What's in Your Cup?
My son started Kindergarten this week. He is really adorable isn't he?
Besides a cry here and there I would say I have done "ok."
BUT MAN - the weeks are long! Any other mom's feel that way? How many weeks of school til summer???
I did great Monday.
I did fine Tuesday.
Wednesday I was a bit sappy - missing him.
Thursday I needed distractions
Today, Friday - I am a hot mess. I am so ready for 4pm and to have him home!
Anyway, it did not help that school was a bit of a struggle this week. I have focused so much on preparing him for the necessities (school supplies and his ABC's), that I forgot the basics: the structure, the change, the sitting still, the length of the day, the walking into the building alone, the demands he would face, the number of hours he would have to be quiet. I forgot to prepare him for those basic changes that were going to erupt his typical BOY tendencies.
He is doing fine, just if he knew to say it, he would yell from the mountaintops:
"THE STRUGGLE IS REAL!"
Instead, Wednesday morning he was explaining in thought-induced 5 year old verbiage that he thought Kindergarten would be better next year, and he should stay home this year.
In an effort to distract him from that plan, I asked what he did not like about school and what he does like about school. He said he likes his friends, his teacher, the school, the playground...so forth and so on. He does not like that they don't get to play because all the teachers just "talk and talk and talk and talk, and then they keep on talking." (I wish I had a recording of the conversation)
I sat down in that moment and explained to him that he should listen to them. They are all talking (a lot, I am sure) but they are talking about things he needs to learn and absorb.
I explained in 5 year old terms that he is like a cup. A large, empty cup. That these teachers are talking and pouring into his cup. And when he goes to 1st grade he will need the contents they are pouring into his cup this year in order to understand what they pour into him next year.
If he doesn't listen, his cup will remain empty. Who wants to be an empty cup!
We talked about what they may put into his cup - math, science, good behavior, reading, wisdom... you get the idea. He seemed content with the answer because he complied and we walked to school.
As I walked home, I thought about him ... as that cup.
I thought about all these years I have worked so hard to stretch him and mold him into a cup that could hold the contents we put into him. Making sure he was large enough, strong enough, and sturdy enough to hold onto it. How each year, every experience builds on the next.
In preschool, we tested his cup - we put some things into his cup while he played to see if they held. His ABC's. His123's. Colors. Shapes.
At church, we are teaching him how his cup designed to preform - with honesty, love, kindness, respect, self-control (well, one day, right?) ... With all the wisdom in the world, if you don't teach children how they were designed to preform, how they are equipped to behave, we do them an injustice.
At home, we line his cup with confidence, love and acceptance. I cover him in prayer.
But at the end of the day we are all just teaching our children about what God already designed them to do. Retain knowledge, demonstrate good character, do good. These are not qualities we are creating, they are already given the capacity for them - we just teach them how to enact it. God has equipped our kids to be used for HIS glory, just as He equipped all His kids - You and Me included.
Over the past 6 weeks I have really questioned what faith looks like in the calm - when you are at peace. How does one keep Faith constant and fresh. In pondering this question through my quiet time a couple weeks ago, I realized that I learn SO much in my storms, but for me it is harder in times of peace. I am easily distracted, constantly on the go. I am not as desperate for answers or solutions. I am less sensitive to the promptings of the Lord.
But, one things is true - I am still learning. And I have a great capacity to be poured into. Like a cup! Like our kids.
I receive things all day - things that I wish I didn't and some things I am glad I did. But, regardless of my intent, I am constantly being poured into. Constantly gaining new contents.
Those contents, just like my son, will be what I use to understand what is poured into me next year, or the next season life throws at me.
During the "calm" my focus tends to be spread thin to cover alot of ground. I can take on more. And because I take on more, I am easily distracted. And when distracted, I don't always take heed to the contents I am allowing in to my cup. I allow subtle negativity to root, because I was too busy to realize it was present. I accept lies as truth, because I was not sensitive to their impact. I excuse behavior. I justify actions. I develop bad habits. In the calm I lose my sensitivity and attentiveness to keeping my mind pure.
Paul warns against this in Philippians 4:8-9.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
If we let our guard down when things are calm, we allow our minds to wander from that which Paul warns us to meditate on. And that negativity, those lies, the excuses, justifications, and bad habits will all come back into play. They will be the contents in your cup when you need to decipher your next season. You will notice that the PEACE of GOD is a result of keeping our cup full of acceptable, God-approved contents. When we allow for a compromise of those contents, we threaten the PEACE we crave in life's storms. And instead we face questions, insecurities, misinterpretations, pain.
So, when life is calm, draw close to God. Give Him your attention. He wants to pour into you in that moment - to prepare you for the next time a struggle squeezes you. He knows the exact contents He needs to pour into you, so that when you face your next pressure, the right contents spill out of you - grace, peace, forgiveness, etc.
So I ask -