Not losing heart.

December 8, 2007

Recently, I had begun to grow weary of teaching.

It wasn’t the grading, lesson planning, responding to emails, or even classroom teaching time itself that wore me out. It was the discipline, the consistent, faithful discipline, that needed to be applied. For all 120 of them.

It really is the “easy way out” to be the anything-can-slide kind of teacher. It’s so much easier just to turn a blind eye to what the students are doing. But love disciplines; love trains. Lord, I’d so much rather not care & pretend I don’t see what they’re doing.

In the past couple weeks, I had to deal with two separate instances of cheating, I confiscated at least 3 cell phones, I called two parents, I had to pull a student aside to talk to her about her attitude in class, I had to separate students who were on the verge of becoming verbally belligerent towards one another, I had to talk to another student about pressuring a classmate to give her all the answers . . . & the list goes on. Really, it’s not enjoyable.

I enjoy everything about teaching . . . except the discipline aspect.

It’s not fun having to discipline when they, at the time, don’t understand how it’s for their good. It’s not fun having to discipline someone for something that I find all too often in my own heart (e.g., talking to that one student about her attitude). It’s not fun seeing in myself the inclination to discipline out of my own frustration rather than out of love. It’s not fun doing things that make you less popular or less liked.

So, a few days ago, while one period was taking notes on part of a film, I began dialoguing with myself in my head, & soon, I felt like I was losing heart. I mean, it actually physically (inside) felt like my heart was giving way. I wanted to give up.

“I’m tired. I don’t have the will or the strength to keep up with all these students. I’m tired of being their authority, tired of being more than just an English teacher.”

Then two verses that I wrote in the front of my teaching journal came to mind:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord & in the strength of His might.” (Ephesians 6:10)
“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course & the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24)

I’m not to be strong in myself or in the strength of my own might. It’s like telling a snail to bear up under the weight of a crushing heel. There’s no way; his thin shell can’t bear that kind of weight.

I wasn’t being strong in the Lord. The pressures of teaching are nothing compared to other burdens & weights, but this just goes to show how weak I truly am. I cannot bear up under this kind of pressure either – at least, not by my own strength.

I still rely on myself rather than Him – my reasoning, my intuition, my personality, my ability to relate with others, my own sheer determination. It’s pride thinking I can reason my own way through difficulties, thinking I can trust my own intuition about people, thinking my personality & relationship with them will eventually win them over (to obedience in the classroom, to salvation), & thinking that I’ll never run out of steam.

I so quickly lost heart because I hung my heart (my trust, my expectations, my strength) on myself. & I was so focused on myself: I’m tired, I’m weary, I don’t want to do this or that. My focus shifted. God (His glory, His gospel, His person) blurred; only me, me, me was in focus.

My sights were set on myself & on other people. My sights weren’t set on the One who gives strength, the One who is able to use faithfulness in the mundane for His purpose & glory.

Can the one who sets her heart on the sovereign, almighty, faithful, kind, loving, patient, faithfully-working-out-His-good-pleasure God ever lose heart?

I don’t “take heart” after reconsidering my own assets or abilities. I’m to “take heart” after considering Him.


One Response to “Not losing heart.”

  1. garnet Says:

    mm. shifting focus!!! thanks for the reminding.. just in time for finals. : )

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