Monday, August 6, 2018

Pack Well For Your Journey

Not too long ago, I posted my triple 'R' blog.  You know, the "Realize, Repent and Return to Teaching" entry.  Well, not wanting anyone to have to flounder like I did in that space of time before I got to the first 'R', I wanted to sort of unpack my attitudinal (I like that word) suitcase from last year with you. Maybe if you see what I mistakenly packed and carried around with me, you won't make the same mistakes that I did.      
                              There's just one condition..
As with any packed suitcase, there are some personal items inside so don't giggle or gasp when I pull out my... well, "unmentionables".  

As you recall, I ended the school year having begrudgingly signed my contract, stalking job search apps, and being depressed because my prospects were slim. How did this happen?  At what point did I start to question my purpose in this profession? 

So that no one gets the idea that God abandons His children. (Yes, He is my Father) The bible is clear that God is very much involved and in control of our lives.  
"All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." - Psalm 139:16
"For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord - Jeremiah 29: 11
"For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose." - Philippians 2: 3

And those are just a few of the scriptures that validate that fact. 

However, we have also choices within the paths and plans that He puts before us.  
"Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it" - Jeremiah 6:16
"This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life..." - Deuteronomy 30:19
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." - Romans 12: 2

And those are just a few scriptures that validate that fact.

So.... one can view teaching as just a job/career or an assignment/plan from God.  The outlook makes all the difference. Once, it registers that what we do is because of God, by God and for Him, it places a level of accountability on us when we get into less than desirable situations.  When we revert back to seeing what we do as just a job instead of God's plan, it can make for a long unpleasant year.

For me, this past school was preceded with warnings about its level of difficulty well before it even began.  Opinions were flying around about new administration and the end of the year academic data for the incoming class was disheartening.  
So I knowingly packed my positive items: 
                                               - prayer
                                                - hope
                                                - chips

Unfortunately, I still had some items left over from the year before in one of those side zippers that I overlooked.
                                     -judgement (that's a whole 'nother blog)
                                     -fear of change(Sweet Jesus, I never seem to unpack that)
                                                        -leftover chips

Then, with each passing bump and curve in the road during the year, I would add three more items in my suitcase
       -disgust  (the offspring of judgement)
       -complaints (an offspring of fear)
       -indifference (the love child of frustration and disgust)

Here's the thing with these items. They aren't items that you would intentionally pack. They can, however,  get in your suitcase and ruin your year when you don't plan about about what to pack or when you let others influence what you take on your trip. 

 Let's face it! In our profession, there are countless opportunities to feel "some kind of way"  concerning the actions of others. However, if we are not praying for God to fix what is broken in those people, we can pick up a pretty pair of judgement, fold it up
neatly, and place it right in our suitcase without batting an eye.  You put enough pieces of that in there and now you're disgusted with a whole group of folks.
And hey! We're teachers.  We're supposed to complain. Right? We have the right to.  Right? I mean, the internet is filled with funny memes and video clips about the perils of teaching....which are often very true.  So I watched them and laughed. I sent them and laughed.  I created them and laughed. But let me tell you, if you are having a tough year, remove yourself from those.  Remove yourself from conversations riddled with complaints and worry that don't end with affirmations or encouragement. It can reaffirm a gnawing suspicion in you that the teaching profession is going downhill with no hope in sight. Don't get fooled into believing that what's going on in education is too big or too insignificant for God to intervene.
1 Timothy 6:20 " O [teacher] (name change) Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge...

There are just some things you don't need to pack!! 

Prayer, hope... and potato chips are good to keep you covered during the school year, but adding the knowledge of God's will, perseverance, and compassion is a must.  While most of us do, the challenge is making sure that we keep  judgement and fear out because it breeds and transforms into frustration, complaining and indifference all of which make our problems bigger than the God who can solve them.  That's where I missed the mark.  It all just got too much to handle....

So before you grace the inside of your school, look at the year before you.  What do you need to have within you to succeed? What do you need to get rid of to succeed?  

Somewhere in the wonderful book we call the Bible is proof that God is willing and able to pour in the wonderful attributes of His Holy Spirit and burn away those which are displeasing to Him. 
Search for His promises among the pages, pray for His guidance, and pack well my friend.
Have a blessed school year

"[Not in your own strength] for it is God who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power to desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure, satisfaction and delight."  
Philippians 2: 13 AMP

The Lord is with you and you are loved,