Summer is a great time to refocus and refresh. We can look back on the prior year’s educational journey and reflect on the positives and negatives that came from our experiences. We can wonder if we “won” with those students. Did we teach them enough? Did we grow them enough? Did we love them enough?
One thing I love about education is that every year is a new year. A blank slate. A fresh start. There are not many other occupations where you get to start over year after year. How do we create a winning mindset for the new year? What do we really need to focus on as Christian educators to “win” the new year?
Know you have a purpose and live it out.
“Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?” 1 Corinthians 12:14-17
This passage describes how the human body has many parts, but each part has a special function to make the body work. Each of us has a purpose. Each of us has a specific calling that God has placed on our lives. We all want to be the flashy parts, but someone must be the big toe! Find out what your purpose is in education and live that out.
My purpose is to inspire and empower others to fulfill their God-given purpose with excellence. When I am concerned that I am “losing” in my current job, I spend time analyzing if I am living out my purpose. We work in education for different purposes. Each of us must find out why God called us into education and live out our purpose.
Place your weights aside.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1
Back in my day, athletes would wear ankle weights as they did day-to-day activities. The hope was that doing so would strengthen their legs and increase their vertical leaping ability or speed. However, none of those athletes wore those weights during the games.
What weights slow you down in your life? Selfishness, self-doubt, not taking care of yourself, sin, worrying about others? Do you suffer from comparing yourself to other teachers or administrators? Do you become stifled or paralyzed because you aren’t teaching or instructing like the teacher down the hall? We will never run the race God has set out for us if we are weighted down. We must throw those weights aside if we want to run the race with excellence.
Have tunnel vision.
“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
We run the race by keeping our eyes on Jesus. We have to drown out the noise. We need to stop with the comparisons. We must stop measuring ourselves in light of those around us or in light of a fake life we see on social media. Do we look more like Jesus today than we did yesterday? Our focus should be on Him alone. When we have tunnel vision, then we begin to focus on what truly matters and drown out the distractions around us.
As you spend some time over the summer preparing for next year, take some time to really develop a winning mindset. With a new set of students each year and a new opportunity to make a difference, make it count! Determine your purpose in education and live it out! Be committed to placing those weights aside and living out your faith! Keep your eyes on Jesus and nothing else!
Have a great year!