It's not a presidential election year. But that doesn't mean that the year holds fewer decisions to be made. Instead, the decisions tend to be on a personal level rather than at the national level. Or maybe that's just the case for me.
The posting here came to a grinding halt almost two weeks ago because an opportunity had arrived in my email's In box. That opportunity surprised me just as much as a similar one that came about the same time last year. After all, I thought that last year's opportunity was a one-time thing, especially after hearing this spring that the school had changed the way the students could fulfill their writing requirements.
So it was both exciting and a humbling honor to be asked to teach again. Something I didn't take lightly. In fact, my heart leapt on numerous levels.
Then, the reality of the opportunity set in. And with it, the questions started swirling in my head.
--Was I ready to take on this challenge again?
--Did I have the time to devote to teaching in order to do a good job?
--But more importantly, whether I was ready or had the time, did I feel like this was an opportunity God wanted me to take?
For those who followed my teaching journey last fall, it might surprise you to learn how much I wrestled with this decision. And how much I immediately wanted to accept. Because based on last year, a resounding "no" should have been on the tip of my tongue.
On paper, this opportunity looked better than last year's. But, in the end, I knew that the paper with my "pros" and "cons" couldn't make the decision for me. Neither could my feelings, which changed daily. There was no bright light illuminating the path I should take or the decision I should make.
So I prayed, and I tried to listen.
It was during that time that I realized how hard it is to listen, especially in a crunched time frame, when I haven't made a habit of listening on a regular basis. It's not fun to type that.
Nor was it easy to admit that to a couple of good friends who were praying for my decision. As I lamented about how hard it was to hear and how much I desired to be obedient in making "the right" decision, one of my friends mentioned that maybe the decision wasn't the important part of this whole opportunity. Maybe it was more about seeking God in the process.
I was so focused on the outcome of my decision---and all the planning that would need to be done if I accepted---that I didn't look at the opportunity from that angle. When my friend brought that to my attention, I was able to see how much my relationship with God had changed (for the better) in just a few short days because of a renewed seeking of His will instead of my own.
I ultimately decided to decline the opportunity and then promptly began worrying about what lessons I would miss by not teaching because I learned a lot about myself, God, and life in general through teaching last fall. But I came to the conclusion that such worries boiled down to me trying to put God in a box---thinking that my decision could somehow limit His ability to teach me lessons. As if!
I realized that if God has lessons that He wants me to learn, He is creative enough to instruct me in them. Even if I'm not in the classroom. And if I start to doubt, I can look back on this decisionmaking process as proof that lessons abound everywhere.