I was caught off guard by the surge of my heart when the prospect of returning to the classroom emerged. The four years I had previously taught were some of the most strenuous (albeit rewarding) of my entire life. Truth be told, I was somewhat relieved when my husband’s job took us to a remote town with no Catholic school in which I could teach. Three years in a 9 to 5 office job had been a reprieve—especially because there was no work to be completed outside those hours. Thus, when our next move took us to a city with a Catholic high school, I was taken aback by my own excitement when offered a position to teach Theology once again.
Surprise struck again in the first few months of school, but not in a positive way. Everything was different, the biggest difficulty pertaining to the students. A generational shift had occurred, and I was struggling to connect. Suddenly, I was remembering my previous place of employment with rose-colored glasses.
Making matters worse, COVID-19 arrived in America that spring giving an entire new meaning to the term “grueling.” Fast forward twelve months and public opinion of teachers shifted from “heroes” to “villains.” Between the piling demands and diminishing respect, I found myself anxious for days past or a way out.
One day, while reading through the Scriptures pertaining to Jesus’ agony, I was transfixed by the mob which came to arrest Him. They were armed, angry, and looking for the Scapegoat. Faced with the darkness of the moment, the disciples turned and ran. That instant, God used my imagination. Abandoned, Jesus turned to me with a face longing for my faithfulness and asked, “Do you also wish to go away” (John 6:67)?
Cut to the heart, I remained.
“What was good about your last school was Me and your reliance upon Me,” God corrected my weary soul. Focusing on His Word, another passage of Scripture came to mind:
Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his presence continually! // 1 Chronicles 16:11
For two years, I wasted time and energy longing for the past and pining for a future free of suffering. I did not encounter grace there. However, armed with this verse to ground me in the present moment, my assurance in His mission for me has been restored.
// Have you ever doubted a decision you made prayerfully once faced with its difficulties?
// Have you allowed public opinion of you or your profession to sway your focus on what you know to be God’s plans for you?
P.S. Grab this free wallpaper for your phone or computer to remind you of your focus during this summer series (and beyond)!