“Thus says the Lord: What wrong did your ancestors find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthless things, and became worthless themselves?”
It was the Sunday before school started, and it was one of those sermons that make you think, “Ok, you had to have planned that specifically for me.” If my last blog—describing my utter despair at the thought of the upcoming school year—was any indication, I did not have the right mindset to go out and shape the minds of the future leaders of this nation.
“But my people have changed their glory for something that does not profit.”
I know people complain about how the world is completely secularized now, and that’s not what I’m trying to do here. I’m thinking on a personal level: What am I doing with my life?
Why is it that I spend plenty of time complaining about my job and my students instead of being grateful for the fact that I’m employed right out of college? Why is it that I don’t think about God once when I’m at work, but then I can go on and on about how our spiritual lives and our “real” lives are the same thing? Is the focus of my job the money? The summers off? The healthcare? Sometimes I feel like it is. But, if that’s the case, then I’m going about this career completely the wrong way.
I wanted my career to be challenging. I wanted to do something that seemed to be helping the screwed up world we live in. But I’m having a hard time getting back into this mindset.
“The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’”
I think about the kinds of things I do every day. I fall into a system of being on autopilot: I set up my coffee machine before I go to bed so I can just press “Start” when I wake up; I get to school, set up my copies, go to my room, and go back down to the copier by the time they’re finished; I take my bathroom break right before 4th hour. I’m in a rhythm where I’m not completely stressed out. Why, then, do I feel unfulfilled? What I think I’m missing, during all the hours of reliving confrontational situations with students and grading endless essays about Odysseus, is asking myself, Where is God?
I’m looking at teaching from a completely wrong lens.
There used to be a time when I could say with complete confidence that I am a teacher because I want to help shape students into informed, productive citizen of the world—ones who will leave the world better off than they found it. I was focused on social justice. I wanted to help inspire students to be agents of renewal. I feel like I’ve lost that since I’ve started teaching, and I think it’s because I’ve stopped asking, Where is God?
And I need to get that back because, without that question, this career—or any career—just isn’t worth it.
If I look at teaching from a human lens, then I see the evaluation reports, the students with attitude, the OTARs, the administrative mumbo-jumbo. But when I look at it through a heavenly lens, then all of these things that would normally make me feel unfulfilled just become pieces in the bigger puzzle—to work toward the kingdom.
A born-and-and-raised Grand Rapidian, Sarah (’12) is now a seventh grade language arts teacher in the Seattle area. She has been living there since the summer of 2015 with her music teacher husband, Mike. She loves reading, watching Netflix, playing games, watercolor, and walking at the off-leash dog park (even though she does not have a dog).