Back To School Devotional: Day 1

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
— Joshua 1:9

I always feel both afraid and excited when the calendar turns to August. August says school is coming. August shows me change in the trees. August holds hands with opportunity.

Many of these feelings are relics from my own decades of schooling, from working as a college campus spiritual director for 12 years, and guiding my own children into another school year. 

Whatever “back to school” feels like for you, you are not alone! I have felt ALL the emotions come August and your feelings are quite valid. But let's let truth lead the train and allow emotions to be our caboose.

These next five days we are going to talk about one truth, each day, in the transition. 

Today we need some truth regarding fear of the unknown. 

Usually I try to control as much as I can when I’m afraid of the unknown. It’s my way of trying to feel better about what I don’t know might be around the corner. Not knowing what this school year holds can leave us afraid and anxious. And so I make elaborate systems and schedules and color code everything I can think of so I can say: “There. See? I’m in control of it all. No curveball can knock down my color coded schedule, tidy organized baskets, or amazing systems.”

Bologna. 

I’m all for organization. I love a good label and I have invested in wicker baskets to sort, control, and hide toys. I like order. But order cannot save us from the fear of unknown. 

The practice of trusting God is the real solution. Voicing what you are afraid of to Him is an actual answer. Pouring out all the things to Him and letting Him take care of what you don’t know can solve so much. Inhaling truths and exhaling fears can calm our soul. 

Exhale: I am afraid of the unknowns in this season.
Inhale: God is my shepherd, I have all that I need. (Psalm 23) 

Exhale: I feel alone in this season.
Inhale: God is with me and is for me. (Romans 8:31)

Exhale: I don't know if I can do all that is on my plate.
Inhale: My God accomplishes all that concerns me. (Psalm 138:8)

Today, let truth be your engine: God is with you. This is no small thing. If God is with you, then He is for you, and if He is for you, who can be against you? 

Take a minute to journal or talk to God. Pour it all out. He is a good listener, a good Father, and He is ready to care for you. 

“Dear God, I am afraid of what is next this year...even of the things that I don’t know about. I am afraid of disappointing others and not being enough and assignments too big for me and my children being bullied and my people being harmed and situations that could be scary. I’m pouring it out. I trust You with my treasures. With what is near to me. With what I hold dear. I trust You that you can turn harm into healing and you give grace at the grave. I trust You with what I don’t know. Amen.”

If God is for us, who in the world could ever be against us?
— Romans 8:31 (Amy's emphasis)
Amy Seiffert