Anticipation of school supply sales used to be such fun. Now all those bins of erasers, pencils and index cards are making me feel slightly woozy. I’m not ready for school supplies! I have no definitive plan for my children academically this fall. I’m trying to figure out options for everyone, and my head is pounding from the sheer weight of my decisions.
Why do I struggle so with decisions? Why can’t I simply make a decision and be done with it?
Each of my five children are in different situations for school, and none of them are where I want them to be. I wish I knew what the best option was for them. At the moment, there are five children, five plans, 500 decisions ... and one confused me.
The bummer is that I’ve always enjoyed school supplies shopping! That’s one of the things I loved about home schooling—school supplies, craft supplies, paper, pencils and markers!
Now I have two little girls who are a little too enamored with writing their names on everything with markers, so the markers have lost their allure. I’m trying to organize and declutter, so purchasing more colored pencils to add to the two shoe boxes full we already have seems a bit redundant. And if I add any more paper or spiral-bound notebooks to this house, people might think it’s an office supply store.
This year, those school supplies didn’t bring a lot of excitement—just panic!
Decision-making is so difficult for me. And these education decisions seem huge! Huge. It feels as if every decision has major repercussions for the present and the future. My head is spinning, and my heart is heavy. I feel anxious.
Which reminds me of Philippians 4:6-7. I have it memorized in one version, but this is it in the Amplified Version:
“Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.
"And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
I know that verse by heart; I wish I really took it to heart. I’m a whirling dervish of anxiety right now. That’s not how God wants me to be. He wants me to trust Him with it all—every big and little decision, every short-term and every long-term decision.
The best way to combat my anxiety is to answer it with Scripture. To preach the gospel to myself. God cares more about me and my children than I can imagine: “All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children” (Is. 54:13, ESV).
God knows exactly what my children need, and in His perfect timing it will happen. I have to let go of wanting everything to happen in my timing: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Prov. 3:5-6, NASB).
I’m choosing not to be anxious. To pray. To trust God and His Word. To move forward with faith. And maybe I’ll just make some decisions already!
Sue Birdseye is an author and single mom of five kids that range from 4 years old to 17 years old. Her book, When Happily Ever After Shatters (Tyndale House), is in bookstores. This is adapted from her blog, uptomytoes.com.