Reset, refocus, reboot — no matter what you call it, the start of a new school year provides the perfect time for all of us to regroup.
Even without a member of the faculty, staff or student body in our home, we all can take advantage of the preparation and energy from those around us who do.
Churches also time their shifts in age-graded Sunday School and small group classes with the start of school, and some even use an August-to-July fiscal year.
And, of course, with the start of school comes a growing anticipation for the kickoff to football season as well as the yearning for a slight dip in the summer heat.
While I’m still a fan of the top of the new calendar year as an official refresh moment, a couple of mini checkpoints throughout the year can keep us from sliding too far from our goals and responsibilities.
Keeping with the school theme, consider taking a few minutes to peek inside the figurative backpack you sling over your shoulder each morning.
Unzip the main part and dump everything out.
The main section represents the “working” hours of your day, the time you are “up and at ’em” doing whatever it is you need to do each day.
- What resources do you need in order to accomplish your daily routine?
- Do you have those in the backpack?
- Are they in good condition, or do they need to be repaired or replaced?
- What do you need to add to be at your best each day?
- What items do you need to remove to lighten the weight of that backpack?
- Which items might have been tossed in the main section along the way but really should be tucked away in one of those nifty side pockets?
- As you flip through the various subject titles on the books in your backpack — your daily responsibilities — do you have a sense of confidence in what’s needed for the role? Or would it help to meet with a tutor?
Check side pockets too
Go ahead and empty out those smaller side and top pockets too.
- Any chance you’ve tossed in a gum wrapper or other trash that needs to be discarded?
- Any unnecessary items cluttering up the space making it difficult to quickly find and snatch the specific items meant for those sections?
Before determining exactly what should go back into each section, be sure to give the backpack a good cleansing to freshen it up in preparation for its journey through the next semester.
As you prepare to refill the backpack, take a few more minutes to study each item carefully to confirm it is vital you carry it around each day. Allow the Lord to guide you.
For the items deemed essential, recommit to an effort to keep each one in good working condition and in the pocket meant for them.
Remaining steady in a shaky world
If anxiety feeds off anxiety, then we as congregations of believers have an incredible opportunity to help cut off the food chain.
We know the Author of peace and understand how the hope of the gospel heals. All we need to do is stay out of the way and let Him do His thing.
Each week in The Baptist Paper you read about the incredible ways congregations are making a difference in their communities.
Our churches, small groups, Sunday Sunday classes, disciple-making efforts and individual believers journeying through life truly can provide a safe space for all of us.
It is possible to remain realistic and truthful about the world around us, the struggles so many face and the pain of this life without intensifying anxieties. It requires a consistent steadiness, the ability to adapt to current needs as they surface and communicating calmly and clearly.
Thank you for all you do to provide a warm, welcoming environment and for keeping Hope alive.