Dr. Jackie Minor
A couple of weeks ago, our oldest daughter sent us a video of our granddaughter, Harper, jumping off the diving board for the first time! You could see the angst in her face as the words of her patient swim teacher coaxed her to the edge of the board. She wavered, wanting to jump but simultaneously shaking her head as she glanced down at the water below. It took a little while, but eventually her trust in the instructor and her desire to please those around her outweighed her fear. Cheers and celebration followed as she emerged grinning, eyes still closed! Taking the first jump is always the hardest, but pretty soon it won’t be scary anymore.
When you think about it, starting a new school year can sometimes feel like jumping off a diving board for the first time! Each year brings some familiarity, but there are always so many potential unknowns—new students, new leadership, new colleagues, new curriculum, and new challenges. The waters can be pretty deep!
Yet, here we are. It’s August, and we are standing at the edge of the board mustering up the courage to just jump in! Unlike Harper, however, most of us don’t have a choice!
I want to encourage you! We CAN jump into this new school year with great courage and confidence! I love the translation of this verse in The Message.
Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote, “God is there, ready to help; I’m fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6
Don’t you just love the phrase, “I’m fearless no matter what”? We don’t have to have any trepidation when it comes to starting a new year! Here are a couple of reminders.
God is in charge of filling your pool!
All of your unknowns are known to Him. He knows the students He is placing in your classrooms this year. He knows the parents you will contact, the colleagues you will encourage, and the leaders you will follow. God knows it all, and we can trust that He has a plan to use us to draw others to Him. We must trust Him and His Word!
”For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken. Psalm 33:11
God has uniquely and purposefully placed each of us in our own “pool.” Let’s not stand at the edge of the board and waver. Jump in, my friends, and join the pool party! There is much in store for those who trust and believe.
And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. I John 5:5
God is always in the pool ready to catch us!
Sometimes God asks us to take risks. He asks us to step out in faith and trust Him. It can be scary, but I am convinced the more we step out in faith, the more we see God at work! If Harper had never jumped off the diving board, her instructor would not have had the opportunity to catch her. As a result, Harper would remain fearful, thinking she couldn’t do it!
Our faith doesn’t grow by playing it safe. Our faith grows when we let God do what only He can do. The more we jump, the more God shows up, and the more confident we become! You will have challenges this year. God will provide many opportunities for you to trust Him. Stay alert, stay focused, and be aware as the Holy Spirit whispers to your heart.
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. John 14:16-17a
Ultimately, as Christian educators we are called to let the light and love of Jesus shine so that others will come to know Him. We have a unique opportunity to pour into the lives of so many who need love, hope, joy, and peace. Jesus is the only answer. When we are faithful to join God in His work, others will come to know Him, and there will be cheers and celebration!
In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! Luke 15:7