Encouragement for the "I Don't Want To" Moments
I went back to school this week. Not as a student, as a teacher. Christmas Break is over, and it’s time to get back to reality and back to work. This job was an answer to prayer in so many ways—and it’s a job I said I’d never do again.
Before we ever went overseas, I taught first grade for a year. That was one tough year. First year teacher, mid-year created class, and a group of students who hadn’t been told why they had been moved made for a deadly combination and one defeated teacher when the end of the year rolled around.
When we moved back from Ireland the first time, the plan was that I would teach while my husband went to graduate school.
Well, you know how to make God laugh, right? Make a plan.
It wasn’t in His plan for me to teach that year…or any of the following ten years. As time went on, the realization grew stronger and stronger within my heart. I never wanted to teach again.
I love kids, and I love learning, but the farther removed I was from the classroom, the happier I became.
When we returned to the states and knew we would be staying, we had no idea what we would do for jobs. I really did not want to teach. As in, I would feel physically ill thinking about it.
“I never want to teach again!”
I said that to my husband, to anyone who asked about if I would return to the classroom, and I said it to God. A lot. And it was true!
However, for the past year and a half, I’ve been planning curriculum and activities for a middle creative writing class. And you know what? I like it.
It all started when I renewed my teaching certificate when we returned to the states. You know, “just in case.” I wanted to be willing to do whatever it was He wanted/asked me to do, including teaching. And I really thought I was willing.
However, when I landed a different job in the publishing industry, I was overjoyed and quite proud that I had been willing to “sacrifice” and go back to the classroom, and grateful God had allowed me to do something else.
Then, towards the end of that year, we needed a little extra income. My husband was already working long hours and I felt it wasn’t fair to ask him to be away from home even more—nor was it fair to our kids. So, after talking with him about it, and praying about it, we decided to explore me tutoring for a company just down the road from our home.
It was just a couple of hours a week, but the money helped and I noticed something changing in me.
My heart was softening towards the kids, and my mind was beginning to spin with ideas and possibilities for lessons that would help the concepts finally click.
God began been working in my heart and changing me from the inside out. I had asked Him to change my heart if He was going to have me teaching again. And friends, He did, and still is doing, just that.
So, when I accepted this middle school position, it wasn’t with dread and clenched fists. It was will a heart full of joy and hands open wide and lifted in gratitude for His faithfulness and provision.
Friends, I learned a long time ago never to tell God never. He has a funny way of working around our demands and ultimatums. Is there something you’re saying never to? Is it something you sense He is actually leading you to do, and you just flat don’t want to?
You’re in good company! The Bible is chalk full of folks who felt the same way. Noah. Moses. Jonah. And Saul, who eventually became Paul and wrote a good chunk of the New Testament, just to name a few.
However, those folks also discovered the key to spiritual happiness and growth. They were honest with God, and then let Him change their hearts and equip them for the job.
Is there something you’re white-knuckling, terrified or too exhausted to consider?
1. Pray. Be honest with God about how you are feeling. Explore why you feel so strongly, and let Him hear all the reasons, excuses, fears, and fatigue fueling those thoughts. Then, ask Him to help you be willing should he ask it of you. Ask Him to change your heart so that you can step out in obedience when He asks.
2. Seek wise advice. Talk with your spouse, pastor, counselor, or trusted friend. Talk through the same things you’ve been praying about. Ask them to pray with you for heart-change. Even if God never asks you to do that thing, the freedom you enjoy from releasing your never is worth the work.
3. Decide your yes. This is where the rubber meets the road. We have to decide if God has our ultimate and eternal yes. Will our answer always be yes, no matter what He asks? Choose now and it makes obedience down the road much easier.
4. Stay close to God. Nothing is more spiritually draining or frustrating than wondering whether or not a certain tug you feel in your heart is from God. Keep your relationship with God close through talking with Him daily, listening to Him, reading His Word and gathering with others who follow Him. The closer your relationship, the easier it will be to discern His voice when He speaks.
So, yes, I’m doing a job a never wanted to do again. But do you know what? It’s no longer drudgery. There is joy, excitement, anticipation. So don’t fear, dear one. He can do a mighty work in you and grow love where you never thought it possible.
So, friend. Are you clinging to a never? Do you need to put your yes on the table? Share in the comments and let’s lift each other up.
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