word of the week: spiral \ˈspī-rəl\ the path of a point in a plane moving around a central point while continuously receding from or approaching it
In the education world, we throw around the term "spiral" quite frequently. It means that once we teach a concept, we don't leave it behind entirely. Instead, we continue to "spiral" back to it in order to keep it fresh in the minds of our students. My students, for instance, just took a test on the structure of plot. One of the terms they needed to know was foreshadowing. Now it doesn't do them any good if I never mention it again in class. In fact, they will almost certainly forget it. But, if I continue to incorporate it wherever possible, the lesson is more likely to stick.
It struck me this week that the same is true of my life.
One of the defining moments of my life took place during my freshman year of college. Those who know me well know that I spent that first semester in my dorm room crying behind my closed door almost every day. I lost the sense of who I was that semester and God spent quite a bit of time refining me and reminding me where my identity is actually rooted.
I was a busy bee high school student who dipped my toes in every pool I could. I danced, I played volleyball, I sang in the show choir, I served on student council, and I thought I was pretty important. However, when I had none of that to identify with that first year of college, I lost myself. I began to believe the lie that I was unimportant.
Then I read pages 51-53 in Neil T. Anderson's book Victory Over the Darkness and I was reminded of the truth.
I am a child of God (John 1:12)
I am Christ's friend (John 15:15)
I am God's workmanship (Eph. 2:10)
I am righteous and holy (Eph. 4:24)
I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved (Col 3:12)
What a difference it made when I let God define who I was as opposed to the things I was involved in.
Fast forward five years. I wanted to be a teacher, but I couldn't quite convince anyone to hire me. My sadness came from the fact that I wasn't able to do what I felt God had called me to do. But my identity isn't in the fact that I am a teacher. The lesson spiraled back and met me exactly where I was.
Fast forward two years. People ask me quite often what it's like being "the wife of a medical student". While the description is true, I am reminded again that that is not what defines who I am.
It's funny how such a small truth can have such a profound impact.
I wouldn't be a very good teacher if I expected my students to understand a concept the first time around. So, it makes perfect sense that the things God wants me to learn would be spiraled throughout my life again and again and again.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow if your wings.