Do you find yourself ready to burst into tears at the very thought of heading back to school soon?
Maybe you thought this break would rejuvenate you and give you the energy & fresh perspective you needed to dive back in for the 2nd semester. But it’s almost over, and you don’t feel any more rejuvenated. In fact, you might feel even more discouraged now than ever.
If that’s you, you are not crazy, and you’re not alone. I had a similar experience recently where I thought time away would help, but, rather, it made the problems feel much, much worse. At first, I didn’t get it, but then it made sense - and led to some really helpful insights that I’d like to share with you:
First - a bit of background. I’m not currently teaching this year - instead, I run Teach 4 the Heart. This is an amazing joy, but being a small business owner can also be a bit stressful, especially when it’s your family’s sole source of income. Covid threw a huge wrench into everything and trying to adjust was quite difficult.
At the start of the summer, we had the opportunity to go the beach for a week. We were ecstatic, as we hadn’t thought we’d be able to go. I just knew this week away was exactly what I needed. I’d get some fresh air, some perspective, and come back ready to attack the challenges with renewed energy. (That’s always what had happened before…)
But that’s not what happened. Yes, the week away was amazing, but the day before we returned home, I found myself dissolving into a puddle of tears. I simply was NOT ready to go back and face those challenges. I had escaped them for the week, but they were still there & looming larger than ever. A week away was not nearly enough to make me feel ready to tackle them.
When I got back, I experienced paralyzing anxiety. I dreaded working and could hardly bring myself to tackle anything. I was stressed, irritable, and I’m sure just a joy to be around. I literally felt like I was going crazy and couldn’t figure out how to get myself out of the spiral.
The answer - God.
What I came to realize was that I was putting my hope in so many other things to get me through this. I had put my hope in time away to rejuvenate me, or in my own intellect to come up with solutions. Instead, I needed to go to God. To trust in Him and rely on Him.
I spent some serious time in prayer. I wrote down a list of things that I knew to be true but wasn’t actually believing. I confessed my unbelief, asked God for help, and determined to believe what I knew to be true - and then to rest in that belief. To stop stressing and striving and to simply rest in Him, even as everything swirled around me.
And, you know what? While all the challenges were still there, the crippling anxiety was not. God shone through and gave me that fresh perspective and energy that I needed. He gave me the ability to show up each day and do that day’s work. And He’s been teaching me ever since what it looks like to trust Him day-to-day with all of the challenges and uncertainties.
So why do I share all of this? Because there’s a good chance you’re in a similar situation. Two weeks away was not nearly enough to rejuvenate you. Maybe it does on a normal year, but this year is anything but normal, and these mountains are simply too big to scale with just a 2-week respite. What you need is God.
I know you probably know that, but have you really leaned into it? Have you seen this for the spiritual battle that it is? Have you recognized that we don’t fight against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces?
This battle will be won only on your knees.
So if you feel that you simply cannot go back - go to Him. Share with Him everything that you’re struggling with - all your fears and uncertainties and exhaustion. And ask Him to reveal to you the truths you need to believe. Write them down, and cling to them. And You will find Him enough to see you through.
P.S. While I definitely recommend going to God directly first, don’t neglect reaching out to a friend, too. God often uses godly friends to encourage & edify us, so share your struggles and ask them what truths they think you need to recognize and cling to.
I’m also happy to share some of the truths God gave to me during my time of struggle. I’ve assembled them into a list here: https://teach4theheart.com/truths-christian-teachers/