From Discontent to Desire
Over the last 2 years, we've all had time to reevaluate our lives, slow down, and get re-centered. I am thankful for the changes that have come about due to that nasty C word, we dare not speak or type. While quarantined, we were able to slow down, enjoy those little moments, rethink what work and family life should look like. I loved slowing down. I was able to hone in on my boys, set boundaries at work, and relish in this time that was put in slow motion. My word for 2021 was desires and over the past year, I've been digging into what my desires truly are. Last year, I started feeling discontent. I wrestled with this word and feeling all year. I knew the desires of my heart would make themselves known at the right time, but who can truly say they love the waiting period? The way this last year unfolded is one for the books.
Early last winter, I began noticing books and podcast being "sent" my way, randomly popping up, and my mind wondering about what my life would look like without teaching within the 4 walls of a public school. I began dreaming of what is most important to me as a mom, wife, and educator. I revisited my course through WOKEN that walked me through a career exploration. This opened my eyes to a desire I had not had time to explore. Entrepreneurship. I've always had dozens of small ideas, but never the time to follow through and give them my 100% effort and time.
To say this was bad timing, would be silly to say now, but to my husband, it was the worst time to be thinking of other career adventures. We just bought our dream home and saying goodbye to my paycheck wouldn't be feasible. After months of dreaming, on my end, and discussing what this might look like, my husband got an interview for a promotion. Now, I share this NOT to brag, but to share every little detail God had his hand on. How He wove everything together that He laid on my heart. This promotion is something Jonathan had been excited about for awhile now, and it seemed to be God's way of answering prayers and reminding us how faithful he is. After interviews and weeks of wondering, Jonathan was given a promotion. One that we would not take lightly.
I remember the moment Jonathan called me during my lunch break. He was offered the job and the increase in his salary was my exact teaching salary. Chills, right? We both cried tears of joy and knew this moment would allow our family to truly live into the desires I felt were laid on my heart this past year.
When I look back on this last year a few words are etched into my heart and mind. Less, slow, margin, desire, and time.
Less, slow, margin, desire, time. These all encompass a desire to slow down, simplify, and enjoy the time that so quickly passes. With these words being brought to the forefront this past year, it allowed me to lean into the desires put on my heart. To pray into those nudges, and follow the heart tugs. I desire more time with my own 2 kids. I have a strong desire to slow down and create margin for my family to sit in. I desire less activities in our schedule, less "work" to do, less fights, less anxiety. These things can all be accomplished, when other things are removed. But how was my family going to accomplish this, when we have such limited hours at night with one another? At the end of the day, we're so drained from the days work, that you have no energy for these. This is not how I want to spend my days.
For years, I have poured my heart and soul into other families children. It was a time I truly loved and valued, and still do. I felt a strong sense of purpose. So fulfilling to connect with these children and their families, and some, build lasting friendships. Now, my purpose is to pour into my own family even more. Make the time to slow down and do less. Pouring into my family will never hurt them, it will only benefit us all.
Educators go through so many seasons throughout our careers. At the beginning, we are that excited and eager new teacher, ready to put everything into practice and continue learning. Then some educators have years to master the grade they teach, classroom management, classroom environment, schedules, etc, and we begin to master our craft. Then we get to the top of that mountain, maybe year 8-10, and think wow, what's next for me? Do I continue, or are my passions elsewhere now? This is where I am at. I am at the top of that mountain deciding if I'm ready to keep climbing, or jump on over to a different mountain.
Everyone knows how hard the last 2+ years were. Pandemic teaching, pandemic parenting, and pandemic life was rough. We had to adjust. We had to do what we could to survive and get by. Some of us are still adjusting and figuring out what's best for our families. I was able to see what teaching looks like virtually. For part of a year, I only had 7-10 kids in-person at one time. I was given time to plan, collaborate, and meet my students needs. I was able to get to know those 7-10 kids on a deep level and know exactly what we needed to focus on. As a society, we knew there would be gaps in every child and adults life due to the pandemic, so there was a sense of 'let's enjoy these moments we have together, and not worry too far ahead".
Adjusting back to the demands after a pandemic, is hard. There is no handbook that shows you how to bounce back "the right way". In education, I feel that the demands are even higher now. Some feel we have lost too much time and/or we have lost too much learning. I highly disagree with these statements, but that's for another time. The demands being asked of educators are excessive, just like they have always been. Balance your normal work load within these 7 hours. Also, get these 24+ students to where they need to be academically and emotionally, although they were in a pandemic for 2 years, but also if there is a C*v** outbreak, create more lessons, and be ready on a dime. Even if it's your weekend or night with your family, you need to be ready. Absurd expectations. Expectations that many teachers feel the need to meet. Expectations that run you down. Expectations that leave little room for creativity, spontaneity, curiosity, and everyone's well being.
There comes a time when you have to say, enough is enough. My well-being and my families well-being deserves more. My enough is now. It's time to give more time to my own 2 kids. Time that I will not get back. Time I want to invest very intentionally. Time for entrepreneurial endeavors. Time to slow down and simplify. Time to breath.
I have the privilege to take a year off of teaching. A privilege that my school district and administrators happily encouraged me to do. A privilege to homeschool my boys and enjoy some freedom and flexibility in their educational journey. A privilege to take a year, or more, and breath and slow down.
Those nudges, those heart pulls, they're not for nothing. Take time to sit in those, pray for them, pray for direction, and pray for discernment. It may just be exactly what you need. Take the time, friends. It won't always be there.