My alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m. for the first time in months. My heart immediately races as adrenalin floods my body. The reality sets in- it’s the first day of school.
For a teacher with five years already under the belt, I face August with mixed emotions. It is always intimidating and mentally exhausting to consider the months of frustrations, disappointments, and long hours ahead (teachers work nights and weekends, folks).
I know how challenging it is to spend weeks training my new crop of munchins on all of the rules and expectations and procedures. They are so needy, and they love to poke me as they ask me bajillions of questions. Ugh.
HOWEVER, what good is that negative Nancy attitude going to do for my students, my coteachers, and myself? A whole lotta nada.
Instead of letting myself drown in how overwhelming the start of the school year can be, I choose to drape myself in an attitude of joy as I put on my school I.D. badge and race out the door with my seven bags.
It’s all too easy to go out into our world and contribute to the darkness that is so overpowering. Negativity is everywhere. Teachers are not immune to this. But it is toxic to let yourself get sucked into it. Plus, it goes against God’s very purpose for us on this Earth. As the Westminster Shorter Catechism addresses, we are made to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Thus, we are created to be both happy and eternal beings.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is righty, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."
We live in a pretty broken, dark world, y’all. Between the constant political scandals and disease du jours and crumbling marriages and envy and jealousy lingering behind every turn we take, we can actively choose to pursue what is joyful, what will keep us in the light.
So how do you do this? How do you transform your thinking and outlook into one that is God-driven and Christ-centered?
First of all, you need to ask. Acknowledging your weakness is half the battle. I find it helps to do this first thing in the morning. Like I chatted with y’all way back when about, I journal my gratitude, concerns, confessions, and requests every morning before starting my day. Like Psalms 5:3 reveals, “In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning, I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”
You must actively pursue this transformative process in your daily outlook. Cause let’s face it, based on what’s out there, we are set up for failure the minute we step outside our door (or even before we step out...maybe the second you pick up your phone or open your email).
Our joy will never be complete without Christ. The world and the Enemy try to convince us that losing 10 pounds, buying a Mercedes, or getting a Louis Vuitton bag will complete your joy. Are these things inherently bad? Nopers. But if we view them as a means to fulfilling our need for joy, then yes, they are bad.
Christ explains, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:11.
When I wake up and start my day listening to Him instead of listening to the world, I am better prepared to confidentially face each day cheerfully knowing I have God by my side.
Do I stay focused on Him all day? Crap on a cracker, I can't. But I try to schedule reminders for myself, such as keeping my car radio tuned to the Way or other Christian music stations. I keep verses in my classroom, in my car, in my bathroom, and anywhere else to draw my attention back to Him. I know and acknowledge I am a work in progress. I may never get it down, but I can see how choosing joy in Him positively impacts me throughout my day.
1. Before heading off to work this week, stop and pray for guidance with your thoughts. Ask for joy, even when you may be facing darkness or despair in your life.
2. Take 5 minutes to journal your concerns and feelings to Him. You can go old-school paper/pen like I do or just jot your thoughts online.
3. At the end of the week, look back and see how your attitude has been impacted by your active pursuit of joy throughout the week.
Be well, y'all, and keep choosing joy. See ya tomorrow, friends.
Healthy Happy Texan
I'm a Foodie, Fitness Instructor, and Follower of Christ. Add a passion for teaching others, dark chocolate, bacon, and dogs -- and that's me in a box.
Come on, let's live a little!