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Back to School… Back to Reality

August 8, 2017

In the whole scheme of life, summer is like a breath of fresh air, an inviting dose of freedom and peace from the chaos of the rest of the year. For students, it means a time of relaxation, a time of fun and free of worry. Yet it seems just when we start to enjoy our time off, summer comes to an end. This ending is always abrupt and uninviting for students who aren’t quite ready to get back to reality. Whoever knows me,knows that I really do enjoy school. That may make me a nerd, but I actually do enjoy the structure and education it provides. Although, this year, to be honest, I’m not quite ready to go back to school when normally I am. I know it isn’t because I suddenly have a different outlook on school but because I am already stressed about the stress that might arrive with the first ring of the King’s Ridge School’s bell. Now, I know it is ridiculous to worry over my future possible worry, but frankly, it is a legitimate concern. I have thoroughly enjoyed this summer and only having to think about things like what friends I am going to hang with or whether I should go to the pool or not, yet when school starts up, it comes with a giant list of responsibilities. For my type-A personality and sometimes over-achiever characteristics, this pending load of responsibility is exciting yet scary when I think about what it means for me. It means sometimes working harder than I’d like or turning down fun opportunities for study time, and that makes me nervous. Although the more I’ve prayed and thought about it, I have learned that these duties are not for me to handle alone. God doesn’t want me to stress over the little things but to handle each day with stride and confidence in His guidance. I truly do love school, and I know in my heart it will be great year if I daily choose to trust in God’s plan for me. Once I see past the seemingly overwhelmingly long list of responsibilities, I can see the gifts that come with it. I see the opportunity to lean into God’s peace even more. I see the opportunity to trust that God will carry me through whatever He has planned for me. This is the same for you. Whatever stress that you might already be facing with the upcoming school year, see that battle as a chance to really hand over your worry to the Lord, maybe for the first time ever. The quicker we learn to lay down our burdens at His feet, the quicker we get to lean into His peace and love. Jesus even tells us to “Come to me [Jesus], all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (New International Version, Matthew 11:28-30). A yoke is the device used to balance the weight between two animals being used to carry heavy weight. This word is used literally and metaphorically in the Bible. For this verse, Jesus is metaphorically using it as a symbol of the invitation He offers us all. He offers a life where He takes our burdens upon Himself. He wants to share in our pain, our stress, our good times, and our bad times. We often get this idea in our mind that if we stick out and endure the pain of this world, then one day we can experience true joy and lack of stress in Heaven, but this thinking is misguided. We DO NOT have to wait until we go to Heaven to experience Jesus’s riches that He offers us. We do not have to wait to choose joy over our pain. We do not have to wait to experience true, Fatherly love. I’ll put it simple; Jesus offers His love, His joy, and His peace to us every single day. He doesn’t tell us in that verse to come to Him when we go to Heaven; He doesn’t tell us to wait for His rest until we go to Heaven. He offers it NOW. He lays it out on the table for us. We are the ones that constantly choose to turn a blind eye to it and focus on our perceived problems of the world when our real problem is how we don’t enjoy our Heavenly riches on Earth. Friends, Jesus openly and freely gives us the gifts He was rewarded with through His death and resurrection. We have never done anything to deserve them, yet always, He gives graciously and out of His vast love for us. Let’s choose His love today over our worry for our problems tomorrow!
With love, C

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