Saturday, September 29, 2007


So let's say you have taken the responsibility to disciple your children to heart. Let's say you are home-educating them.

And let's say you are burning out or have already burned are ready to throw in the towel.

Why? How could that be? Aren't you doing what you are called by God to do?

(Note: The principle I'm about to discuss applies to all types of burnout, not just that of home-educating moms and dads.)

I had the privilege of attending the Desiring God National Conference entitled, "Stand" last night. The first speaker was John MacArthur (Sermon summary and link to listen HERE). One of his points on being a person who perseveres involved burnout. He noted that burnout is not the result of hard work. A ditch digger does extremely hard labor, yet he doesn't "burnout." Rather, burnout is the result of discouragement...and discouragement is the result of unmet expectations. That alone is profound, but even more so was his conclusion that man as a sinner is not owed a single thing. Each and every thing we have, from the next beat of our heart to our home to our children to our job...all of it is the result of the mercy of God.

Before you read on, go back and read that last part again. Consider it. Dwell upon it.

Burnout is the result of discouragement.
Discouragement is the result of unmet expectations.
All we have is the result of the mercy of God.

How does this fit you in your life right now?

(The rest is my musings on his point)

When we finally bring into focus that everything in our world is a merciful gift from God rather than something owed to us, we finally get our expectations correct. In other words, we no longer expect anything, but rather focus on the thankfulness for the mercies God has extended in our lives to this point. As a result, we cannot have unmet expectations. If we don't have unmet expectations, we don't have discouragement. And if we don't have discouragement, we don't have burnout.

How does this apply to the home-educating parent (usually moms)? Do I really mean you are to have no expectations of your children when you home-educate? No. What I mean is to realize your children are merciful gifts from God, your ability to be home with them is a merciful gift from God, your desire to raise them in the fear and admonition of the Lord is a merciful gift from God, your child's individual personality, talents, and abilities are merciful gifts from God. Note how you cannot help but bring an overarching theme of thanksgiving to God when reading and considering a list like this. When your focus shifts from curriculum accomplishment to mercies and thanksgiving, then you are free to work with your children as individual gifts from God, knowing that He is ultimately going to direct their paths as you shepherd them. You are free from the tyranny of the curriculum and the scope and sequence. You are free from unrealistic expectations based upon someone else's description of what your homeschool should look like. You are free then of discouragement, and thus free from burnout.

It ultimately is a focus issue and an understanding of God's truth in our lives. Keep your focus and you will God's glory!

1 comment:

Joanna said...

I am a homeschooling mom to a 6-year-old and a 4-year-old (whom we waffle with on the schooling), we (my husband and I) also have a 2-year-old and an infant. In case you can't do the math (ha ha ha) that's four girls, 6 and under. I really appreciate your post. I often contend with feeling like a failure when it comes to teaching the kids. I believe they should be home with me whole-heartedly but I often feel like I'm not meeting someone's expectations. I have known since the beginning that my children were gifts from God, but the merciful part was something I hadn't considered. Thanks for that, I'll be musing on it for some time. Now, off to school.