Saturday, October 28, 2017

i don't like gray areas

I am well in to my third month of teaching 8th grade lit and writing.
This week I almost had a nervous breakdown over in-text citations.
What, pray tell, are in-text citations?
My point exactly.

During our class discussion about how to include an in-text citation,
it became apparent that the real problem was not so much  figuring out
HOW to cite a fact in the paper as it was figuring out WHICH facts should they be citing.
Excellent question...for anyone but me.

It was at this point in our class dialogue that a slight sweat broke out upon my brow.
I could see the confusion in their eyes.
I am pretty sure they could see it in mine.

I told them with confidence, "You don't need to cite birthdays or common information like that."
One student asked, "But what is common information and what isn't?"
This unleashed another volley of questions.

What I finally said was, "Don't cite anything just yet. I need to get back to you."
Because clearly, I am the un-expert of in-text citations.

I talked with several master teachers and high school teachers and guess what?
It is somewhat SUBJECTIVE what you cite in a paper.
Each teacher had a little different take on it.
Well, just stick a fork in me and I'm done, folks.

Because I need black and white.
I don't like maybes or gray areas.
I like certainty and rights and wrongs.
This is true for me in lit is true for me in life.

The problem is, that life and faith, like in-text citations, have a whole lot of gray about them.
This is so confusing. I can't seem to get it right.
This transition to full-time teaching has me spinning.
It has upended our family norms not mention the fact that things like citing
facts for an 8th grade paper can keep me up at night.
Who ever thought that would be a thing?

This shift has left me anxious. I may or may not have been experiencing mild heart palpations.
I have been feeling uncertain go-tos.
I am left thinking...
Am I doing what He wants me to do? And I becoming who He wants me to become?
Am I messing it up? (I'm pretty sure I am messing it up.)
So much seems unclear right now...super gray.

The truth is that so much of fog. Mysterious. Uncertain. Nebulous.
Not one of us get it quite right. Figuring it out on our own doesn't work so well.
We are foverer fumbling in this life.
Getting to God on our own merit just isn't happening.
All have sinned and come short (SUPER SHORT) of the glory of God.

That is why Jesus came.
He is about the glory.
He knows we have none of our He fits us with His.
He promises to transform us from glory to glory.

The thing is? It is borrowed glory.
We believe in Him....and He credits us with His righteousness.
We trust Him...and He cracks the darkness of our lives with His brightness.
We hold on to Him with arms wrapped tight...and He delivers us.
All the glory belongs to Him.

Thank goodness it is not up to us to get it right.
Thank the sweet Lord that we don't have to figure it all out.

His glory cuts through the gray.
We are bent and broken and He speaks healing and hope over our lives.
We are lost in the storm and He warms our wind-swept hearts with the light of His love.
We are locked in confusion and He bursts in with clarity and guidance.
We are anxious and vexed and worried and He wraps a blanket of peace around us.
We are exhausted and bone weary and He makes us lie down in green pastures.
We are soul-hungry and He brings Sunday dinner...
a fortifying banquet to celebrate His goodness and strengthen our hearts.
That is glory.

We have to remember that the penetrating, gray fog of life is sitting right
over the ever-widening, unending ocean of God's love.
And you and me, we sit smack dab in the center of that ocean.
It flows over and around us and it bouys us up.
And His love is not subjective. It is the same yesterday, today and forever. Vast. Limitless.
He doesn't change His mind about us. He loves us all day. Every day.
Even when life feels gray.

The truth is we are surrounded on all sides by His love.
We need to keep reminding each other of that.
Because we seem to forget when the fog rolls in.

Jesus loves you, friend. And He loves me.
He is with us, holding us, keeping us, preserving us, lifting us up, in this moment in time.
That is a solid, unbending fact.
That is the embodiment of truth.
And THAT....
is anything but gray.

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