I’m often amazed by the way that God uses Bible passages I’ve read over and over again to speak new things to me. This look at Galatians is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about.
Although Galatians was the Apostle Paul’s letter to the people of Galatia, I’ve always found his words to be thought-provoking and challenging for me in the here and now.
It’s no surprise that Galatians has plenty to say to me as a homeschool parent. Here’s a look at how Paul’s letter to Galatia spoke to my homeschool heart.
Whose approval do I value?
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings or of God? Or am I still trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. ~ Galatians 1:10
At our core, all of us want to be accepted, appreciated, and even applauded to some extent. In a world that values fame and determines worth through social media followers, answering Paul’s question can lead to some hard-to-swallow self-examination.
Friends, our identity is not found in what others think of us, and thank the Lord for that! Our worth is not found in how others view our choice to homeschool, our execution of homeschool, or perceived successes or failures in homeschooling. Our homeschooling isn’t about pleasing others and it never has been. It’s not about impressing others or seeking validation from those around us.
We do what we do because it’s a ministry to our families. And the second we start to focus on the opinions and approval of others and take our eyes off of God, we’ve missed the point completely. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather serve Christ; He’s much more forgiving of my imperfections than the world.
There’s no Us versus Them.
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. ~ Galatians 3:28-29
There’s no Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female, and I’m sure that Paul would have agreed that there is no homeschooler nor public schooler if it had been a topic of conversation in his day. It’s so easy to divide ourselves in these ways, but as believers we’re in the same family, working toward the same goal.
I’m proud that we’re a homeschool family and it often baffles me that others aren’t interested in this lifestyle, but ultimately it’s not about who chooses this and who opts for something else. That means there’s no room for judgement in regards to who homeschools and who doesn’t. Besides, I can’t lead my kids if I’m more focused on what everyone else is doing than what’s happening in our home.
Avoid the comparison trap.
Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. ~ Galatians 5:26
Verse 26 in The Message translation brings this one home: This means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original (emphasis mine).
It’s pretty clear how this verse applies to all areas of life, but it certainly has a place in homeschooling. We can discuss the pros and cons of homeschool methods and why a certain one is superior until we’re blue in the face. It’s not uncommon to casually number drop when mentioning that the standardized test results came in; after all, we’re proud of these little geniuses. Sometimes our discussions on curriculum purchases and how much we’ve spent barely fall short of braggadocio.
On the flip side, it’s easy to get discouraged when other parents are showing off phenomenal test scores and your kids didn’t do so well. It’s also easy to let the green-eyed curriculum monster take over when we’re scrambling to make ends meet, but other homeschool parents rave about products that are expensive enough to warrant a black market transaction. Don’t lose heart, friend. Those aren’t the things that matter.
As homeschoolers, we understand that there is no one size fits all way of doing things. We know this well, so why on earth do we spend so much time comparing ourselves to other homeschoolers? There’s no room for that in our lives and it certainly doesn’t set an example worth following to our children. As The Message reminds us so beautifully, we have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.
Just be you. Don’t worry about what other people do.
Don’t give up
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest
if we do not give up. ~ Galatians 6:9
Homeschooling is a gift to many families, ours included, but that doesn’t mean it comes without challenges, conflict, or sacrifices. When it’s hard — and it often is — we can hold on to the promise that our perseverance will pay off. It makes a difference.
We can also take heart in knowing that there will be fruit, a harvest to reap, somewhere along the way. The key is understanding that everything we do isn’t going to benefit us personally. We may not be the ones to reap the harvest, but our diligence and commitment in serving our families this way will bless someone in someway.
On the hard days, it helps to remind myself that I have the privilege in helping my children become who God needs them to be through homeschooling. All of this talking to them, walking along side them, and equipping them for life is bigger than me. It’s bigger than my kids. It’s about the big picture and training them to impact others in the name of Christ. It will pay off and it’s humbling to have a part in it.
It’s not ours to claim.
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. ~ Galatians 6:14
In regards to homeschooling, what I keep hearing over and over again in Galatians is the reminder that none of this is ours to claim, — the work we put into it, the academic successes, the love of learning — it’s just not ours. We dare not think for a moment that our homeschooling is our own doing. It is our Lord Jesus who empowers us to do all things, who equips us to hold hearts, shape lives, and educate our children when the world says we’re not good enough to do so. We boast in the Savior and in Him alone. We’re nothing on our own.
I’m thankful that Paul’s words to the people of Galatia are still working on my heart all these years later. I need the reminders in these verses just as much as the Galatians. I’m even more thankful that God uses His Word to speak the things we need the most exactly when we need to hear them.