Overcomer or Overwhelmed?
I just completed my 34th year of teaching little people. At present, I teach first graders at a Christian school. Prior to that, I taught kindergarten babies for 25 years in the public school system. People mistakenly think that teaching is an easy job, allowing for lots of free time. After all, you have vacation days throughout the year and the summers off. However, the demands on teachers during the school days are such that we wouldn’t be able to function without those times of respite. There is literally no time during a school day when you are not occupied with some part of the job at hand. Maintaining an orderly environment conducive to learning is not an easy thing to accomplish and is quite stressful. It takes constant planning and preparation to stay on track with the curriculum calendar and finish teaching all the skills for the year. In addition to working all day, after school, I teach piano two or three days each week. I teach Sunday School at my church where I also sing in the choir (my husband is the choir director, so it’s obligatory!) and play the piano (also obligatory!) I try, sometimes unsuccessfully, to keep my house clean, cook healthy meals, and study all things health and wellness, in addition to how and what I should be storing up for my family in case of food shortages, electrical outages, or worse. This year, I completed coursework to become a certified Christian health coach in the midst of everything else. Now that summer is here, I’m struggling to determine just where I should place my focus first and how I can organize my days to accomplish all I want to do. It’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed, but with God’s help I hope to be an overcomer instead!
The Bible tells us in Psalm 90:12, "So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” I’ve been pondering that verse lately as my 59th birthday approaches. The best I can hope for at this point is another 20 or so years. That’s 1,040 weeks, 7,300 days, or 175,200 hours, give or take of course. I should be able to fit quite a bit into that much time, provided God allows me to be healthy and productive all those years. While this verse is not asking God to tell us exactly how many days we have left in this life, it does call attention to the fact that life is short and if you want to make a difference while you’re here, you’d better get busy! We need for God to guide us on the path He desires for us and give us wisdom to make the best use of our time, talents, and other gifts. I think the problem with a lot of people in our modern society is that we focus far too much on selfish desires rather than on how we can make the world a better place for those we love and those we will leave behind when God calls us home to be with Him. Remaining faithful and obedient to God’s call in our life is the very definition of overcoming.
My prayer each day has been that God would give me wisdom this summer for how I can make the most of my time, and then how to continue doing those important things once the rat race of school starts back in August. Keeping a journal and writing down the things we need to keep in focus is a great way to stay on track. Think of your gifts, talents, skills, special abilities, and resources you have that God can use for His kingdom. How can you serve those around you whether that be family, friends, or church family – or even those in need whom you do not know. I have to say right here that the state of our country and our culture is worse than I ever thought I would see in my lifetime. The pace at which our culture is rejecting God along with everything Biblical is almost unbelievable. The things happening that are moving us toward global governance cause me to believe that Satan is preparing for the kingdom of the Antichrist and Jesus will return soon. We don’t have a lot of time, whether it be years left in our lives after 50 or time left before Jesus’ return to just sit around and wish for the old days. Retirement and relaxing on the porch in a rocking chair is not going to be an option for us. Jesus warned us that He expects to find us working when He returns:
For this reason, you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour you do not expect. Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household, to give the others their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose that servant is wicked and says in his heart, ‘My master will be away a long time.’ And he begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not anticipate. Then he will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. – Matthew 24:44-51
Here are some things I think are important for me at this point in my life. Some of these may not apply to everyone. We all have different abilities and resources, so your list may be somewhat different from mine…
1. Continue to study my Bible and ask for wisdom and discernment for the evil in our culture. You may want to start a Bible study or start attending a Bible study and learn more about what God’s Word says about life and living. Satan is wreaking havoc in the world, especially among our children and grandchildren. We need to know how to recognize his lies and combat them. The only way to do that is to know God’s Word. He is the source of truth and authority in an upside-down world. Remember that Sunday School counts as Bible study. You don’t have to try to find another night to have a meeting unless that is what God leads you to do.
2. Pray, pray, pray! Prayer and meditation will allow God to guide you and give you the clarity you need to stay focused and obedient. Only God can give wisdom and understanding for these times in which we live. This is imperative!
3. Along those same lines is church attendance. We obviously attend church because Ken is the worship leader! But even if he wasn’t, we would still make sure we were part of a local, Bible believing fellowship. This is your second family. Over the years our church family has done as much or more to minister to our needs in times of difficulty than our blood relatives.
4. Grow as much of my own food as possible. I realize everyone can’t do this, so if not, try to find a local source of healthy food and stock up. There may come a time when we can’t rely on the grocery store or our money to provide food. Becoming more independent in this area will help you and your family and friends in time of need. Home grown food from the garden is also immensely tastier and healthier than food from the grocery store. Ditto for free range eggs, chicken, and beef. We also eat a lot of wild venison. You may need to learn how to hunt!
5. Learn to preserve food and begin doing so ASAP. You can join groups on social media to learn more about food preservation or watch YouTube videos. We have no excuse these days with opportunities to learn so easily available.
6. Stay committed to healthy eating, weight management, and muscle building. I am no good to anyone, including myself, if I am sickly. We all need to stop eating ultra-processed junk food laced with unhealthy fats and sugar. Start an exercise routine that includes weightlifting to build muscles. I have been doing this since 2019 and feel stronger than I did in my 40’s. YouTube has tons of free exercise videos you can use in your own home without a gym membership. We are in the middle of the most difficult spiritual battles that I’ve witnessed in my lifetime. We need to have physical strength and clarity of thought to stay in the battle. I do not want to spend the last 10 years of my short life unable to serve God or my fellow man. What a waste!
7. Stock up on items that are necessities for living. Make sure you have enough to help others in your family and close friends. Encourage them to begin stocking up as well. We don’t know when Jesus will return or how difficult things may be leading up to His return. The Bible tells us that, “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” Proverbs 22:3
8. Learn survival skills such as soap making, fermenting, gardening, bread making, sewing, wildcrafting, making your own herbal medicines, etc. Currently I am waiting for a book to arrive in the mail about making and using your own herbal medicines. I am also stocking up on aspirin – the cheap cure-all medicine.
I’ll probably think of several other things I should have added to this list, but for now this is quite enough to keep me busy. It was helpful to me to put a plan in writing. I plan to try to upload something to my blog at least once a week during summer. I tried during the school year, but it just wasn’t happening. Maybe this year will be better. Hopefully, I will be able to retire from my day job and just work on the farm and maybe teach piano and do some health coaching. That’s the plan, anyway… just playing it by ear one day at a time. God bless you as you strive to be an overcomer!