Devotions for Teachers: Look Up, Child

May the God who gives hope fill you with all joy and peace by your trusting in him.

-Romans 15:13

You know that pit-in-your-stomach feeling you get when you’re thinking about the week of work ahead of you and you are already dreading it? We call it the Sunday Blues, or I’ve heard the Sunday Scaries, too. Let’s call it what it is, people: anxiety. Anxiety doesn’t deserve a cute-sy name. It’s the worst.

I had a lot of reasons to be anxious about work last week. It was just one of those all-around stressful weeks where everything seemed to hit the fan at once. I don’t know how stressful things know that they should come in sets of, like, FIVE, but that’s what they do. By Wednesday, I was so overwhelmed, I felt sick to my stomach driving to work.

I had my phone playing music that I thought would calm me down, but nothing was working. I switched it over to my girl Lauren Daigle, and the song Look Up, Child came on. The words resonated with me so hard, and I knew then that it was what I was going to write about this week.

The anxiety we are feeling is just that-a feeling. It’s a stress about the what-if’s, or the could-be’s. Anxiety is not grounded in reason. We don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t know that what our week holds for us is going to be bad. More often than not, things turn out just fine. Therefore, it’s one of the biggest wastes of our time. Yet, we all fall prey to it at least every once in a while. If you start feeling that sense of dread, you know what you should do? Look Up, Child.

Where are you now, when all I feel is doubt?

Where are you now, when I can’t figure it out?

I hear you say:

Look Up, Child.

God doesn’t want you to be worried. He already knows what we’re all going to experience this week, and he promises to be in charge of it so we don’t have to be. Jesus said it best:

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:34

It’s not that the Bible teaches us that there aren’t stressful things coming our way. Quite the opposite. the Bible teaches us that more stressful things are coming. My pastor likes like to say that we are all either currently in a storm, just coming out of a storm, or about to enter a storm. The storm is ever-present for all of us. So, what good does it do us to worry about it? Will we prevent the storm from coming? No. Will we somehow change everyone else around us so everything is pleasant and peaceful in our life? Nope. Does stress shield you from a single thing? I wish. So many things that cause us anxiety are because we worry about other people. What OTHER people are going to think of us. What OTHER people are going to do that we may have to respond to. What OTHER people are going to say. But we can’t control other people. It’s counter-intuitive to spend time stressed about something we can’t control.

It’s been said that you absorb the qualities of the five people you spend the most time with. Want to feel more joy? More peace? More confidence that you are handling each day exactly the way you are supposed to? Look up, child. Talk to the one who can give you that sense of calm. You can’t get it anywhere else. Keeping your head down, constantly focused on the humans around you, will give you more human qualities-anxiety, fear, doubt, conflict. You can rise above all of that by carving out some time to talk to Jesus. And in turn, he will give you extra joy and peace that you can spread around to those in your life.

Jesus has got this week under control, friend. If you get into the middle of this week and feel like He’s not with you anymore, all you have to do is look up.

If this resonated with you, feel free to grab the cards below to keep at your desk at school, or somewhere at home, to remind you this week where to turn if you start to feel overwhelmed with anxiety. :)

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Stephanie Sutherland