Into the Unknown
Into the Unknown. Into the Unknown. The chorus from this popular Frozen 2 song keeps playing over and over in my head. It seems to be appropriate right now. Educators are struggling to navigate the ever-changing expectations of what it means to provide quality educational experiences for their students. All across the country schools and districts are scrambling to ensure minimum requirements are being met, assignments are being completed, and adequate resources are being distributed. Teachers are working overtime as they try to be accessible to their students AND their families at home. Many of us are asking, “When will this end?” No one seems to know. We are headed into the unknown!
Navigating the unknown isn’t foreign to educators. Each year provides unexpected challenges and surprises; however, our current situation feels a bit different. Anxiety is at an all time high. People all over our world are being impacted. Many people are losing jobs, and families are suffering loss. Teachers are concerned about the impact all of this is having on their students.
It is no secret that many children find school to be their safe haven where they are well-fed and well-loved. Even if their students are well cared for at home, teachers simply miss the one-on-one bonding that only occurs within the walls of their classroom.
As we all journey into the unknown, I fear many teachers will put an inordinate amount of pressure on themselves. Pressure to create the perfect lessons, pressure to be accessible, pressure to provide appropriate feedback, pressure to answer parent questions—pressure, pressure, pressure. All that pressure can’t be good. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we shouldn’t do our jobs. We should and with a high level of professionalism. What I am saying is we must set reasonable expectations for ourselves without the guilt. I know…easier said than done.
I want to encourage you to consider some suggestions below.
· Invite Jesus into your situation. Our tendency as human beings is to take matters into our own hands. We have all heard the expression, “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” While there is nothing wrong with taking on a challenge, it is so much easier when God is part of the equation. He wants to be a part of every detail of our lives. Nothing is too insignificant for Him. When we invite him into our situation, we get to see Him work in ways we could never imagine. We will not only receive direction, but we will have a powerful testimony!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. James 1:5-6
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33
· Prioritize. Write down your responsibilities. Pray over them. God will help you prioritize. He will give you a peace about what you can and cannot do. Then rewrite your responsibilities in order of importance. You may even decide to eliminate some. Continue to pray over the list.
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9
The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. Psalm 37:23-24
· Grant yourself grace. Things are not going to be perfect. We are all going to make mistakes during this season. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Do the best you can with what you have. Be obedient. God is able to multiply our efforts and accomplish way more than we could ever hope or imagine.
Remember, no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him. I Corinthians 2:9
· Choose joy. One of my favorite definitions of joy was penned by Kay Warren. “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.”
There will always be things to complain about. Focusing on the negative will ultimately steal our joy. I’m not suggesting we walk around with blinders on. We need to do our best to remedy difficult situations; however, we can’t let circumstances dictate our joy.
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1: 2-4
Journeying into the unknown can be unnerving. None of us chose to be in the situation in which we presently find ourselves. However, rest assured—God knew about it all along. I am choosing not to navigate the unknown without Him. What about you?
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust him.
Psalm 91: 1-2