Right now I have a lot of stress. Some of it is real, I think much of it isn’t. It’s still stress of course, but when it’s not based in reality it’s just creating possibilities that aren’t going to happen (or very unlikely to happen) that only exist to throw me off balance. Over the long lovely weekend, I had intense dreams about school. I couldn’t really remember the details of them, just that they were about school, very stressful, and often had to do with me being unprepared.
The reality was that I had my stuff printed and my lesson plans all ready to go since Thursday afternoon.The thing is though no matter how prepared I am there is always going to be this one unpredictable factor: teenagers. God bless them. I ended up crying a little Tuesday morning on my first day back; but let me tell you, the anxiety of returning was way worse than the reality of returning.
At my heart what’s stressing me out isn’t the unpredictability of teenagers (though that has its place), time management, or this whole lesson planning thing, what’s stressful is that I want to do well, and I right now I don’t even know the affect I’m having on my students. Sure they sit through tutorial, and they mostly listen to me, and I think some of them might even (reluctantly) like me.
I want to inspire them, I want them to enjoy themselves, I want them to be so wound up in learning that they don’t even realize that’s what is happening. Basically I want to be good at my job. Really really good. And sometimes I’m a little foolish thinking I can bare this all by myself.
It’s funny how over and over again I’ve told people that my staff and co-workers are amazing and supportive (they really are), but at the same time I still create so much internal pressure to be amazing. It’s easy to only look at what I do, even though I have these people I can go to for anything. Someone to listen to my frustrations with a session, people who can give me advice on behavior management and lesson planning, people who offer chocolate and laughter, people who also want to do and give their best to these kids.
Next is my community especially those who have let me know they are praying for me. It is so comforting to know other people are talking to Jesus, and saying Juanita really needs you. I especially think of my husband who is so quick to offer hugs, encouragement, and reassurance. His texts through out the day that remind me why I’m working keep me focused on what matters and way less on myself.
Finally it’s Jesus. I’ve been really taking time to be with God and He is reminding me how much I need Him and how much He loves these teens. If I care enough to make myself cry with anxiety, He cares even more and He’s in it with me. He sees their lives and He loves them. And through me, I hope, some of that love and compassion gets expressed. He reminds me that I’m just one part of this beautiful world and it’s not on my shoulders to save these kids, only to do my part to love and serve them. Interestingly enough when I see it this way I’m more free to just do my job well and let go of the rest.
Still I’m not perfect and the stress dreams probably aren’t completely over, but I remind you that as long as you’re doing your best and letting the rest go, that’s all any of us can do. Let the love and support from the meaningful relationships in your life sustain you.
Also a good nights sleep and a balanced meal will do wonders for your mindset!
Until next time,