It’s mid-August, and where I live, that means one thing: school has started. I’m married to a teacher and work with college students, so the rhythms of the school year are what I live by. That’s why I would rather make a New Year’s resolution in August than in January, and it’s also why I prefer starting a new planner this time of year. It feels like such a fresh start.
Like most people, I like to begin a new thing with intention and purpose, and the new school year is no exception. Here are my hopes for the next 9 months or so. Maybe these will resonate with you, too.
- I want to remember that ultimately, I’m not in charge. No matter the plans I make, I’m part of a much bigger plan of which the Lord is in control. So, when something doesn’t go like I think it should, I want to calm my anxious heart with the knowledge that maybe He has something else in mind, and that is OK.
- I want to give my best. Acknowledging that there are a lot of things outside my control, I want to be excellent in the ways I know how to be. I want to be present with my college students. I want them to know that I’m in their corner, cheering them on. I will let them down from time to time. Accepting that is also part of giving my best. The same is true in my relationship with the Lord: I want Him to have the best of me at all times, but because I’m human, that’s impossible. What I love to remember is that His love for me does not depend upon my performance: thanks be to God!
- I want to know the Lord better. At the end of this school year, even if nothing goes according to plan, I want to look back and say that I know Him better. If it’s true that He cares more about who I’m becoming than what I do (which I believe), then my main goal for the school year is this: growing in my knowledge of and my love for Jesus. I believe He is worth it, and I believe He loves me whether or not I strive to know Him. But, that fact alone is enough to make me want to know Him more.
May the Lord watch over us this school year; may He increase our desire for Him and decrease our desires for the things that will never satisfy. May we know Him more, and as a result, love others and ourselves with more grace and forgiveness. May we cease striving to earn His affection and the affections of others, and remember that He loves us without reason, just because we’re His.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1, NIV)
Corley Shumaker is the Assistant Campus Minister of the Baptist Collegiate Ministry at Arkansas State University. She has an MDiv. degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Corley is married to Kevin and you’ll find them cheering on Red Wolves football each fall. You can reach her on Twitter at @corleycline