remember the exhilaration that came from having new students and a new start.
One phrase I remember saying often, “Please line up at the door.” While I did truly enjoy teaching, those moments when my students left our room to go to other places (such as music or p.e.) were usually a welcome break. And as far I as I know, I never had a student reluctant to leave – they were possibly ready for a break from their teacher 🙂 and usually ready for a change of pace. I wish I could stay the same about me.
I am not the best at moving on. I like to be settled, and I like life to stay the same. Our big green couch is the perfect example of this.
As you can see from the picture, the sofa still looks wonderful – plush and cushy. But unfortunately the springs are now loose. Too many kids jumping on it or simply the passage of time? Not really sure, but anytime you sit or move on the thing, it squeaks in protest. And feels rather lumpy and broken down. My husband would like to move the couch to the curb. I want the couch restored as the furniture repair guy says that it is worth fixing (of course, he would make money on the deal, so …) Up until now, we have done nothing. I just know that if it moves out, we cannot get it back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
I realize this comparison of my sofa with my students leaving the classroom is slightly weak. After all, they did always return after a time away. That is until the last day of school when their last lining up found them leaving my classroom for good. Even though I think I was a good teacher, none of them ever begged to stay in fifth grade for one more year. And that is the way that it is supposed to be – life is a system of hellos and goodbyes.
Sometimes when God takes us out one door, we can see the obvious blessings. While I greatly enjoyed high school and especially college, I am certainly fine with being done and having graduated. Closing the door recently to my MOPS (Mother of Preschoolers) group has been sad, but yet God has made it clear to me that He has ideas for other directions for me to go. Often new opportunities would not happen if we are unwilling to move beyond the past. (Pretty sure that my husband would not have married me had I insisted that I wanted to stay a junior underclassman forever!)
At the same time, certain situations God calls us to stay no matter what. To settle in. I chose forever with my husband, so pursuing other options should never happen. Living out ’til death do us part” will continue to be my reality. One that I embrace with joy.
And we feel the same way about our church. God has called us to minister to and alongside these people. And even if that is uncomfortable or hard at times, He has called us to stay. Not that God does not move people on to new churches, because He does. After all, when our previous church was 45 minutes from our new home, we knew that distance was not practical, so we found a new place to worship. But for the most part, I feel that hopping is for bunnies, not for church locations.
There are probably other situations where God can call us to stay. Sometimes a job, even if we do not always like our employer. And some friendships should last. But I also know that the reality is that God does sometimes have us move away from relationships too. Possibly the relationship is toxic and causes us to make wrong turns. Or maybe we are no longer in the same circles. Walking away from what used to be can be hard. But we cannot hold on to every person that God crosses our path – that would take an awful lot of maintenance. Relegating someone with whom you were once close to just a Facebook friend is acceptable at times.
About one thought I am certain – God does want us to line up and walk away from certain attitudes. He wants us to walk out the door of resentment, leaving bitterness and unforgiveness behind. He wants us to walk away from places that continue to cause us to stumble into sin. Staying away from those rooms will always be beneficial. He wants to make us into new creations in Christ and that can only happen when we leave the baggage behind us in rooms that we never plan to revisit. While the places that God leads us from or even leads us to may not always be our first choice, eventually He usually makes it clear why we needed to leave that behind and why goes forward was actually a blessing . Just as my students willingly followed me to their next destination, we can always trust our Line Leader to move us to where we really need to be.