is written due to the following comment a reader left for me:
Please share with the blogging world how you handle the stress of your job. The stress of being a teacher is beginning to really wear on me. I am ready to walk out the door and never come back. It's that bad. Is it because people everywhere are feeling the pinch of these tough economic times and so they take their frustrations out on the first person they come across? Why do I keep ending up in these people's path????? What is the Lord trying to teach me through all of this? I've cried, I've prayed, I've written a dozen resignation letters, I've sought the counsel of others who have gone this way before me. You seem so wise and so content with your job. What am I missing????? What is wrong with me????? If this is indeed my life's calling, why am I so miserable? Will it ever get better?????
I have prayed and prayed about my response to this reader. I so understand her frustration and wanting to throw my hands up and quit. I feel it most days too. For those of you who might not know, I am a school counselor. Each day I see children who are hurting deeply for various reasons. Sometimes they hurt because they lack the love and support of a caring, responsible adult in their life. Sometimes the pain is because grief as touched their life in a profound way at such an early age. Sometimes the pain is due to being harmed emotionally and/or physically by the one who is supposed to love you the most. But even though I complain about my job (just ask my family of educators!), it frustrates me to the point of distraction, it angers me and causes me to be judgemental and harsh about other people and the choices they make, I do love my job.
How, you say?
Because of an incredible journey I have been on for the past 15 years. I have to go back this far to share with you the way I can be content in chaos, distress & frustration.
Fifteen years ago, I was on the path of destruction...all the while working in a church and serving the Lord. The reason it was the path of destruction was because it was the path I had chosen for my life. My priorities were so skewed and my eyes were so blinded to my own sin, I could not hear the voice of God. I was living life for me and me only. In June of 1995, God set off a bomb in my life and blew all of MY plans right out from under me. I felt like I was walking around in a daze picking up pieces of debris and nothing was able to be salvaged.
In August of 1995, I walked through the doors of AMRBC and God began a new work in my life. It was absolutely one of the most painful, yet joyful and peaceful times of my life. He began to reveal to me sin after sin I needed to confess and taught me over and over I must die to self.
So to answer the questions of how I am content? It has NOTHING to do with me and EVERYTHING to do with the Almighty God I serve.
So are the things I have learned on this incredible journey of healing to this point:
- It is so NOT ABOUT ME!
- I have learned the true meaning of a worship lifestyle. Worship happens 24/7. Here's a quote that sums it up quite well: "Worship is an attitude of the heart that continually acknowledges God and values His character." When you claim God's all knowing, all seeing presence in your life and you come to know He is absolutely trustworthy in all situations, life's big struggles become small in HIS PRESENCE.
- It is God who gives me the privilege of loving children, parents and coworkers with His eyes, heart and hands every day.
- It is God who reminds me thousands of times a day how much HE loves the people I am so quick to judge and the judgement is to be left to Him.
- It is God who allows me to work with difficult people with His grace and mercy. I do a lot of confessing here. Grace and mercy are not among my spiritual gifts!
- It is His Word that gives me comfort when I fail (which is daily), forgiveness when I confess, strength in times of weakness, courage in times of fear and His sweet presence each step of the way.
Do I have everything I want? No
Do I have everything I need? YES!
Am I perfectly content everyday? No
Do I trust a sovereign God to work out my life for good? YES
The secret to success has nothing to do with me. Without Him, I am a pitiful, whining mess!
But with Him and the power of His resurrection, I am more than a conqueror.
This is the only advice I can give...taste and see that the Lord is good.
Tomorrow I will share with you the main points from Pastor DJ's sermon Sunday entitled "Being Dedicated in the Struggle".
One last bit of encouragement from His unfailing Word: Read Proverbs 3:5-6 and remember God always keeps His promises to His children.