wide-open place

Last night, after a particularly awful day of school, I could barely sleep. I tossed, turned, fell asleep and had bad dreams about middle school students yelling at me for no reason, and me feeling the impulse to hurt one of them. Unfortunately I’m not kidding. So when my alarm did not go off on time, and I woke up feeling scared that I actually might follow through with my dream-impulse if I went to school, I decided to call in for a substitute.

So now, it is 11:26 am on a Wednesday and I am at home. A much needed day of prayer and solitude. Yesterday, I spent most of my day complaining. Why do I wake up in the morning to go to a school where I get treated poorly by kids, and feel the burden of responsibility to fix the whole mess? Why do I keep going back? Why does God even have me there? When can I quit?

Today, I am asking wholly different questions. Where is my anger coming from? What is really at the center of this terrible nightmare where the anger I’m stuffing down is coming forth in violence in a dream. Scary.

All my feelings of anger quickly turned to sorrow when I looked at myself in the mirror of the Bible, the Truth. What I’m seeking when I am a teacher at school is power. When I’m seeking power, I want success and influence over students and over my classroom. I want to feel superior. I want to be the best at something–or better yet–I want to be the best at everything.

Since I so desire power and control, when students don’t listen to me, when their homework is not done, when they don’t come to school in uniform, when they yell in my face, I can’t seem to get the influence I want, because my access to power is dependent on their performance, and my feelings.

I’ve bought into a lie. If I’m the best at something (like teaching), or the best at everything (running, cooking, blogging…), then I will be worth something. If I am worth something, then other people will truly love me and respect me.

When I need that kind of affirmation from the world, I have completely forgotten Christ. I have forgotten His love for me. I have forgotten that I don’t need to be the best at anything. In fact, I could be the very worst at everything, and he sees me as worthy because of the immeasurable riches of His grace in His kindness to us in Jesus (Ephesians 2:7). He sees me as valuable. Even if (when) I am the worst.

2 Samuel 22:17-20
“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He pulled me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my distress, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out to a wide-open place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.”