Lean On Me

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"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5 (NIV)

In my public school class of first graders, some of the students were experiencing behavior problems. The other teacher and I were at our wits end trying to figure out what we could do to make our unruly students settle down. We took away recess, used time outs, and called parents.

Nothing seemed to work until I stopped and realized that I was relying on my own wisdom to improve the situation. As I drove to work the morning following a particularly trying day, I began to pray for my kids by name. I asked God to give me wisdom to deal with each child according to his or her particular needs. More importantly, I acknowledged that I had been trying to go it alone up to that point, and I repented.

An amazing thing happened that day. The kids weren't suddenly perfect angels—what's the fun in that?—but they were much better. Many responded to discipline with a change in behavior. Even some of the more difficult children began to see me as an adult who cared for them and wanted to them to succeed.

I believe this turnaround began when I began to trust God to guide my thoughts and actions during the school year. For a guy like me, that's not easy, and I still catch myself overanalyzing situations. But I am convinced that if our ventures, whatever they may be, are to succeed, they must begin, continue, and end in dependence upon the God who spoke all things into existence.

How are you doing? Are you leaning on God, or are you handling life on your own? If you think you're doing pretty well managing your life without God, watch out. When it all comes crashing down, you'll never know what hit you until it's too late.

— Matt Donnelly, for the ChristianityToday.com staff

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