May 27, 2015
Knowing the Right Way to Go
Rest, blessed rest! Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." My burden is heavy, so very heavy, and I have found sweet rest in my Savior. He gives me the blessed eternal rest I desire, but He also provides temporal rest for me daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. He knows my needs, He knows my limits (Selah!), and He knows what I can and cannot do (my skills, abilities, talents, etc.). Yes, my Lord knows me so well, and I can rest in that fact. He may test and try my faith in order to show me where I lack trust or belief, but He never presses me beyond what I can bear. He knows how to bend me without breaking me, and for that, I am thankful. He is good to me, so very good to me.
Today, I think about this blessed rest, this summer rest that the Lord has given to me. I worked very hard this past year, and though I don't mean to put down anyone who works a different kind of schedule, I do know that generally speaking, teachers work very hard for a short period of time. Most of the time, we work overtime without pay just to keep up with the demands of our students and administration. It means that we put in extra hours during each week of the school year, and when summer comes, we crash because of the exhaustion of keeping to such a demanding schedule. I can attest to this pattern of hard/heavy work followed by summer ease because this is what I have experienced since I became a teacher in 2013. Prior to teaching, I worked in corporate business where I was expected to put in 40 hours a week for 50 weeks a year (with a two week vacation). I had sick time, but it was frowned on, so I rarely took it unless I was really, really ill. I was also expected to travel, to come into the office or stay late in the office whenever "business dictated." I did all these things because it was part of my job. However, as a teacher, I don't get time off during the year unless it is a holiday. I do get Spring/Fall break, but usually I have some conferences or a ton of papers to grade during that time. My holidays are off, which I love because I am a "Christmas Gal!" And, then of course, I get my summers off as well. In short, teachers work very hard during the school year, and the months off (without pay) are time to recoup from the heavy workload. I am thankful to be a teacher, and to have my summers off. I thank the Lord for His provision of good rest.
Leaning on the Lord
I am still in a quandary over which way to go for a career. I love teaching, but it is not my strongest asset. I am more skilled as an administrator, and I enjoy this type of work. But this type of work brings a 40 hour workweek, a year-round schedule, and the expectation of no long-term rest. If I stay in teaching, which is where I am now, I am working in what Peter Northouse (2015) calls an unrealized strength (p. 60). Unrealized strengths are areas of leadership skill where we are adept but not normally called on to use. In my case, teaching is not my strongest suit, but it is something I can do well, when asked to do it. I normally do not choose to teach, so I don't practice it regularly. However, since I became a teacher in 2013, I have spent the majority of my time learning how to be a good teacher. I have come pretty far since then, but I still feel like it is not easy for me to do. I know how to do administrative work, and it comes naturally and easy for me. Teaching requires a great deal of mental and physical effort, and it is not always a natural ability. I must work really hard to teach, and at times, when the stress level and burden increase, I feel so weighed down and empty. I feel like I run on empty a lot during the year, and I don't like feeling so low and out of control.
Right now, I am considering whether to stay in this career or move into higher education administration. I am open to both, and I have confessed this to the Lord. Your will, Lord; your will! Yet, I find that I am not settled, not completely settled on either path. Why is this so? Why do I feel so unsettled? I think perhaps it is because I am not confident that I am doing the right thing, that I am going the right way. I wonder if I should be doing something different. I wonder if there is another way. Yet, the Lord seems content to keep me where I am, and that must mean something. It must mean something.
The Lord knows my needs, and He knows where He wants me to go. What does He want me to do? Where does He want me to go?
Just yesterday, I was thinking about this, wondering again if I am going the right way. Am I Lord? Is this your will for my life? Am I sensing your movement, your direction, your leading? I believe I am. I feel it inside of me, and I think it makes good sense to me. I also have peace, general peace, that seems to say to me "sit back and rest, let it be, let go." I would like to have perfect peace, peace that tells me in no uncertain terms, "Yes, you are right where you belong," but this peace is evading me. Is it me? Am I wanting something I cannot have at this time? Am I asking for the wrong thing, Lord?
When will this peace finally come to me? When will I finally rest, cease striving, and just let the Lord do what He intends to do with my life? Soon, I hope. Soon.
I am leaning in and abiding in the Lord. I am waiting upon Him for His movement in my life. I am trusting Him to provide, to meet every need, and to grant me the desires of my heart. I know Him, and I know His way. I am struggling a bit with the waiting, with the wanting, with the needing of resolution, and yet, He says to be patient. It is hard, so very hard for me right now.
Part of my issue, and I know it is that my life is uncertain. I am in this very odd place where I cannot just pick up and move. I want to move. I want to go. I want to be in this new place, living and experiencing all the Lord has for me. Yet, I must tarry here, stay here, remain here -- for a time. It is so hard to do, so hard when I feel inside like I am going to burst wide open at any time, when I am going to melt down and crumble. Patience is a virtue, and it must be something I need to learn because the Lord is giving me plenty of practice in waiting patiently for His desire plan to come to pass. Yes, Lord, I will wait. I will wait for you to do your work in me and through me this good day.
Today, I wait. Tomorrow, I will wait. Some day soon, the Lord will release me to go, and it will be good, very good. Until then, I must do the work He has assigned to me. I must complete all my tasks, all my assignments, and I must patiently fulfill my obligations. He is good, so very good, and I know His timing is perfect.
Yes, Lord, I will wait.
Northouse, P. G. (2015). Introduction to leadership: Concepts and practice. Los Angeles: Sage.