Saturday, August 22, 2009

Standing on the edge and looking down

I have a bad case of HDBS (High Diving Board Syndrome). I remember the symptoms from my former kindergartners. They wanted, very much, to go to kindergarten. They shopped with their mothers for school supplies, bravely endured booster shots and were excited to see me at home visit time. But, when they showed up at the kindergarten door, they just couldn't make themselves dive in.

I am prepared and ready for the semester to start. I am looking forward to my classes and getting ready to teach 80 students. I know it will be a good semester, in that, it will be interesting and challenging. I assume I will learn many things, both from my teachers, as well as my students.

But, the tightness in my stomach says I am looking off the edge of the diving board and I don't want to dive in.

The "what ifs" are lurking near, too. What if I can't keep up with my homework load? What if my students don't like me? What if I forget where I am and put one of them in the "calming down chair?" What if I can't . . .what if this doesn't. . . .what if, what if, what if? I can only handle so much uncertainty.

Hope is not an "if." Hope is an assurance. I can jump off of this diving board and know that I will hit the water. Maybe I will glide in smoothly and come up for air, exhilarated by the dive. Or, maybe I will belly flop. I don't know what will happen between the board and the water but I know God is encouraging me. I know God will catch me. No matter what happens, God will bring good out of the events of the semester.

Confidence is a tricky thing; too much and you do not adequately prepare; too little and you run from the challenge or handicap your own efforts. My faith teaches me to have no confidence and to have every confidence. I know that the old Adam in me will mess this up. I will forget details, say something I shouldn't, teach something wrong. I have confidence that I do NOT have the abilities to pull this off on my own. The new creature in me knows that with God, everything is possible; everything is good.

With hope and faith, the water doesn't look so far away from the edge of the diving board.

But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.

May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. II Thessalonians 2: 13-17

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