I was coming upon the end of my student teaching experience, and was full of nervous energy. I was excited for the end of this uphill trek I’d been on for the last almost four months, but in the pit of my gut, I was scared. Yes, I was scared of the unknown. The big, bad “real world”. The possibilities of rejection time and time again as I applied for jobs. I knew that all would come, but these things weren’t what was shaking me to the core. What was gnawing away at my insides (and at my confidence) was that as I finished up student teaching, I knew that teaching, very possibly, was not for me.
I had just spent 4.5 years in my undergrad program and LOVED my student teaching experience. I had an amazing cooperating teacher, great students, and I even was coincidentally placed at the same school for this experience with my college roommate! How perfect could that be? But deep down under my outward facade of confidence and self-actualization, I was a wreck. How could I move forward into a career in which I was in charge of the education of other people’s’ children? This plagued my mind for months, and I felt completely and utterly lost.
Mark 14:36 (NIV) states, “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Jesus was about to display the greatest act of love in the history of everything. While wrestling with this daunting task set before Him, He knew that it was completely God’s plan. He had to walk in obedience and give His life to save the world. What an act of submission and reverence for the Father, and what an act of limitless, selfless love. Jesus was handing over everything to God’s will and plan for Him. He reminds us that we are not in control, that we must trust in God and His plans, not the world’s. This is a frightening concept, and I was frightened as I prepared to move into teaching for real. The loss of control can send anyone into a tailspin. As people, we plan, plan, plan. We set goals, strive to achieve them, and expect that we’ll get what we want an work so hard for. We are into instant gratification. When we don’t get what we want, whining sometimes ensues. Pouting, complaining, huffing and puffing are consistent and the norm. And tears will be shed. Oh, those salty little drops of frustration which signal and elicit concern from others are a dead giveaway to our possible failures, our unmet goals, our lowered expectations.
If God loves us so much as the Bible says, why doesn’t he just give us what we want? The world may be a better place if we were all happy, content, and self-actualized. Life would be so much better…right? But…
- Do we give our children everything they want, on a whim, regardless of cost?
- Are we people-pleasers, giving into everyone else’s needs, with no concern for consequence?
- If yes, are we ever truly content and happy and fulfilled?
But probably not. There would be no growth. There would be no movement toward Him. There would be no appreciation of His grace and endless blessings.
Learning and growing, thriving and surviving…that all happens when we don’t automatically get what we want. We have to work for our goals. We need to experience loss and failure to appreciate what we have, what we’ve achieved, and what He’s blessed upon us. We need to be obedient to His plan for us. We don’t have everything figured out, and we shouldn’t! But there is something we should want above everything else, something we should crave uncontrollably….HIM. God. Our Savior. He’s our Heavenly Father, and as parents do, they lovingly care for us, instruct, and they do not give in to every whim that we children want. They have our best interests at heart, and do all that they do because they love us, which is exactly what He does for each and every one of us. How amazing is that? To know we are so loved and cared for, that we have this God who knows our hearts and who wants to give us the world, but does so in His own perfect plan.
So, as for my teaching experience? I’m currently completing year #10. I cannot believe how fast the time has flown. And even though doubts and insecurities creep up all the time, I take the steps I need to fulfill His unique plan for me. Will I do this job forever? Quite possibly. I’m not completely sure. But it’s not what I will, it’s what He wills.