Clarice James

Smart, Fun, Relatable Fiction

Homework vs. Heartwork


heartworkI had procrastinated that week. Now I was fretting and fussing over the Bible study I needed to complete—mainly because I was three lessons behind and it was due that night.

So, when the phone rang, I didn’t answer it because I had homework to do. When an email popped up, I didn’t respond because I had homework to do. When my husband tried to converse with me over a lunch of leftovers, I ran off and left him with the dishes because I had homework to do.

The Miss Goody-Two-Shoes student I am would never consider showing up with blank pages; it wasn’t an option I could live with. My pride would not be denied!

Finally, I made it down to my prayer closet-slash-office. Once I was settled in my reading chair, I snatched my workbook and Bible and said a quick prayer, “Lord, please no more interruptions. I’ve got homework to do.”

Don’t think of it as homework, Clarice. Think of it as heartwork.

What? Who said that? Was that you, Lord?

Don’t think of it as homework, Clarice. Think of it as heartwork.

Yes, you said that, Lord. What exactly does that mean?

Don’t think of it as homework, Clarice. Think of it as heartwork.

Okay, Lord, I get it; I need to listen to hear you.

I took a few deep breaths, leaned my head back on my chair, and tried to be still. Harder than you think since I’m a doer not a be-stiller. It’s like my mind is always perched on the edge of a seat, half involved with the thing at hand and half involved in the thing just out of reach.

It took some time, but I refused to move until I felt God tell me to.

When that moment came, I opened my workbook slowly and looked at the lesson. It was not a fill-in-the-blanks sort of thing. It was more a multiple choice: 1) I could hurry to finish; 2) I could play hooky; or 3) I could slow down long enough to absorb the teaching.

The lesson was on gentleness, one quality of the fruit of the Spirit. It didn’t mean what I thought it meant: an amiable, kind, sweet, expression of feeling. The Greek word for gentleness is praotes. In the Greek, we find a vastly different meaning. Praotes denotes meekness, submission, humility, and teachability—a peaceful surrender to God’s will and his way.

When I surrendered and let Jesus do his heartwork, the homework came easy.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness [submission, humility, meekness, teachability, your peaceful surrender to God] be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ~ Php 4:4-6  (NIV)

2 thoughts on “Homework vs. Heartwork

  1. Loved this, Clarice. God works in the best of ways, especially when we are quiet – and teachable. Thanks for the blessing of this reminder.


  2. Pingback: Slow Down « It Just Dawned On Me

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