I love a new school year! I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions and January 1st being ” The New Year.” Mine starts every August when school gears back up. I know autumn hangs just around the corner and soon the marching band will belt out the school’s fight song, and I’ll find some calm in the routines of life. However, the thing that thrills me most about the start of a new school year is the chance to purchase school supplies: there’s nothing quite like a brand new box of Crayola crayons, unblemished and promising. One of my favorite things to buy every year–and it’s more age appropriate than the Crayolas–is a new notebook. I stroll the aisles of Target and Wal-Mart oohhing and aahhing over all the pretty patterns and funky color choices.
When holding a fresh-from-the-shelf notebook in my hand, I’m almost giddy. The color-coordinated patterns appeal to my sense of fashion, and it’s almost like I’ve bought a fabulous new ensemble, but I only had to pay three bucks for it. I can’t wait to fill it with notebook paper and snazzy dividers. I feel pretty; I feel organized; I feel hopeful! For me, polka-dotted polyurethane wrapped around metal rings signal an exchange of last year’s mistakes and frustrations for a new attitude and hopeful heart. In essence, a fresh notebook means new beginnings, unlimited possibilites, and a chance to learn.
I love to learn! I am a student by nature; in fact, I’m one of those people who longs to go back to college just so I can sit around and have deeply intelligent discussions about literature, life, and God. Truthfully, I’m a nerd. My students often get tickled at me because I’ll get so excited about what I’m about to teach them. My passion for learning empowers me to spread that passion to others. Most 8th graders, however, don’t normally share my enthusiasm, but at least they won’t find my class boring. In the middle school world that says a lot. Getting a pristine new notebook signifies that learning is about to take place, so with pencil in hand, eyes toward the teacher, ears tuned, I eagerly begin my education.
Unlimited possibilities are packaged right along with that notebook as well. Every school year I make new goals. I decide to pursue my writing career, keep up with my housework, spend more time with friends, increase patience with my children, and love my husband better. I know that I won’t succeed at all of them, but at least I get a chance to do better than I did last year. That,in itself, brings so much peace.
I love a new spiritual notebook more than a Target one. Lamentations 3 tells me “Great is His faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day!“. 2 Corinthians also tells me that once I have Christ in my life, I am “not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!” In reality, God gives me a new notebook everyday! I get a chance to start again, make changes, reach new heights, and experience things “immeasurably beyond anything I could ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). I long to fill my spiritual notebook with the goals of walking closer with God than I did last year, being a better mother and wife, encouraging and instructing others in the paths of righteousness, and living a life more pleasing to God. I also determine to change those personality weaknesses with the help of Christ, which means that any discouragement or negative criticism from last year is left to wither in the dog days of Summer. Autumn brings the chance to replace last year’s frustrations and hurts with God’s word. What a gift!
Next week, I take the kids school shopping, and I’ll purchase my new notebook. I’m truly grateful, Lord, that it’s that time of year again. May I fill the pages with wise choices, triumphs over tragedy, memories with friends, and sweet, quiet moments shared with You. “Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” Psalm 86:11