Back to School: Weary Parent, I See You [Part Two]
This blog is part two of a two-part series for families as they navigate the “new normal” of back to school this year. To read part one, click here.
What DIVE best portrays your ‘Back to School’ experience? In part one, we got real honest about 2020’s Back to School season and how it has many of us experiencing heightened emotions. We equated the launch into this season as a dive. A dive is often an exciting transition from a platform (in our case, the summer) to the destination (for us, ‘Back to School’).
If your ‘Back to School’ entry could be summed up in a 4 second GIF file with the title: dive, how would that look?
Belly-Flop, nearly flawless back 2.5 summersault with a 2.5 twist, slow-motion face plant, pushed off the high dive, screaming with all four limbs flailing (my personal favorite) or an over-rotated full-back smacker. Ouch.
However, you are feeling this 2020 ‘Back to School’ season, know that the gracious God of this universe KNOWS YOU, and He desires for you and your family to be NURTURED in ways that are restorative and healing.
You’re Not Alone
I believe one of the most dangerous things you could do during a difficult season is to isolate yourself. Resist the urge to avoid church, hide in the bathroom, ignore a text, or skip a gathering. I get it. We have all had a life-changing five months, but God created us for community, and in isolation, we can quickly lose track of truth as we are bombarded by the lies so readily available through our devices.
God created us for community, and in isolation, we can quickly lose track of truth as we are bombarded by the lies so readily available through our devices
Make an effort to connect with others (and no, blasting off your hurts and frustrations on social media does not count). If you don’t know where to start, please pray for God to provide a friend or a listening ear. And seek out individuals who He brings to your mind. It may be awkward at first, but honesty is the best policy. Shoot that person a text and tell them that in this season you have been _______ (fill in the emotion), tell them you have been praying for honest connection and community, and God brought them to mind. Then ask them if they have time for a phone call. And Dads… if you are reading this, I’m talking to you too. We need Godly friendships!
I had the privilege to work with teenagers for the first ten years of ministry, and it was normal for me to walk them through healthy ways to seek Godly friendships. But it’s incredible how many of us adults struggle with those same issues and need the tools, tips, and pointers.
Get Back to the Basics
This season is hard. Can we admit that together? And in our flesh, we often seek an escape as we look for ways to numb the stress, chaos, and frustration. Yet when we look at the ways of Jesus, we learn that He offers those who follow Him equipment for the great task ahead, not an escape.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28–30
Jesus is with you, weary parents — can you stop what you are doing for a moment and ponder that truth? Jesus desires for you to come to Him with your heavy ‘Back to School’ family life and lay all of it at His feet. He will give you rest. And He will provide you with the equipment and strength to take this season one day at a time.
Now I haven’t traveled on an airplane in a while. But I remember the flight attendant instructions: “in the event of an emergency, secure your oxygen mask first before helping others.” With that protocol in mind, I have some questions for you weary parent:
1️⃣ How have you been eating?
2️⃣ How have you been sleeping?
3️⃣ Have you had Spiritual community this week?
4️⃣ Have you spent time with Jesus?
5️⃣ Have you created time for exercise?
God has created us with healthy rhythms, and when we allow them to get out of whack, we can head into a downward spiral. Perhaps one of my favorite ‘downward spiral’ stories in the Bible is Elijah in 1 Kings 17–19. Often, Elijah is known for the epic faith story of calling down fire on Mount Carmel. But did you know that just after that ‘Spiritual High,’ he fell into depression? I encourage you to read 1 Kings chapter 19 and pay special attention to how God ministers to Elijah.
Take comfort from the Lord in this season, be honest with Him, and take some steps to ‘get back to the basics’ in your rhythms.