“Every day God invites us on the same kind of adventure. It’s not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary, He simply invites us. God asks what it is He’s made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribable need of our souls to experience the richness of the world He made. And then, leaning over us, He whispers, “Let’s go do that together.” ― Bob Goff
This is a hard post to write. Mostly because I’ve been searching for the right words to explain, but it’s been difficult. So, let’s just throw this out there:
One week ago, I resigned from teaching.
Yes. As in, the degree I earned – the career I chose to pursue. I quit that.
And, no, I don’t know what I’m doing next.
Before you say anything, you should know I’ve developed this plan to answer anyone who asks what my plans are with, “I’m going to be a bum.” Then I’ll laugh and we’ll move the conversation forward without me ever really having to answer the question.
So, if you’ve inquired over the last few months, I’ve likely come across as wishy-washy because I’ve had no one clear answer or reason. I apologize for that. I promise I’m not as fickle in this decision as it may seem. I’ve been weighing options, mulling around possibilities, and praying fervently for a very long time. A very long time.
As you can imagine, our double-date with cancer this past year impacted this decision. While I’ve wrestled with my desires (or lack thereof) to teach since I started four years ago, facing the thought of living life without M shifted my perspective; it created urgency.
I’ve always had excuses for why I wasn’t happy in my career. My first year teaching, the 75-minute commute made me miserably tired and ate up all my time. My second year, I switched schools and no longer had the commute, but had to start over with new classes, new kids, and new colleagues. My third year was better, but my health was declining; my thyroid was reeking havoc on my emotions, strength, and ability to think clearly. My fourth year began without me; I was 3oo miles away watching my husband suffer through a bone marrow transplant and dragging myself through radiation treatment.
Cancer replaced my time in the classroom with the most trying days of my life…and I found freedom. Don’t get me wrong – I love learning. I love my kids. I have incredible colleagues. I think our school district is the best around.
It’s just, not right.
At the end of the day, I’m not in my niche. There’s plenty of crap to deal with in the teaching world, and I’m willing to put up with it if teaching is what I love. But right now, it’s not. I don’t love it. I feel like I’m pouring myself out and not getting refilled. I’m dousing the water wheel, but it’s not turning. I’m trying to stuff a hole with pieces that don’t fit. So, I’m ceasing to devote such time and energy and passion to something I don’t love.
I need a change.
I made a promise long ago to not let money be the major factor in any decision I make. I’m glad for this because now, when my mind starts to wander, I have a predetermined answer to fall back on. Should I stay and work just for the sake of having a steady job? Should I stay and coast through my responsibilities, but my focus be on what I really want to do? No. My kids deserve better than me “coasting.” If I can’t give them my best, someone else should.
Even more than just “not fitting” in education, my insides have felt as if they would wriggle right out of me. I have other callings (although they aren’t specifically developed yet). It will make me sound like a crazy-Christian-lady to say this but, the Spirit’s been tugging for some time now. And, after all the blatantly obvious ways he was for us during our illnesses, I swore I wouldn’t question him again.
So, here we are.
I do have to confess that I hesitated a bit before officially resigning. I believe I’m a good teacher. I’ve always given my best effort. And I love, I mean, really love my colleagues. There are people in that place that I want to be friends with forever. They took care of us while we were sick – they cleaned our house, raised money, made cards, and checked in on us regularly. They are genuine, good people. On top of this, there are kids that I am forever linked to. I love them as if they were my own flesh and blood. I hate the idea of not getting to see them every day.
This is not a decision that was easy.
“Are you sure?” my principal asked.
Without allowing hesitation to weaken my answer, I nodded.
So, after the initial shock and awkwardness of telling my boss I wouldn’t be returning, I’m beginning to recall excitement. Genuine giddiness on the brink of something new. I’m not “quitting,” I’m opening myself up to possibilities. Creating opportunity. I feel affirmed.
So here’s the plan I have:
- I will write. Because the only thing I know for sure is that I want to write (and Jesus has been continuously nudging me to do so.) I hope to pick up some freelance work.
- I will explore. I will do things I’ve always wanted to do. Mitch and I started a photography class on Tuesday nights this week. It’s a six week course. I’ve always wanted to know more about photography, so we’re doing it.
- I am starting part time as an instructor at Sylvan (the position practically fell in my lap). It’s a different scenario than the public school classroom. I think it will be refreshing (or it will solidify that I’m not supposed to teach in any capacity.)
- I will spend some more time with Advocare.
- I will give of my extra time. FBC. Community. Friends. I will enjoy my more flexible schedule. I will grab coffee and talk, take soup to sick friends, and go for a run in the park when I feel like it.
- I will determine what I want. — So far, I know I want to share people’s stories. I want to better the human condition. I want to make others aware of both the beautiful and painful. I want to create. I want to spend more time with my husband. I want to read and learn and delve into those people’s work that I admire. (Donald Miller, Bob Goff, Jeremy Cowart, etc.)
The rest is up in the air.
One option I’ve explored is to go back to school for a Graphic Design degree. Random, maybe. I think I’d love it. What do you think?
As a tangible way to have progress in writing, and in an effort to include you in my story, I’m going to work to keep posts coming on this blog more regularly. Keep me honest.
So, dear friends, I look forward to seeing you more often around here. And, if you have any suggestions as to what I should do with my life, please feel free to share them with me. (You never know. It may be perfect…or at least good fun.)
Joie de vivre.