My friend, Caleb, is an awesome dancer. See him here.
Now, I believe I’m just as awesome, but that’s not true.
There are certain things I try and no matter how hard I practice, I don’t get there. During one of my attempts to become better than I already am, Caleb told me,
“It’s like your students. There are some kids, you could be teaching something really simple and no matter how many ways you teach it, they won’t get it. Just like you; that’s where you are. You don’t get it, yet. But that’s just you. Doesn’t mean you can’t get there, but it won’t be now.”
He doesn’t realize how impactful that statement was to me, but lately and for many years of my life, I’ve struggled with wanting to be someone else or do other things. Please hear me out… it is important and wise to have goals, wants and desires. But what are they rooted in? Sarah and Abraham desired the child that was promised to them; Caleb and Joshua aimed to conquer the Canaanites, and many people throughout Jesus’ ministry desired to be healed. But in all these examples, their trust and faith was in the Lord.
My struggle to be accepted is typically rooted in myself. Think for yourself…where do you feel the most angst, discontentment and surge of comparison? Is it when people don’t invite you somewhere? Someone gets credit that you deserve? When you feel people don’t like you? When someone takes advantage of you or does you dirty? When you see people’s Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Periscope, etc.? When you see people engaged, married…just booed up in general? Achievements of others? People YOUNGER than you doing the things you desire? This list goes ON!
When we do these comparisons, nothing good comes from it. We dig ourselves into a deeper pit of despair than before. What if there’s a better way? What must I do to get out of this pit and see the light? I think it’s summed up in one word: acceptance–otherwise known as “Let go and let God.”
When we realize that anything we have, don’t have, can do and can’t comes from God, we’re free to live our lives! 2 Corinthians 10:12-13 says, “Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another, they are without understanding. But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God has assigned to us.” Paul chose not to compare himself to others because he knew this was not wise! He knew what God had given him. This scripture surfaced during a time when people were questioning Paul’s ministry and basically who he was. I find it coincidental that not too far before this scripture is 2 Corinthians 10:5, which says, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” Too often we’re focusing on lies or things we don’t have adequate information about when we begin to compare or feel discontent. But what if we focused on what is true? What if we focused on what is better? What is best!
Psalm 16:6 says, “The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, indeed I have a beautiful inheritance.” We must first realize that God has already determined where we will be, what we can do and what he wants us to do. We must not fight against him and try to draw our own boundaries. We must accept where he has placed us. For me, this is apparent in many areas of my life. Just last month I had multiple encounters with people just being evil, and I tried so hard to execute my own justice, but I had to accept what Jesus says, and he says in this world we will have trouble. He says he will fight my battles.
In my relationships, I tried so hard not to be friends with certain people because they reminded me of the things I disliked or hadn’t accepted about myself. But when I finally accepted that these are the people God brought into my life, I was able to enjoy them and their company. I realized how awesome these people were. I saw how God was trying to use me in their lives in they in mines. And I ultimately stopped wearing myself out by trying to cross the boundaries God didn’t give me of trying to have different friends. Ultimately, I was able to accept myself. God made no mistake in how He created me and that’s what I have to look to in every moment of discontentment.
We must keep our eyes on Christ and what is above. Scripture confirms this in so many areas. Hebrews 12: 2, “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Psalm 16:8-11, “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure…You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Even Colossians tells us to focus on things above.
So my friend, know that you are not alone in this struggle. Remember we are created to flourish! We are created in His image with a purpose from him. However, we diminish His purpose when we focus on ourselves or what we’re not. We must focus on Him and all He is and all that He’s given us in Him. And when we accept all those truths, we can truly live! We can Let go and let God have His way!
Teacher application: One of the chapters in my textbook for my master’s classes states,
“we cannot control learning but can only increase the probability that certain kinds of behavior will occur.” It is ultimately up to the learner to “make connections.”
We have so many pressures from administration to do certain things, but at the end of the day we have to recognize what is in our control and what is not. This not only pertains to teaching, but life in general. It’s definitely something the Lord is teaching me. We can do our best to make our classroom a classroom that allows students to learn and one where they will, but they must choose to. My kids know my biggest pet peeve is when they take away from the learning of another student. On my end, I will plan, seek out improvement and try to implement new strategies into my classroom. Do what you can and let God do the rest!