Through the months of October to November 2017 I grew severely depressed. As many of you are aware, I am an English teacher in urban schools. A teacher’s job, no matter if it is elementary, middle, high, or university level is rigorious and stressful. Teachers are underpaid, underappreciated, and the scape goats for America school systems. Between policy makers and non supportive administrators we’re constantly overloaded with bombarding messages of how we’re failing our students and how education has become an ineffective monster.
These messages come from all directions and there seems to be no reprieve to the modern educator. It was during that time a great spirit of discouragment came over me, as my eyes captured the struggling day to day experiences.
I saw teachers quit left and right, some were close friends, mentors, and others acquaintances. No matter the level of experience, the baggage they carried or backgrounds, the remarks they spoke were homogenous, many left seeing the same problems; I see on the daily basis.
- Students cussing out their instructors and parents, showing no respect to adults.
- The lack of parental involvement and the desire to be invovled in student lives.
- Parents deflecting responsibility and/or making excuses for their children’s reprehensible behavior.
- Lack of administrative support for parent decisions
- Little to no resources or money for struggling schools
- Disclaimer: Not all schools are like this–I have worked in other districts where they face a different assortment of problems. No school is perfect.
As you can quickly deduce, almost anyone in my situation would have grown discouraged, but I am thankful to the Lord God for revealing to me my mistake, my fatal flaw. I had lost focus. I was looking only at external circumstances. Focusing solely on the problems, using all my energy to brainstorm solutions, I felt it was my main duty to be a great educator, almost a hero for these kids. I allowed my negative environment to influence me, instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to master my mind, in spite of it.
It was the daily adversity creating my somber and discouraging attitude. I was no longer joyful and delighted, but a shadow of myself. What I lost was not my purpose, but my vision, the true reason why I am on Earth.
I am here to seek Jesus Christ.
I grew despondent because I made my career, my purpose. My reason for living. Many of us make this unaware yet costly decision, unconsciously.
So I ask you this simple question:
What are you here for?
Sometimes, I admit I can get carried away with the resposnsibilities of this life. I start believing being a teacher is my end all, be all. I put all my strength into creating engaging lessons plans and establishing good classroom managment that I forget I am not in control of anything. I forget I have no power over how my future principal will behave or if the new English department will treat me respectfully. I cannot carry my career or my teaching legacy with me into the new life.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
Heaven is my home. I am a stranger in these lands. After an unbeliever accepts Jesus Christ into their life, believing Jesus is the Son of God and He saved us from our sins. The person is reborn or the Bible calls it “born again.” Being born of a new spirit, new family, and new kingdom. Everything about us is brand new, for new creations in Christ Jesus, no longer is sin our master. So if we’re brand new creatures we are called to live out our lives in obedience to our new positions. We’re christians, children of God. Our Father is God. Our Savior is Jesus. Our teacher is the Holy Spirit. We have a new creed. A Christian trying to live like the world is a healthy man returning to his vomit. Our past is dead. Our desires for worldly things has been put to death by the power of Jesus Christ.
Each day I have to remind myself and remember this crucial truth:
The Christian’s home is not earth. Why get comfortable? As believers we have to be okay with being uncomfortable, embracing the rough and turbulent waves. If I was not a child of God, then I would seek conformity into this life. But I chose to be a disciple of Jesus Christ to seek Jesus because I want Him. I clearly see my need for the Savior.
He is the fulfillment of all my realizations. He is who I need.
So, I ask you one more time:
What are you here for?
Are you here for the Lord Jesus, getting to know Him or for His blessings and a comfortable life?