Courtney Strong lives in Houston, Texas, and is a licensed professional counselor, author and speaker. She and her husband, Josh have been married for twelve years and love raising a young superhero and charming little princess.

January 2017

The calendar flips to a clean, blank slate. Just like that, with the simple turning of a page, social norms go from clutching all things vintage Christmas and memories to all things new. 

January always closely resembles the start of a new school year. To me, the beginning of a calendar year holds as much significance as August. For the college student, it brings many similarities, save the fall breeze and football anticipation. A new semester begins with different classes, professors and opportunity. If it’s been a while since you’ve been in high school, college or grad school, take a walk down memory lane with me. Do you remember the semester you found out you got that teacher? The teacher or professor that was known to be challenging, creative, and also the expert on ___________(you fill in the blank). Parents feel this too. Just this year, friends of mine were pleasantly surprised at the start of the school year to find their children, who might have struggled with reading, were paired without request with the teacher with an extensive dyslexia and language arts background. There’s a euphoric rush to finding out your scheduled to be under someone known as the best in the field.

As we start this new year, take an inventory of your goals. Beneath your new year’s resolutions, although maybe not in these exact words, I bet there is a desire to love others better or love others well in 2017.

Vulnerably, I’ll share that many times I feel like I would fit in well to the clanging cymbals category Paul talks of in 1 Corinthians 13.

A sense of extreme wonder and gratitude came over me when I realized Whom I get the chance to learn from this year. He’s the Author of Love. He is Love Himself, and He is my personal teacher and trainer. Hands down, the best teachers are those who expect more out of you than anyone else, give genuine edification, and have an extensive knowledge on the subject matter. Don’t get me wrong. Like it says in Hebrews 12, “no discipline seems pleasant at the time,” right? I didn’t always come running to the teachers who expected more out of me because, well, they expected so much out of me! They had a reputation for being difficult. They loved me at my level, but wanted to take me, sometimes painfully, way beyond my “level.” But those were the ones I still remember and whose lessons I still use in my everyday life.

So it is with Jesus. Yes, we have Him beyond this year or semester. But the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-16). Our days are numbered (Psalm 90:12). So, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to live like it’s a new semester with time trickling away. I know the Teacher will be here with me. I also know there’s a time for reading, and there’s a time we are called for experiential work in the field. We need both. Our world needs both.

And never fear; rather, be excited because you’ve been paired with the Best. Give yourself mental space to ponder that for a minute.

With that, Happy New Year.

Crack open your Book, sharpen your pencils and show up tomorrow for class!

Courtney Strong