It was the summer of my third year of teaching, and I was mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted.
One particularly stressful day, I cried out to God in my frustration, “God, I want out!”
Believing He heard me, I patiently waited to hear His new direction for me.
However, when I felt God say, “No, daughter, you are right where you need to be,” my heart sank.
I really thought God would provide a new path for me so I could walk away from my teaching career.
Despite feeling overwhelmed and disillusioned about my career, I knew that God was with me. So I pulled myself together and prayed, “Well, if we’re going to do this, Father, I’ll need your help.”
That’s when the Creator of heaven and earth began to help me recognize and embrace why He had placed me in my classroom. He revealed that my purpose in education was to demonstrate the faithfulness of His love to my students, especially the more challenging ones. Once I fully embraced this purpose, I could face the daily challenges and stress of my job with grace and peace. It was a process, but I’m thankful for it.
Maybe you can relate to my story.
Do you ever wonder why you are in the teaching profession? Do you ask yourself if all of the blood, sweat, and tears are really worth it? Do you question if what you do on a day-to-day basis really matters?
If you are asking these same questions that I asked, I encourage you to practice these daily steps that helped me better grasp God’s purpose for my teaching career:
- Develop intimacy with God. Since recognizing and hearing God’s voice requires intimacy with Him, it’s important to spend time cultivating a relationship where you talk to God and He talks to you. You get to know God better when you talk with Him through time spent in prayer and reading God’s Word. When you open your heart to Him, He is always faithful to respond.
- Invite God into your workday. Begin to invite God into your classroom, your schedule, and your interactions with your students. Ask Him to be a part of even the mundane parts of your workday, including your lesson planning, record keeping, and grading. God will not barge into your life. Although He wants to be included in every aspect, He will wait for an invitation from you.
- Recognize God’s presence. Be intentional about acknowledging God’s presence throughout your day. You can accomplish this by praying quick prayers, listening to worship music during breaks and planning time, or reading a devotional at lunch. When confronted with a difficult situation or interaction, you can ask for God’s guidance and intervention before trying to handle it on your own.
It has been a little over 16 years since I asked God to rescue me from teaching. This process has not been easy, but I’m thankful that God used my struggle to strengthen my relationship with Him and reveal His purpose for placing me in my classroom.
And I believe He will do the same for you.
Michele Holiday served in public schools for 16 years in a variety of roles, including teacher, behavior specialist, ESE specialist, and district behavioral program specialist. She currently works as a behavior strategist for Feed Their Needs, LLC, a professional development company she founded that provides classroom and behavior management consultations and workshops for educators.
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