Are you a runner? I must admit I am not, at least not in the literal sense! I have never enjoyed running as a form of exercise. However, I am guilty of being a runner. My first reaction to fear is to run! When I am faced with confrontation, disappointment, betrayal, bad news, or failure, my gut instinct is to run and hide. I seek solitude, and I run away from people.
Are you a runner? In the Book of Jonah (chapters 1-2), God gave Jonah a calling he didn’t want. Jonah had his reasons. He didn’t agree with God’s plans. He didn’t particularly like the reasons for God’s commands. He didn’t think he was the right man for the job. But God made Jonah’s calling clear: Go to Ninevah and tell the people to repent. Nineveh was 500 miles northeast of where Jonah was at the time. So what does Jonah do? He runs! He runs (well more like sails) to Tarshish which is almost 2000 miles west in Spain. That is a 2500 mile “gap” between God’s call and Jonah’s heart. God said, “Go east.” Jonah said, “No way! I’m going west.” Jonah was a runner too!
On most days, I love homeschooling! On most days, learning alongside my family fills my heart with all kinds of wonderful feelings. I love their “ah ha!” moments, their breakthroughs, or hearing their silly laughter echoing in the halls. But on some days, I want to run! It’s hard. It can be painful. It’s not what I was expecting. It’s hard to get out of bed when I am riddled with pain, when I have one more Dr. appointment to go to, when my family is dealing with a death, or my depression rears its ugly head again. It’s painful to see my child struggle with school, with his confidence, with his self-image, or with disappointment or heartbreak. For you, perhaps you are dealing with a broken relationship, taking care of a baby and/or your aging parents, or trying to pay the pile of bills stacked up on your desk. In all honesty and with complete transparency, some days (or weeks or even months) are not exactly how I was expecting our homeschooling to go. So I run!
The problem with my running is the direction in which I choose to run. I run away and hide. Often I’m full of shame at feeling this way or for feeling like a failure. I run away from friends who I know want to help or who can offer sound advice. I run away from the problem, the confrontation, the disappointment. Sometimes I feel like Forest Gump who just kept running and running and running. But it is ok to be a runner! We just need to run in the right direction and for the right reasons. Instead of running AWAY from my problems, I need to run TO the arms of my heavenly Father. It is on these horrible, terrible, no-good very bad days, I need to run (and run as fast as I can) to Jesus and His Word. I may stumble, I may fall, and I may even have an ugly cry as I hit the floor in yet another face plant, but at least I’m running in the right direction. I may still need to seek solitude but at least I’m inviting God into the space to hold me, guide me, and cover me.
One of my favorite stories is of 1992 Olympic runner, Derek Redmond, and how he finished his race with the help of his father. Injured and in pain, Redmond finished the race as his father embraced him and held him up. Get some kleenex and watch this beautiful moment and standing ovation Redmond and his father received: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhdoTThn5mw
It’s ok to be a runner, but don’t run in the direction of Jonah. Don’t create a 2500 mile gap between God’s plans and your plans. On the really bad days, don’t run alone! On the days you feel like running, think about in what direction you are running. On the bad days, are you running away from God and His calling for you to be a homeschool mom or are you running towards God knowing that in His perfect timing and in His perfect way, you will finish the race and you will finish it strong.
On those bad days, think about why you are running. Are you homeschooling to run away from something (bad school policies, toxic educational environments, immoral curriculums, inadequate services, ideological indoctrination, etc) or are you homeschooling so you can run to something better (making God’s Word focal point in learning, feeding curiosity, building family relationships, investing time in passions and gifts, etc). If your homeschooling decision is based on running away from a school system, then you will always be running in fear. If your homeschooling decision is based on running to something better, then your days will be filled with purpose. If your homeschooling decision is based on running to what God has called you to do, then you can run with full confidence that God’s got your back (and He is actually paving the road before you if you will have the courage to see it and follow it!)
Are you a runner? I am! It is my prayer that when you and I run, we will run in the right direction. I pray that on those bad days when we fill like running, hiding and giving up, we will run towards the finish line allowing our heavenly father to lift us up and will gain strength from the support and encouragement we are receiving from our friends and family on the sidelines. Jonah eventually cried out to God for help and to no surprise, God was there to save him. Let’s do this! Let’s run together!
The holiday season is officially upon us, which means we begin to run in different directions. Thanksgiving is a few weeks away, holiday decorations are already up, and Christmas music is already flooding the airways. The pace of the holidays never seems to slow down. This November, run with a grateful heart. This December, run towards the reason for the season. Take a break from your official homeschooling schedule to enjoy the holidays, the family visiting from out of town, and the hours of baking and cooking. Trust me, the math facts, grammar books, and history projects will still be waiting for you in January. Take time to play some games, drink some hot chocolate, eat some pie, and snuggle on the couch while reading some great books together.
May God richly bless your running for His honor and glory,
Please join us March 27th & 28th as we will dig deeper into the Book of Jonah! In our first Saturday morning session, The Jonah Journey: When God’s Plans Don’t Match Ours (Book of Jonah Study), Carrie De Francisco will share biblical principles from the Book of Jonah that can be applied to your ministry of motherhood and calling to homeschool. Like Jonah, are you traveling this homeschooling journey kicking and screaming or are you running in the opposite direction filled with fear, doubts and down-right apprehension? Has God called you to homeschool or has He called you to homeschool another year? Don’t run away! Accept the call! And come to our special weekend for homeschooling moms! In our first session, we will learn lessons from Jonah on how to be joyful (and obedient) when God’s homeschooling “itinerary” doesn’t match ours! We will also learn from Jonah how anger, bitterness, unforgiveness and disobedience (even delayed obedience) can turn an adventure and a holy calling into a long, exhausting and even torturous trip. For more information on our special weekend for homeschooling moms, check out the “Upcoming Event” tab. Early Bird Registration begins Jan. 1st!