My life over the past few months has been filled with reflection. I’ve reflected on so many things throughout my life. I’ve enjoyed going back to old journals and remembering what was weighing most heavily on my heart and infiltrating my thoughts. Each year was different, and it’s amazing to see how I’ve transformed over the years into the person I am today.
Not My Plan – It Just Happened
I never intended to be a teacher. As a matter-of-fact it was not even something that crossed my mind. One day I might write the story of how I became a teacher, but today is for a different purpose. God truly led me to this position. I never realized there was a passion inside of me for teens or young adults until he placed me in a position for which I never applied just moments after praying for financial provision.
My passion continued to grow, and my heart was changing although I didn’t realize it at the time. Now I can look back and see how completely different I am in the way I view people and the way my heart feels. You see, God has created all of us with a purpose in mind. He also equipped every one of us with the tools we need to fulfill that purpose, and at just the right time he places passion within each of us. That passion will lead us exactly where we should go.
Before I continue I want to stress the following because you, unfortunately, might hear every so often that you shouldn’t follow that passion. You might hear that you shouldn’t let your passion be a driving force to direct you in your actions. Sometimes even the most admired person may say such words to you, but if you hear nothing else that I say today, please hear this. God placed that passion inside of you. It’s there to lead you to your destiny which he planned before he ever created you. Do NOT suppress it, and do NOT turn away from it because it doesn’t fit other people’s idea of who you should be. God is the one who created you. He NEVER messes up when he places that passion in you, and you’ll find that you reach a point where it is burning your insides with an intensity that can no longer be contained. A fire will ignite in the depths of your soul, and the flames will be ready to burst out because it coincides with the purpose in which you were created. Let the flame burn while you follow your call.
It’s Okay to Question Your Purpose
I began teaching and fell in love with it back in 2002. However, I kept running into wall after wall after wall, and sometimes those walls were huge. Sometimes the walls weren’t just sedentary. Sometimes they moved and, like a big bully, they pushed me down when I tried to find a way to pass them. I had to learn how to fight back, and I had to learn that sometimes fighting back meant simply standing still.
It was only my second year teaching, and I began to question if it really was my purpose. I questioned if there was something else I should be doing instead because that particular year was spent fighting those walls non-stop. I was tired in every way possible. After only 2 years, I couldn’t imagine spending many more doing the same thing. I also had been praying about starting a family. I wasn’t sure if the time was right, and the stress of work made it difficult to imagine adding that kind of responsibility to my life, but my heart desired to be a mom. So I talked to God about it often. I recently found in an old journal the answer God had given me after praying one day. It isn’t uncommon for me to write my prayer, and as I pray I begin writing the words I hear being spoken over me. As I prayed about how difficult the situation was, God responded. As I look back today, I see exactly what these words mean. I’m not sure I fully understood then, but it touches me now in a way I can’t quite explain.
Feb. 25, 2004
I gave you a sympathetic heart. You see things that other people can’t see. There are so many people who just need to “borrow your heart.” I promise that you have enough to share. Be more sensitive to those people. Those that seem distant are really the ones reaching out for help.
Why do you think I called you into this profession? These are the people who need you the most. They need someone who knows me and will show them who I am through actions. You don’t always have to tell them. Show them that I’m your Daddy. Let them know by your actions that I can be theirs, too.
Don’t think so much about leaving your profession – they need you! I have provided you with a family. I’ll let you know when it’s time for biological children. Right now, focus on the many other children I’ve given you. There are so many from broken homes and with dangerous backgrounds. They’ve never seen what love is. They desperately need to see love. Be that love they need.
At the time I didn’t realize this is who I was. I didn’t realize I could possibly be influential in any other way than teaching what they were required to know by the end of the school year. I know now. I’ve learned my job isn’t necessarily about teaching the curriculum, which is why I think I’m in the setting I am today. My role as a teacher is so much more than I knew. I am fulfilling my purpose, and just as I believe God spoke these words to me that day, he equipped me with a heart to love these students and show them they are worthy of love even during their darkest moments.
Just in the past 2 years I’ve heard for the first time that students like being in my classroom because they don’t feel judged by me. They don’t feel like I treat them differently for the things they’ve done, and they feel safe in my room. Interesting enough, those same students want to be a better person because they don’t want me to be disappointed in them. Isn’t it strange how that works? They’re inspired to make better decisions because of someone who doesn’t treat them differently when they mess up and because of someone who doesn’t judge them for those mistakes? In fact, those who have judged and treated them differently have only made them feel like failures, and they don’t believe they can be anything different than those mistakes they’ve made . . . so they continue making them. In their minds they’re already failures, so why not keep walking the same path? These students need someone encouraging them and speaking life into them. What a privilege it is to be able to be one of the people who can do that for them! I’m so thankful I listened to God’s call and his words as he responded to my prayers.
You certainly can do the same. If you know God has called you to do something, never look around at the obstacles. I assure you there will be many. I also can assure you that God will hold your hand every step of the way, and if you get to a point of giving up, just go to him and tell him how you feel. Ask God to reveal to you why he’s called you to do what he has. He will. If you push through, you will surely find blessings which overflow from every part of your life.
I want to leave you with some scripture about purpose – YOUR purpose:
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:13-16
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. . . Jeremiah 1:5
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you.” Jeremiah 29:11-14a
It’s interesting to see the change in myself in a little more than a year. Check out a previous post about how I wanted God to change my heart and not judge others the way I always did. From the Mind of the Hurt Never underestimate how powerful your prayers are.
You might also enjoy Confessions of a High School Spanish Teacher
Very difficult to get high school students to cooperate sometimes.