Today’s Worship Walk – Monday

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May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.”

Psalm 90:17

 

Every morning that I substitute teach, I lift up a prayer for God’s favor on me to do the job well. And this week, He answered me in a big way. With a school evacuation due to a gas leak and other unexpected situations with kids, I needed an extra measure of wisdom, flexibility and compassion. Looking back over the last few days, I see that His favor hasn’t been about making my days easier, but about making me more of a light for Him when challenges arise. I’ll take it!

Friday’s Worship Walk

 

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Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”

Romans 12:19

 

In my work as a substitute teacher, I sometimes end up in Kindergarten rooms. Lots of things about that age group are fun, but all the tattling between students about poking, pushing, or unkind words can drive me crazy! It occurred to me today, though, that in their own way each of those kids are looking for justice for some perceived wrong that was done to them. And I realized that when I feel wronged, I can end up behaving the same way as my young friends. But I’ve found that seeking my own vengence, either by confrontation or complaining, never really satisfies – it can actually do more damage. Thankfully, God is willing to hear about all my hurts and to stand up for me. His justice will bring much better results than mine ever could.

Question To Ponder:  What’s your response when you’ve been wronged? Do you try to get justice for yourself, or do you trust God to take care of it for you?

Today’s Worship Walk

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Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16

I just finished a day of substitute teaching. I like the job a lot of the time, but some days are just plain stressful. That can be said about most kinds of work, for sure. When I first started, I’d try to recover from a difficult day by complaining, sometimes after eating a few cookies first! But God has been reminding me that what I truly need isn’t momentary relief, but a calm, peaceful spirit as I go through my day. Only He can provide for that need, and He’s promised to show me how to walk in peace, no matter easy or tough an assignment might be.

 

 

God desires our worship. But what does that mean?

41kAt+enL0L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_My book, “Bow Down: The Heart of a True Worshipper” and ebook, “Worshipping Like David” offer practical teaching and activities to help you grow in this area!

 

 

 

Expect The Unexpected

I heard the conductor of our local orchestra use this phrase to promote an upcoming season: Expect the Unexpected. He was talking about concert pieces, of course. But I‘ve taken it to heart in terms of substitute teaching, and really, my overall mindset.

Flexibility is definitely one of the skills I’ve had to learn as a sub. And that trait is not part of my natural gift mix. I like being able to prepare in advance for an upcoming situation – that gives me a sense of confidence that I can handle whatever happens.

Luckily, my first couple of assignments matched up pretty well to what I imagined. But then I ventured into doing PPT days. A PPT is basically a teacher/parent meeting during the school day that lasts between 20 minutes and an hour. What that means for me is that I travel from room, going in “cold”. I have no idea of what activity or subject the class might be doing when I walk in. As you can imagine, I found that set-up nerve wracking at first. Every time I approached a new door my anxiety would spike.

The thing that finally helped my stress levels was to embrace the not knowing. Because the truth is that no matter how much prep I do, I can’t predict what will happen once I step into a school. I’m truly at their disposal. The only real way for me to get ready is to decide to stay focused on the present moment. Then I can respond effectively to any concern or need.

Sounds like a metaphor for life, doesn’t it? I sure think so. And the lesson has been as challenging to learn in my daily life as it’s been in subbing. Being a list maker and a planner, I can find my security in organization if I’m not careful. But that kind of security is fleeting.

Proverbs 3:26 says, “For the Lord shall be your confidence, and shall keep your foot from  being taken.” What a great reminder for me of what to lean on and where my security lies. I have no control, but God does. I don’t know what will happen once  any given day, but He’s already seen and prepared for everything.

So I’ll expect the unexpected from life. But I can expect God to walk with me through it all.

 

Subbing

I work as a substitute teacher in a couple of area school districts. This is actually the second time around. I tried it about 20 years ago, when I was much younger and very clueless – needless to say it didn’t go well.

In the decades between then and last year I worked as a preschool teacher and raised two kids. Both those experiences made me better at interacting with children and using what my kids call the “mom” scowl. (Don’t underestimate the disciplinary power of a good scowl!)

As I did those first early assignments, my attitude wasn’t right. I had been trying to prove my worth by, among other things, what job I had. Substitute teaching felt like the bottom rung of the ladder, and I was a bit ashamed to be doing it. And I lacked the humility to learn from my mistakes and misjudgments. I was miserable every day, and I’m sure the students could tell.

Luckily, by the time I decided to try again last year, God had taught me a few things. There were two especially faulty beliefs I had been holding on to.

  • I was trying to impress everybody, especially myself, by what I did
  • I was expecting perfection in every area of my life

Do either of those sound familiar to you? If they do, you know how exhausting they are to lug around all the time. And you know how they keep you feeling bad about yourself.

So how did God start breaking me free and getting me ready to sub again? For starters, He changed my focus. In my old mindset, I was very me-centered: How do I look? Am I good enough? Compare that with fixing my gaze on God, and seeing His majesty, feeling His acceptance.

Then, He helped me grow in humbleness. I thought turning up the pressure to perform would motivate me to stop making mistakes. But the only thing that did in the end was make me more anxious and discouraged. God wanted to show me grace and grow me in wisdom instead, but I had to drop the illusion of becoming perfect.

As I drove into school this morning, I prayed for God’s help to be a servant to the teachers and children, and for His Holy Spirit to be in the classrooms. And as I looked over the teacher’s plans for me, I reminded myself that doing my best was enough.

It was a good day.