I’m always a little sad at the end of Vacation Bible School week. Also relieved. But who isn’t?! Those little blessings wear a person out!
This year I was on a whole new level of sad.
I was melancholy as I finished my planning. I was a little down right before I started to film my videos for the week. Then I jumped for joy upon finishing the video for Day 5, and then doubt started to set it.
What if no one watches?
What if they hate the videos?
What if they think I’m a horrible teacher and should never, ever teach their children again?
And lots more self-hating, anxious filled thoughts I ruminated on before we published them for anyone to view.
I was nervous for anyone to hear my super southern teacher voice through their screen. I didn’t care so much if the kids laughed at me (they normally do at my wacky, creative storytelling), but I did worry if they would understand the lessons I was teaching.
There wasn’t a way for me to be physically with them as they learned. I wouldn’t be there to answer questions or clarify anything I said. My lessons always went better with interaction from my ever eager to participate audience.
I knew I didn’t deliver them perfectly, but I felt I delivered the message God gave me to present.
The great thing about publishing them on YouTube? I could see how many viewed the video. Almost 40 for the first day! I was pretty excited about that.
But then the numbers went down after that. Going lower and lower, until the last day, and only three faithful listeners joined me.
I hit a whole new sad level when I saw that. Now, I know others may watch after this week, but those numbers did droop my smile. The non-existent comments or e-mailed questions also bummed me out. I was hoping some would share pictures while they watched too. But no such luck.
I tried not to make it personal. I tried to stay positive. But Satan let some other toxic thoughts into my head, especially on a week where I should be celebrating some exciting news.
This past week, about mid-VBS week, I accepted a position at a private Christian school as their high school English teacher. This was not something I planned for my future. I did not think I would be a school teacher, but God led me to the opportunity and before I knew it, I’m going to be Ms. Thomas in the fall.
I am excited, nervous, overwhelmed, and bursting with ideas!
But when I saw the lack of viewers on those VBS videos, and my balloon of excitement for this new journey began to deflate. I started to worry about my ability to reach my students this coming fall.
- What if I fail them?
- What if they struggle with the assignments I give?
- What if I’m in way over my head and have no idea what I’m doing?
The wonderful thing about our mighty God, who I just finished singing, praising and telling all about in VBS this week, is that He counteracts those toxic thoughts. To halt evil in its path for destruction.
My family is ecstatic for me and my new job. They believe in me, and their confidence lifts me up. My friends and mentors knew I had the teaching ability before I did. They also lifted me up and offered their advice and help.
One friend shared her own mentor’s advice after she received my panicked, overwhelmed texts. She said, “You can only do so much. Pick one thing you want to focus on and prioritize it all year. Each year you will pick something else and eventually you will have it all under control.”
Those words calmed my overwhelmed feeling and I felt like I could breathe. Thank you Lord for sending someone with the words I needed to soothe my nerves and eradicate my doubts.
I also confessed my feelings of unpreparedness to another friend. While I know it will all come together eventually, I worried that I wasn’t wearing the proper footwear for the mountain I’m currently staring at. She responded with:
“You don’t have to worry about your shoes. You were MADE to climb any mountain in front of you. The Lord wouldn’t have allowed this job to come into your life for you to purposely fail. He is a kind God. So what if it all goes south some days, He is there and will see you through.”
It doesn’t matter what shoes I wear, or what I can do, God uses whatever skills and tools I have for His purposes. He provides me with all I need. Sometimes we just have to climb, and not worry about if our shoes will crumble under the mission.
It’s not about the comments or lack of them. It’s not about the numbers of who watched me sing off-key and animatedly read Bible accounts. It’s not about my success or failures.
It’s about that one student who was reached by the Word of God.
Heavenly Father, help me to keep my focus on You and Your ways. My shoes don’t matter, just the path you send me on. Thank you for surrounding me with family and friends who remind me I’m exactly where I am supposed to be and that You give me the strength to do what you call me to do. I know this because of your holy Word:
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”Jeremiah 29:11