Two Empowering Truths for a New School Year

We are gearing up to start the Fall school semester at our house. These preparations are often accompanied by a mixture of excitement and fear. It is exciting to look at the new books, the clean sheets of paper waiting to become masterpieces, the beautiful charts and schedules that hold promises of peace and order. Then we remember that it rarely turns out that way! That's when the fear (and maybe some discouragement) comes in.

I want to share two empowering truths to cling to as you prepare for a new school year:

1. "There is time to do anything and everything that God wants us to do." Elizabeth Elliot

One of the reasons we become overwhelmed, or do not complete all that we set out to do, is because we put too much on our plates. We have limited resources and abilities and, therefore, we simply cannot do it all! So, how do we decide what to do and what not to do? We ask an important question: What does God want me to do? What does God want our family to do? Pray about this and expect God to give you clarity and wisdom about the choices you make. We may not have time to do everything we want to do, or everything we think we should do, or everything everybody else wants us to do. But we do have time to do everything God wants us to do. He knows what we can do, and more importantly, he knows what he can do through us. This leads us to the next empowering truth to consider:

2 ."God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work." 2 Cor 9:8

Although we have human limitations, God is able to give us everything we need to do the good things he wants us to do. When we endeavor to train and disciple our children, we are taking up a good work. We have the promise of God for everything we need to carry it out. When we face the old, familiar thought,  "I can't do it!" Don't try to argue, just admit it. "Yes, I can't do it. . . . Not on my own. But 'I can do all things through him who strengthens me.' (Phil 4:13)."

A Lost Concept: Respect and Honor to Authority

I am rereading the book Discipline: The Glad Surrender by Elizabeth Elliot. This book contains powerful, timeless biblical principles. She discusses the discipline of body, mind, place, time, possessions, work, and feelings.

When Elliot talks about discipline of place, she is talking about giving others the honor and respect that is due them based on their position in our lives. Our culture teaches us that we don't have to submit to anyone and no one is in charge of us. This line of thinking also appears in the church. Submission to others and to those in authority is a wonderful and powerful truth! Let us not rob our children of this provision and protection from God. Here are some excerpts from Elliot's chapter on The Discipline of Place:

A second reason for confusion in the matter of respect, in addition to that over the definition, is the current notion that everyone deserves tit-for-tat equality. This is one of the excesses of democracy, which ought not to be confused with Christianity. The truth is that not everybody has a right to everything. A child has the right to be taken care of. An adult has not. An adult has the right to vote, get married, be taxed. A child has not. . . . Different kinds of honor and respect are suitable to different people. . . .

Christianity teaches righteousness, not rights. It emphasizes honor, not equality. A Christian’s concern is what is owed to the other, no what is owed to himself. . . .

A sense of place is important for a Christian. We cannot give honor duly—where it is due—without a sense of place. Who is this person, who am I in relation to him? We are people under authority at all times, owing honor and respect to a king or a president, to parents, to master, teacher, husband or boss, to ministers and elders and bishops, and of course always and most important, to Christ.”
— Elizabeth Elliot, Discipline: The Glad Surrender