As I sit down to try to write a new post, my mind is filled with clutter and all sorts of things I have to do and think about before the start of this new school year. My first year as a classroom teacher. Which is both terrifying and exciting.
People keep asking me if I’m ready and the answer is I honestly don’t know if I ever will be. The daily pressure of making sure kids that might have unimaginable lives at home feel that my classroom is a safe space. Making sure these students that have never been in the social setting that school provides learn how to interact with others. Making sure these kiddos that have never had to sit still for more than a minute listen and learn. My job depends on all of it. But, more than that, my heart and soul depend on it. Because this is what I was made for.
From the day I started Kindergarten 18 years ago, I wanted to be a teacher. My favorite part of school wasn’t recess. It wasn’t PE or Music. Not even lunchtime. Nope, it was the teachers. That’s all I really remember from school – how much I looked up to and admired every teacher I ever had.
Somewhere along the way, I lost that vision. Sure, being a teacher would’ve been cool, but look at the state of education in our society. Look at how little teachers get paid for the incredible work they do. Why would anyone subject themselves to that, even if they love kids and are passionate about teaching?
Of course that logic seems silly now, but as a young teenager in high school, it wasn’t. I convinced myself that teaching was not the profession for me. Instead, I loved to work with numbers so I would be an accountant. Surely that would be a better choice for me. The pay was good, I liked the work, I could do this.
…until I attended events within the business school in college. Sure, I could do the work just fine and I even still liked it. But I just didn’t fit into the business world. Dressing business casual all the time and doing that type of work left me unfulfilled. So I decided to make a change.
Throughout my years in high school, I was a manager for the boys tennis team. I helped run tournaments and I. Loved. It. It made me so happy and I absolutely loved the critical thinking and problem solving it took to make the events run smoothly. It was my thing and I was good at it. So naturally when I found out I could make running sporting events my career, I jumped on the opportunity and switched my major to Sports Management. I thought it was the perfect fit for me and something I would be really happy doing, especially after taking some of my college classes.
…until I met with different people in that line of work and learned about the lack of job security, the countless overtime hours, the holidays spent away from family, the competitive nature of the field especially for women, the low pay. All of these things added up to show me that maybe this wasn’t the perfect fit I thought it was.
So back to the drawing board I went. I honestly had no idea what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but I knew Accounting and Sports Management were not the answers. Around this time, I remembered always wanting to be a teacher and in a conversation with my mom about what to do, she remembered the same thing.
So I went for it. I applied as soon as I could. Started taking the gen ed courses I needed and hoped for the best. And here I am four years later getting ready to start a new school year as the teacher instead of the student.
I had so many great ideas and plans for my life. Ones that I thought would make me feel happy and fulfilled. But none of them worked out. Why? Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” I wasn’t meant to do those things. They weren’t God’s purpose for me. Teaching was. Teaching is.
So no, I might never be fully ready to start this new journey, but I know that no matter how hard it gets, how tired I feel, how much pressure I have, that I will never have to do it on my own. This is God’s purpose for me and I will “be strong and courageous…for the Lord my God goes with me; He will never leave me nor forsake me” (Deuteronomy 31:6).
Maybe you haven’t discovered your purpose yet. Maybe your purpose isn’t your career. Maybe your purpose is the way you serve in the community. Maybe your purpose is always being that shoulder to lean on for another. Whatever it is, know that even when it gets tough, God has promised to never leave you and to never make you do it alone. So don’t be afraid to pursue that passion or take that leap of faith because God will always see you through.