Sunday, April 2, 2017

Returning to Joy: Letting Go of Fear in Home Education

I made an important necessary decision this past fall. And-it has been like a breath of fresh, day-lit, sparkly-spring air for my family and I.

I made a decision to return to joy. 

Fall 2017 I decided to return to the joy I had known in those early years of home educating my first child. Those were playful days; days of laughter and enjoyment! No, every day was not picture-perfect. But the difference was, that back then I didn't wear this cloak of heaviness that somehow I later found myself under. Somewhere along the line I lost joy. Somewhere along the line I changed; I was more hesitant, more uncertain. I was afraid.

In those first days I didn't know fear. I didn't have fear of being inadequate. I didn't fear falling behind. I didn't fear what other home educating mothers might think about my approach in schooling at home. I certainly didn't doubt my education plans and goals, or if my children were missing out on something. In fact I felt quite confident. I couldn't understand how some of my home educating friends were getting bogged down and burdened in the process of trying to figure things out in their new journey as home educating families. I just assumed that perhaps it was because it was completely new to them, not having been home educated as children themselves.

How then did this fear sneak in? -This sense of I'm not doing enough; This, I can't seem to keep up feeling? Was it the drain on energy that comes with the financial lows we experienced and the divided attention it caused me at times? Was it when my friends with children in public school had kids entering grade school and the gap between our child rearing styles-despite my awareness of them-became more obvious in so many ways? Was it the time it took to carve out our own way in grade school when everything was so obvious and natural in preschool through to the end of grade 1? Was it trying to figure out the juggle of educating multiple children at different stages?

So many areas could've been a possible open door for fear to creep in. But one thing I know. I am certain that fear kills joy. I have no doubt that fear drains the life out of a person. I also know that fear isn't always obvious. Often I don't recognize it when it arrives in my thoughts and settles into my heart. Yet, I am not designed to live in fear. My creator commands over and over again that I am not to give way to fear. And so I need to be on guard against fear. And when it comes -as it surely will- I need to stand firm and fight back so that I can live (and educate) the way I was designed to: in joy, not fear.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and love, and of a sound mind."
-2 Timothy 1:7 

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