“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
–2 Corinthians 4:18
I could barely contain my disappointment. The contract I’d waited for came three weeks late. I quickly scanned it. This contract didn’t give me any more benefits than the previous year and in fact, it gave me less preparation time when I’d asked for more. I was still part-time and it didn’t compensate me for my higher education, either.
I mentioned a little bit of that to my friend who I carpooled with. But I didn’t say too much. After all, didn’t I have a job when so many others did not? I didn’t want to sound ungrateful.
On the spur of the moment, I asked my friend to drop me off at my sister’s place, not far from my own apartment. There, I poured out my frustration and dissatisfaction with my job. My sister, always practical, spoke up. “I’m surprised you held on this long. Don’t you know how much stress hurts your health? Plus, there is no balance in your life because you are working all the time.”
I pressed my fingers to my eyes to stop the tears from coming. It just wasn’t fair! The more I put myself out there in this teaching job, the more things seemed to fall apart. I did work all the time. In fact, this year I kept full time hours at the school. I chose to carpool early in the morning. But the time I put in didn’t pay off!
I thought of how it went last year. I struggled with discipline of all ages. The elementary school kids all talked at once. The high school kids mocked me. Parents didn’t even support me. For more than a year, I’d gone up and down on a see-saw of emotions. Some days I felt confident and that God was changing my situation. Other days I felt completely drained.
Toward the end of summer, I’d picked up the reins of stress again as I prepared a student workshop for international students.
At the start of this year, I taught Spanish through sign language to the elementary kids inside their classroom. A dramatic change came over the classes; the presence of their homeroom teacher kept everyone in line. For once, I had a plan and it was working. They actually learned what I wanted them too, and they loved it! The downside: sign language took a long time for me to learn. Then I had to put it all together in a song, which took more time for me to learn and present to the kids. I enjoyed their new enthusiasm…but would that be enough?
In high school, I never seemed to make a strong bridge to the students. Oh, some seemed okay. But I didn’t know how to reach the majority of them. In some classes I had such poor attention, I had to throw out their grades. How had I done it for 27 years? I spent hours planning for my classes now only to discard my plans as my activities didn’t go over well. I racked my brains to see what I would teach the next day. Several students tried to drop one of my classes. This all began to wear on my self-esteem. What had happened to all my teaching skills?
Then a parent called in, and I began to get a feel for what the year would hold. Again.
My sister pointed out that the phone call and the late contract could be blessings in disguise. “You don’t have to sign the contract.”
I thought about it. Normally, I would have just nixed that idea. Quit after a teaching year had begun? Unthinkable! But God spoke to my newly-exhausted heart, “Amy, this contract delay is a gift from me. I am going to use you in a different way now. Trust Me.”
“You are right. ” Weary, and still emotional, I paused to collect my thoughts before I spoke to my sister again. “I will not sign it. For whatever reason, this job doesn’t suit my personality.”
“I told you the reason. You are simply not a disciplinarian. You work well with other kinds of students. You’re not happy because if you were, it wouldn’t matter what you are paid. You’d just get enjoyment out of it. You’d be at peace. You are definitely not at peace.”
I sighed. “I am not impacting these students.”
“You are to be a good steward of your time,” she reminded me, and you spend most of your time working or preparing for and teaching these students. If you are not impacting them, this is not where God wants you.”
But how would I support myself?
God, I cannot see Your plan for me right now. Is it time to give up teaching in the classroom all together? Or do You want to change the direction of my teaching? I don’t know, God. This uncertainty is just like my faulty vision. Everything is blurry. But I choose change. I choose to trust You. I choose to make my time count. When so many aspects of a job don’t come together, I feel You saying to step back. So I will. And I trust You will give me a new role that will impact eternity. I don’t want to rely on the familiar. I want to have the courage to take on the unseen. I do it every day with my eyes. Help me to face any career change You have in store for me with a confidant heart.