When I was in learning math in elementary and high school, my teachers used a curriculum that utilized the method of “spiral review”. I loved this type of curriculum because you learn something new each day but you also review previous lessons, so you are CONSTANTLY reviewing subject matter so that you can master it and not forget it. Each lesson builds on prior lessons so to not overwhelm you, while still reviewing important concepts previously learned.
Life can be like that. I have found many subjects that I am CONSTANTLY having to review and can never seem to master. I feel that I may learn the basic concept but then have to review, and review…and review. And while I have the best Teacher, I may not be the best student.
My body image is one of these topics. I KNOW Psalm 139 and that I am perfectly and wonderfully made by my loving Heavenly Father. Yet when I step on the scale, I can instantly become discouraged and anxious about the number that appears. But the illumined number does not define me…God does. It doesn’t matter what the numbers read or don’t read. What matters is that I am a temple of the Holy Spirit and that I take care of my body the best that I can. I am always learning this lesson and will continue to struggle with mastery.
I am weak. God gave me strengths, but He also gave me weaknesses. I KNOW that it’s through my weaknesses that God’s power is made perfect and I see His sufficient grace (2 Corinthians 12:9). But when these weaknesses seem to creep into my life regularly, it can become discouraging. Just when I think I’ve mastered the lesson and am able to move on to the next one, my weaknesses become evident again and I’m forced to rely on His grace for power.
Parenting is a challenge like I have never experienced in my life. Growing up in a small town with the ability to observe a variety of amazing parents (including my own), I thought parenting was all fun and games and laughter and vacations. No one told me about the hard, daily grind of discipline, teaching, mentoring, and comforting that was required. When I go through “those days” with my son, I have to constantly and consistently remind myself that he is a gift from God on loan to me for just a few short years. I am blessed to have a healthy son and realize that there are many couples out there who long for a child of their own. They would do just about anything to have my “bad day” with my son. When those “bad days” come, I remember that I have to be consistent in my love for my son as well as my discipline and expectations. When I’m consistent, then he is more likely to be consistent at well.
Marriage is another area that I find myself needing a spiral review. I need to read Ephesians 5:22-33 almost every day to remind myself of how God wants me to act in my marriage. You see, wives are instructed to submit to their husbands while husbands are instructed to love their wives. When I am submissive to Hubby, he’s better at loving me. When Hubby is loving toward me, it’s easier for me to submit to him. But when I become stubborn or arrogant, I also become harder to love. It’s difficult balance to achieve, yet it is very achievable. However, it often includes a review of the requirements.
My service as a Christian is also something God is consistently teaching me about. He is reminding me that my service to Him needs to be from pure motives. My service in the church and community, my actions in ALL that I do, need to be because I’m working for HIM and not for anyone else (Colossians 3:23-24). My attitude during my service needs to reflect His love and purpose. It needs to be for His glory. When I do things selfishly, I find myself frustrated, exhausted, hurt, and most likely, I’m hurting others. That’s when God brings me back to the original lesson and finds a different method to teach me.
Do you have lessons in your life that God teaches using the spiral review method? If so, don’t get discouraged. Each review is a step closer to mastery. Each day is a day closer to eternity in Glory!