“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 TLB)
I am learning to practice faith instead of fear. Both are responses to our circumstances. When facing large or small situations in life, we can delve into a habit of fear and anxiety, OR we can turn to the Lord in dependent trust. I want to be a woman whose “default” response is to trust in the Lord–no matter what. So I have begun to practice faith in the “small things” that I face daily.
School was tough today. It was the first day back after our week off for Thanksgiving. Having gone to bed late last night, I had trouble getting up early. I wasn’t motivated to get back into the routine of teaching, and I was tired. I enjoyed my class but just felt “off” all day. Toward the end of the day, my principal called me from his office to inform me that I might not get paid for the sick day that I took the day before break because it’s a “black-out day” (the day before a long break), and I don’t have a doctor’s note that I was sick.
My heart wanted to be fearful or anxious. I struggled with taking a sick day to begin with because I hold myself to a high standard with my health. I don’t want to be seen as “weak” because I had to stay home from school. But I was not feeling well all that week and needed the day off. Even if the school district chooses not to pay me for that day, I did what was necessary, and God will take care of me. He is in control of the timing and the details.
I also sometimes feel like I’m not teaching things “right” this year because of all the new Common Core that is coming into education. There’s a lot of pressure to teach to Common Core and raise the standards…only I don’t know what that all looks like. It can be discouraging, and today I came home feeling overwhelmed and as if the day was a pointless failure.
Instead of giving in to worry and discouragement though, I started thinking about what fearing the Lord in this situation would look like–instead of fearing my principal or school district or others who may be evaluating me. What does the Lord expect of me? Did I meet His goals today? He doesn’t expect me to be a perfect teacher. Or to teach the “right” way. Or to have everything worked out. God expects me to love my students with His love, and therefore glorify Him. Did I do that today?
My students were delighted to see me and give me hugs after our long week apart. I took the time to listen to what they did over break and how they were feeling today. I laughed with them and had fun with them while they were learning. I stayed after school with a poverty-stricken student to share a bag of clothes that was donated for her–away from the prying eyes of the students who don’t struggle in the ways she does. Upon thinking about this, I realized that the day wasn’t so bad after all.
God is at work always. He is in control of all the details so that I don’t have to be. He knows what I need and cares deeply for me. And He is always right with me through everything.