I returned to work on Friday full of motivation. My three-day reading training had left me feeling like I could make a profound difference in the lives of my students. So, when I found myself face to face with a class full of 8th graders that did not share in my eagerness for their success and learning, you can see how I would’ve been a bit upset.
I have worked pretty hard over these first few weeks of school to build a relationship with this particular group of kids. You might classify them as “rough around the edges,” and I find myself appreciating their uniqueness. But, Friday morning when I was riding my “I am going to teach you SO much this year” high, they totally knocked the wind right out of me. And, instead of the hour ending with a sense of success, it ended with me giving them a firm lecture. It went something like this….”I cannot make you learn anything. This is a choice you have to make. If you want to get anything out of this class, you are going to have to work at it. I cannot do this for you. You have to do it for yourself.” GGggggrrrrr. Notice that this ggggrrrrr is not in quotes. But man, I was feeling it.
Then, Saturday morning I had another great run with my sweat sisters. We always come up with new things to chat about over the miles, and this run was no different. One of the topics that came up was how many moms get so caught up in their new role as moms that they “let themselves go.” And not just in how they look, but that their whole sense of “self” is literally gone after they have a child. None of those girls are moms yet, and they all have the fear that that could happen to them. What if they don’t have the motivation to get up at 6:00am and go for runs after they have children? What if they just don’t care about their clothes or their hair or what they look like anymore after they have kids? And, through the conversation we decided that is all comes down to the fact that you have to do it for yourself. No one is going to do it for you, but if it is a part of what makes you you, you will still do it. It’s what makes you happy and it’s time to dedicate to yourself that will make you a better you for everyone else.
So, I had two very distinct “do it for yourself” conversations/talks on Friday and Saturday. Then, this morning I was feeling somewhat guilty on my way to church because deep down I hadn’t really wanted to go to church. I just had a lot of things left on my “to do” list for the weekend and I was worried I wouldn’t have time to get them all done. So I said a little prayer on my way to church that I would be receptive to the message and not distracted by my own agenda.
And, what do you know?! The pastor had his own little lecture to give to me this morning. (Well, not just me, but it sure felt that way!) One part of the sermon was about developing a closer relationship with God. I could tell that the pastor was getting pretty fired up as he told us that he could not make our relationship with God stronger. We had to do it for ourselves. Wow. I felt like he was giving me the same talking to that I had just given to my group of 8th graders, and he was dead on. It is time for me to do the work in that area. Just showing up on Sunday morning isn’t making my relationship with God any stronger. If I want that to happen, I will have to do it for myself.
And so, my friends, that is the moral of today’s story. Whatever it is that you want or need, it’s time to do it for yourself. No one else can do it for you.