Monday, July 8, 2013

Learning not to doubt

"why do doubts arise in your heart?"
Luke 24:38

Something scary happened to me the other day.  A conversation.  A very brief conversation.  With a very good friend.

The problem?  She asked me for advice.

I know, right?  Some people....

Now, really, I don't mind giving advice.  Who minds sharing their wisdom, right? But the subject on which she wanted advice is homeschooling.  Hence the fear.

I love homeschooling.  I feel very strongly about it, and I've been doing it for years.  But it's never been something I've been comfortable guiding others in.  There are so many ways to do it, all of which are good, and all of which depend on what's right for your child.  So I've never wanted to come off as some sort of expert, or know-it-all.  All I know is what books and methods are right for my kids, and for me. 

But there's another reason I'm reluctant to be any source of council or wisdom on this subject. 


I know a lot of homeschoolers.  Only a small percentage of the nation's students are homeschooled, but in any given region, it's not hard to find them.  Support Groups, and other organizations exist to provide, well, support.  So I've come to know several families in our area, and become friends with many moms.

And bar none, no matter how strong they feel about homeschooling, they all acknowledge there are times when they feel doubt, not about what they're doing, or why, but about how.  Books, curricula, methods... there are so many options.  So there's plenty of room to wonder if you've chosen the best ones.  Talking with other moms can make that worse. 

But whether you homeschool or not, I don't doubt you've battled with doubt.  (See what I did there?)  And I think the places where we're most vulnerable to doubt is any areas where we're different from others.  Any decisions we make that go against the norm.  Because being different will always garner scrutiny, questioning, and guilt.

But then I realize that guilt is brought on by a feeling of not doing what one should; not meeting the standard. 

Which begs the question:  whose standard is it?  Whose expectations am I fearful I'm not meeting?

It's quicksand.  Comparison to neighbors, friends, our culture, heck even our world, is a bad idea.  It's dangerous. 

And it doesn't mean I ignore the world's standards when it comes to education.  Things like grades and GPA mean something in our society, and I owe it to my kids to enable them to compete in the world in which they are living.  But how I do that is between my family and God.  Guilt is not from God.  Conviction is from God. 

Doubt is a reminder to ask Him again ~ and again and again ~ if I'm on the path He wants me on.  There's always the chance He needs me to change something.  But if there is, I need to hear it from Him, not from others, and not my own insecurities.

~ "All the people were very attentive to hear Him" ~
Luke 19:48

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