I always feel most like myself when I’m writing or running, probably because that’s when I can clearly hear God. I’ve also realized God tells me what to write during worship and sermons, and I have to pull out my phone to make a note or the idea will escape me. That happened last Tuesday during Paradigm, but when I finally had time to write over the weekend, I realized I wasn’t really feeling at peace, which was the first idea God gave me during worship on Tuesday.
Around me the world is as chaotic and broken as ever, but I’ve sincerely felt at peace the last few months (honestly ever since I started blogging again; read my first post back here), even during crazy back to school time. I’ve always loved the fall and everything that comes with back to school and spooky season. The only thing missing this year is the cool, crisp weather. It’s October and still 80 degrees Fahrenheit in Kansas City, and I’m sweating in my cardigans and boots.
This week, though, my peace started to melt away at work because in one class in particular, I’ve been working so much harder than my students and I’m starting to feel burnt out. I worry so much about what other people think of me, and I never wanted to be that teacher who just passes out worksheets to her students and sits at her desk, but I’m starting to believe more and more that this is what my class wants from me. This class last had a “normal” public school education in 7th grade, and all they know of secondary school is look at a screen, complete assignments, and get points.
By the time Thursday came, I was so fed up and cranky that I took a shower and went straight to bed as soon as I got home from work. The previous week, I took a personal day just for me with no real agenda, and that was so refreshing. Admittedly, I think that’s the second personal day I’ve taken in my five years teaching, and I finally understand that it’s something I need to do more often for myself before I completely lose my mind.
Last school year, my district gave us virtual Wednesdays all year, and that was a necessary and appreciated pause in the week to take a breath and catch up on all of the other things teachers have to do besides actually teach. I knew I’d miss that this year — we all do, teachers and students alike — but I hadn’t really felt the toll the school year was taking on my mind and body until last Thursday.
As this weekend started, I let that feeling of burnout seep into my mindset about everything: spending quality time with friends and family, cleaning the house, doing grad school work. I was convinced I would have no time for myself to just relax or write a blog post, but I’m writing this at 3:00 pm on a Sunday after going on a two-mile run and discovering I actually met a grad school deadline a whole week early.
While I’m learning to verbally process more with my trusted people and also that physical rest is equally as important as physical activity, I’m at my best and the most connected to God’s purpose for me when I’ve crafted words to share with anyone willing to read them or when pushing my body to work hard the way God designed. That’s when I feel the peace of God, which really does transcend all human understanding (Philippians 4:7).