Sunday, May 22, 2016

Well, it's been about a year. Time to start blogging again.

I should just let this blog go. I don't seem to be able to maintain it for more than a week. Or maybe a month. It seems like there's always something else to write. 

Lesson plans. Power points. Prompts. Handouts.  

And if I'm not writing for my students, I'm grading their papers.  

And if I'm not writing for my students or grading their papers, I'm trying to maintain healthy relationships with my family, my long-suffering husband Duane, my three adult children.  

And when I'm not doing any of those things, I'm tired, and I just don't want to do anything. I just want to shut down my brain and vegetate. Television is good for that.  

But most of my life is consumed with teaching, which I love.  I think I've always wanted to be a teacher. If tomorrow I won the lottery (which you have to play to win, so there's not much chance of that), I would still want to teach. Just not as much as I teach right now.  

The 2015-2016 school year has been brutal for me.  For a variety of very practical reasons, I took on eight classes for the semester. To give some context, five courses is considered full-time.  Eight classes was tough but doable as I only taught two courses and I was only at two schools. Plus, I believed this was a short-term thing and I would have a rest after the semester and Caitlin's wedding because I anticipated that I would have a very light spring schedule with only five classes.

I didn't think I would be back at SDSU again until fall.  Good news--they invited me back. Bad news--now I had eight classes again. This time I had five courses and I was at three schools. 

Long story short, after four weeks, I realized I was in over my head, and because two of the eight classes were short-term classes, I could give one away. I also made the decision at that time to take the summer off. 

And here I am. With a whole summer to breathe. 

I feel like I've been holding my breath for the last year, racing from here to there, trying to be the best teacher I can be, the best mom I can be, the best wife I can be.  

I haven't had time to be the best me I can be. I've lost touch with most of my friends. I've gained six pounds. I've stopped eating healthily. I haven't been to the dentist.  

In the hustle and bustle and the general busy-ness of trying to work to live and then finding out that I'm living to work, I have lost myself. In order to find myself, I need to look beyond myself because honestly, I'm only the best me I can be when I'm in touch with the one who made me.  

Spiritually, I'm worn out. I'm grateful God is gracious and merciful, but honestly, my heart for is not where I want it to be. I remember the days when I eagerly read God's word, when I memorized verses every week, when I joyfully sang along with worship music throughout the day. I felt God's presence throughout the day.  

I remember those days, and I wonder if they were real. And I wonder, if they were real, are they gone? 

By faith, I know that those days were real, and by faith, I know God is a God of restoration. I've been to the empty place before, and God has restored me.  

And I have a summer to breathe.  

Last summer's restoration process (I told you, I've been here before) included a 90-day Bible reading plan. Actually it took me about five months instead of three to get through the Bible, but I'm not sure the number of days matters at all. This was an amazing time of refreshing, of re-centering my life, not on my own crazy, mixed up story, but on God's story.

It was so great that I decided to go through the Bible again this summer.  

A lot of people say that reading the Bible rapidly doesn't allow for transformative meditation, important life change that can only happen when we focus on distinct words from God and intentionally allow them to seep into our lives. They say that can't happen when we are moving through Scripture rapidly.  

While I agree that it is essential to focus on individual passages and even verses and to apply them to our lives, I believe that the other type of reading also has value.  

When we go through Scripture rapidly, we get a sense of the continuity of God's story. We begin to get a holistic sense of what God is doing that can be missed if we only look at a few words.  

Thus, both types of reading have value, and something is lost if we don't prayerfully engage in both styles of reading. 

At any rate, I pulled out the reading plan in order to start today, I printed a copy, and was just about to start reading Genesis 1-12 and Psalms 1-2 when I remembered that last year, about a third of the way through the Bible, I wished I had been blogging my thoughts in response to the readings. 

And so here I am, creating context for what I hope will be a series of blogs that serve multiple purposes.

  • Reflecting on what God shows me about himself or His story or His story and my life allows me to record and remember these things for the future. 
  • Writing regularly improves my writing and inspires me to do more writing. 
  • Committing to a blog keeps me accountable to write and read. Just in case I think about quitting.  
I don't actually think anyone will read any of this, but I always write for an audience.  In a way, writing is a way of teaching, and my imaginary audience is a group of men and women who, for a variety of reasons, are also worn out trying to be the best they can.  They want a deeper relationship with God, but they're not sure how to go about it. They want something, but they're not sure what it is.  

Maybe I'm just writing for myself. It doesn't matter. 
Okay--off to Genesis.  


Tom Mohan said...

Welcome back! We all need time to breathe now and then.

Nancy Burris said...

I will read it, my friend. Luv you!

joy said...

Your writing to me..always teaching me when I read your writing...I to an worn out and want a deeper relationship with God..also remembering those days you spoke of in my own life...xoxo ...Joy