By: Annie Rogers
My students have finally reached the most rewarding phase of kindergarten. They have practiced their letters and sounds. They have been writing and spelling for weeks. Now is the moment of truth. Time to progress onto the next stage: READING.
I work with my kindergarteners in small groups. We each take turns reading one page of a story so that I can listen and correct their pronunciation. After we finish the book together, I pull back. I give each of them their own book to read independently, with my assistance as needed. This is where I have come to discover three types of readers:
1. The fluent reader who needs no assistance.
2. The progressing reader who occasionally asks for help.
3. The struggling reader, who seeks no correction, but makes up their own story based on the pictures (and proceeds to grow fussy with me as if it’s my fault the story is not written their way).
It occurred to me that these three types of readers reflect similar stages in our relationship with God.
The first starts much like a New Year’s Resolution. We are determined to set goals, start fresh, and make every moment with God meaningful. Our spirituality is important, even a priority, and we work hard to nurture that relationship. We are so attuned to God, that with every breath we take, we flow into His presence and will. Everyday is easy. Everyday is beautiful.
The second stage is much like the decline of our resolution as we make our way into the no-longer-new year. We debate canceling our Gym Jesus membership as we catch ourselves crawling back from intimacy with Christ. Our hilltop experience has crashed. Our “Jesus” time has been replaced with other activities. We struggle with our spirituality and frequently result to crying out for help.
The final stage is where we find ourselves at the close of the year as the holidays burst forth with all their vibrant grandeur and endless distraction. Our actual gym membership is definitely canceled by now and has been replaced with the indulgence of everything festive: events, parties, gatherings, feasts, and we can’t forget presents. Just like our physical bodies might not be looking our best anymore, our spirituality is probably not looking so hot either. Jesus has been placed on the back burner, let’s face it, until the new year. Sure, we’ll come and adore baby Jesus and sing the fantastic Christmas carols, but will we really make an effort to pursue intimacy with our Savior? Probably not. We reach the point where we stop coming back to Christ for renewal, assistance, or correction, and instead make up our own story.
It is at this phase that we feel drained and depleted. The world asks so much of us, but what do we have left to give? Christ is right there, waiting for us to simply ask for help, but we are too busy making up our own story to notice. We change the words on the pages to fit our desires and then groan when we feel God tugging at our hearts.
Sometimes we fear the story God has written for us. We think our version is better, so we run with it. Then we hit a roadblock, and suddenly, our story does not make sense anymore. All purpose has vanished and our story has turned dry.
Where do you see yourself at the close of this year? What type of reader have you become? Are you reading the story Christ has written for you, or have you replaced it with your own?
Read more of this Advent Devotional and other Daily Pursuits at www.dailypursuits.blog