How do you reinvent yourself?
Maybe it’s just the week I’ve had. Maybe it’s the fact that I lost all my files at work since January 18 in a computer back-up glitch. Maybe it’s because I received a note from a parent of an 11th grader asking for more time on an project (assigned weeks ago) because of ‘homework overload.’
Maybe it’s because it is still below-freezing. Day.And.Night. The winter blues.
Maybe it’s just because I’m tired.
Maybe that’s why I’m asking this question.
This is nothing new. I’ve felt this way before – in the winter, in my teaching career, often at the same time: disgruntled, restless, cranky. But on days like this, my mind wanders and wonders, ‘Is this really what I should be doing? Maybe I’ve already peaked. Passed my prime.’
I hate being the snarky, impatient, grumbly teacher who complains. And on most days, I do love my job.
But today, I just feel tired. Tired of teaching kids who are too lazy to work, who are bored and disinterested, who give shoddy efforts. Tired of the silliness, the games, the casual attitudes. Tired of fighting. Tired of the song-and-dance to get them to pay attention and engage and turn in their work. Tired of the enormous amounts of energy this all takes. Tired of pouring out my heart and soul and feeling like it’s not getting through. Or working. They just don’t care like I do.
It’s draining at best and downright deflating at worst.
I know, they are kids. But they are kids on the cusp of adulthood. Is it too much to ask to see that sometimes?
In fairness, I have some really remarkable students. Students who make eye contact and nod and track with me instead of sleeping on their desks. Students who are diligent and give 100% instead of getting their work done the period before. Or the next day. Or the next week. Or never. Student who care. Students who realize this is all about preparing them for the plans God has for them. I have those students, too. They are my joy.
The other ones… they aren’t bad kids. They are kids. One-on-one, they are likable, pleasant, respectful. But I wonder if I’m losing my edge. I wonder if I’ve been doing this too long. I wonder if maybe 13 years is all I’ve got and I should let fresh, young blood take over.
These are the things I wonder.
So that brings me back to my question: How does one reinvent herself?
I’m not saying I’m walking out of teaching. But sometimes I let my mind wander….what would I do if I weren’t teaching? What would I want to do if I weren’t teaching?
People make these kinds of changes all the time. What would I do?
There’s a part of me that just feels sorry for myself and wants to whine, ‘Why can’t I just have babies and stay at home and write?”
And at the same time, I know that it really isn’t about what I want. It’s really not. It’s about what God wants.
So, I ask the questions:
God, is this where You want me? Are my feelings selfish, just about my own comfortability and needing to feel useful? Do You want me to keep doing what I’m doing as unto You, regardless of their response and the results I see or don’t see?
“How to Reinvent Yourself.” I was writing this post in my head tonight as I was grilling onions and burgers on the Foreman Grill and scrolling through Twitter at the same time.
Immediately, as the phrase entered my head, this is what came up on my Twitter feed:
The very question I was asking. How do I know if what I’m feeling is from God???
I kept reading.
In her post, Amy Carroll gave some really practical advice on this issue: Assessing if your idea lines up with God’s Word, watching for confirmation, and being prepared to do hard work.
She also linked up to another previous post where she talked about how she had lost her zeal for a job she had always loved (teaching, coincidentally) and how God began to shift her calling into something that required her to take a leap of faith.
I’d be lying if I said this whole episode didn’t intrigue me. I have a hard time believing this was an interesting coincidence. However, I have no idea what God is saying, where God is leading me (if anywhere) or what kinds of plans He has for me.
What I can say is that I think the right thing for me to do is to start praying about it. I’m not certain that what I’ve been feeling is just ‘me feeling disgruntled.’ Maybe. But I’m not sure. So I’ll pray.
I don’t feel led to quit my job (right now). I don’t feel like He is calling me anywhere else (for the moment). He hasn’t put any other concrete vision on my heart (yet). All I can say is that I ‘think‘ this restlessness I feel ‘might‘ be God shifting things. I don’t know if that means maybe a slight shift in job description or responsibilities or teaching load at work? Or something altogether different? Or just something additional to what I’m doing outside my job?
I don’t know. It’s exciting. And scary.
Or it might be nothing.
But I think it’s right to be asking God these questions and seeing how He answers.
I don’t know how one reinvents oneself. But maybe that is the wrong question to be asking.
Maybe, it’s “God, how might You be reinventing me?”