"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29
The verse above is my school's theme verse this year. I preface my post with it to remind both you and myself that my purpose in writing this post is to build up others. I'm thinking specifically tonight of those who might be in situations similar to mine.
Today during my lunch break I was madly correcting Spelling books, knowing I had just enough time, when I realized one book was not done. I can't explain the reason, but the consequences that this one little half-done assignment would mean sent me into instant fear and tears. I kept plowing through another book because of my time constraint, when I realized that God would probably want to be with me during this moment of frustration. So, I stopped correcting for a minute.
This is not like me. "Plowing through" describes me much better than "stopped for a minute." But God has brought me to a place by His grace where I'm seeing my minute-by-minute need for Him. I opened my Bible to look for a psalm of lament (thanks Dr. Seevers) because I wanted to put my feelings into words. There in my classroom, as I wept through Psalm 109, my eyes caught the words of 108. "My heart is steadfast, O God! I will sing and make melody with all my being!" What a thing to read when feeling terrible-- it actually encouraged me. I decided to be steadfast in God at that moment.
Good thing I did, because 45 seconds later, as my tears were still drying, my students came in unexpectedly. To make a loooooong story short, I ended up being the gym teacher, not having my science lesson prepared, and sending a student to the office.
I sent my students away at 3:00 wishing that I could run away for the next three and a half months. Teaching. I feel like I work "with all my heart, as working for God and not for man" and end up being pretty mediocre. I feel like I use every spare minute working or worrying for school and in the end fall behind. Is the enemy just attacking me? What do I do?
I'm not quite sure yet what I will do, but I know what I will not do. I spent the last month and a half of last semester counting down every day until Christmas break, refusing to see how God was using me, complaining often, being angry at my situation, sometimes my students, and sometimes even God. I will not do that this semester. By God's grace and power I WILL joyfully teach each day. I will see hope in even students who are making poor choices. I will not give up on excellence for my classroom.
There are people all around me (and far away) who are encouraging me, praying for me, and willing to help in any way that they can. I'm going to accept encouragement, stay grounded in God's word, and rest when God calls me to.
At the missions conference I recently got to sit in on, I got to talk to the director of my mission and told him that maybe God had called me to Bolivia just to be in one of his sessions that really challenged me. He said, "God first called you to Bolivia to teach fifth grade this year." My calling for this year. My duty. My joy.
Romans 15:13. You will see this often.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.