What causes us to start home schooling with excitement and enthusiasm and then as the days pile one on top of each other our enthusiasm wanes? Sometimes the day-to-day drudgery seems too much to bear. The children seem to whine continually and the house never stays clean for longer than thirty minutes.
There are days that we just feel like crying and giving up.
Then to add to the burden, one of our dearest friends may have just put their children into school and she is singing the praises of how wonderful her children are doing and how much more they are learning than when they were at home. How she finally has some 'me' time and is looking forward to going back to work, getting her career on track and socialising in the 'real world'.
Why not? Why not just give up this daily battle and find an easier life? The thought of a whole day to ourselves is alluring and we find ourselves becoming more and more dissatisfied with the daily battles we face. Surely, we could use the extra income that would be available from having two full time earners in the family?
This scenario can be seen not only in home schooling but in many areas of our life. The dissatisfaction with the routine of staying at home compared to the attraction of being a working woman. It could be to give up on a marriage that seems hopeless. Or to tire from the daily consistency that is called for in training children.
My own personal struggles will be different from yours, but I believe that we all fight the same temptation - which is to give up when things get rough. The more I think and pray about it, the more I realize that I fight this battle of feeling overwhelmed and discouraged continually in one or more areas of my life, it has little to do with my circumstances. Many times I am tossed to and fro for several days because I follow my emotions instead of turning to God for strength.
The enemy of our souls has many ways of distracting us from the duties God has called us to. He causes our duties to look dull. We may see our neighbours leaving for work in their shiny new cars and dropping their children at day care while we are left home with our screaming kids and a buggy with a flat tyre. Their homes always look perfectly presentable while we find it difficult to keep the sinks shiny (FLY lady mums, you know what I'm talking about ;))
Satan may suggest to us that our home schooling is worthless. He whispers, 'What are you really accomplishing anyway? Your children will be weird and their not very clever anyway. Your ruining their education and their social life.' Or we may just be bored with the whole routine. The same routine, day after day, after day - never ending!
What I am sharing with you this month is not from a someone who has conquered this enemy of discouragement. I give into weariness. I'm often overwhelmed and feel like giving up. I become discouraged with my workload and covet an easier life. I have never worked outside my home for any length of time and have found running a home business exhausting. I don't know what God's will is for the future, but I have prayed for the past 4 years that the Lord would show me how to not become discouraged when the pressure is on. So, what I'm sharing is really a sermon to myself!
I found two scriptures that I am committing to memorization:
"He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength." Isaiah 40:29
The Hebrew word for faint is ya`aph, which means to tire as if from a wearisome flight.
"Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. 2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I." Psalm 61:1-2
The Hebrew word in Psalm 61:2 for overwhelmed means 'faint' or to fail. I laughed when I saw that one of the meanings of overwhelmed was faint. I pictured myself throwing the back of my hand up to my forehead, all Scarlet O'hara, and then fainting just because I felt I'd never accomplish all that needed to be done!
Hope lies in both of these Psalms because they teach that God gives power to the faint, increases our strength and leads us to the rock that is higher than our current difficulties. Notice that it is He that leads us to that higher rock that becomes our safe refuge. God never wearies nor grows faint so our strength is to be found in Him
"Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?" Isaiah 40:28
When God gives us power we can rest assured that it will be exactly what we need for our situation. He never gives us a measure of power that is not sufficient to overcome the difficulty at hand. His power is all-sufficient. He will give us all the power that is required.
His Word says, 'As thy days, so shall thy strength be.' Dueteronomy 33:25
The strength God gives can not be defeated by the devil and it shall be ours as long as we need it. So what causes us to faint in the face of hardship?
The heart sin behind fainting is doubt and unbelief. Basically we are saying that we do not believe that God is able to fulfill His promises or strengthen us for what He has called us to do.
We know in our hearts we are called to home school but we begin to entertain thoughts of doubt. We go round and round with the thoughts of doubt until we are so confused that we talk ourselves out of even knowing our first name let alone if we are called to home school.
The cure for fainting is faith. We must ask ourselves why we doubt God? Did He not call us? Then why do we not trust His faithfulness to provide the exact amount of strength for what each day holds? Why do we distrust His faithfulness?
David said, 'I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.' Psalm 27:13
Charles Spurgeon wrote:
"... your doubt concerning God's power sets up a new god. Do you start in alarm at that statement? It is true, for that which is mightiest in the world is God; but if there be anything which surpasses the power of God, something that is more potent than omnipotence, that something must be god! Jesus said, 'Believest now that I am able to do this?' Matt 9:28 True faith believes that Jesus is able to sustain me under this temptation and to strengthen me to accomplish that which He has asked me to do."
Our feelings and emotions are strong. At times they seem overpowering. In a sense, they can run our lives if we have not trained ourselves to live by the Word instead of our emotions.
Especially as women, we deal with this weakness more than men. I am especially weakened by this during my monthly cycle. If we are not disciplined and live by principles instead of our feelings we find ourselves giving into every whim. We don't feel like having school, so we plan a shopping day. If we feel depressed, we mope and sin by focusing all our thoughts on ourselves instead of denying ourselves and looking to see who we can serve. This is one reason we need to govern ourselves by God's Word and to bring ourselves under our husband's authority.
Our decisions need to be made by God's Word and under our husband's direction, not by what we are experiencing in our emotions, otherwise we become a 'basket case' driving ourselves crazy, and our husbands right along with us. Once we have determined to do God's will, then our will must deal with our feelings.
Jesus left us a an incredible example of will vs feelings on the night before His crucifixion. His feelings were nearly overpowering as a human being. The battle was raging between His flesh and His desire to do God's will. Praise God He desired to do God's will above giving into His feelings.
Fainting during difficult times may also arise from another sinful cause: lack of prayer.
Jesus said, 'Men ought always to pray, and not to faint.' Luke 18:1
This seems to imply that if we do not pray that we will faint.
'But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.' Isaiah 40:29-31
Here lies our choice: to either wait upon God through prayer for strength or to be overpowered and faint. God knows exactly what measure of day to press us to Him. (Psalm 16:5) He has assigned every minute of my day and hours. I know that if my days were more manageable that I would not have to lean on Him. But, I am pressed to Him when the day seems impossible to live out in my own strength.
Normally, I am sending up prayers as I'm running about trying to accomplish everything. But, many times I do not find strength until I head for my bedroom and spend some time focussed and alone, crying out to God to rescue me. Then, a flood of peace soothes my soul within minutes and I let out a big sigh!
One of the commentaries I read from expressed a note that we should be thankful if we have fainted because God gives HIS power to the faint. I never thought of being thankful for fainting. I don't believe that I am to give up daily just so God's power will come on the scene. I believe this teaches that we are to glory in the fact that we are weak because then we know that the power of Christ will rest upon us.
'Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.' 2 Corinthians 12:9
Let us pray for each other to be done with fainting when things get tough. Instead let us receive God's power and seek to live in His divine strength and might.
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Galatians 6:9