Alright, it is confession time. No, I’m not Catholic, but I do need to come clean. I just prayed about it, and in return I feel slightly better. Still, the guilt of my sin over the past few weeks weighs all too heavily on me. It is a sin that I would say most teachers struggle with during busy times. And it is so easy to fall into this sin if you see others doing it. You might even begin to rationalize that it is okay. What sin am I talking about? Complaining. Seeing the glass as half empty as opposed to half full. Being cynical. Maybe even sarcastic. Granted, as teachers sometimes there is a definite need to vent, to regurgitate the messes of our lives; however, when you continue doing this on a daily basis, it sucks the life right out of you. As of recent, I am as guilty as anyone of complaining, so once again—and yes, I feel like a broken record—this blog is as much for me as it is anyone else.
Let’s start with God’s Word. Where does He stand on complaining? Paul clearly states in Philippians 2: 14-15, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.” Paul doesn’t beat around the bush, does he? If we take this scripture to heart, we should truly never complain. All things means … well … ALL things! There are no exceptions. No rationalizations. As the rest of the world does complain, becoming crooked and perverse, we as Christians are blameless and innocent, appearing as lights in the world to others. Does that describe you? Are you able to resist the temptation to complain when everything in your flesh says to do otherwise?
It is all truly a matter of perspective. If we soak in God’s Word, we are positive people, always focusing on the good in life. Praising God even in the midst of our struggles. Paul gets it right again when he states, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (Philippians 4: 8). Now, let’s be honest here. Is staying positive no matter what easy? Heck no! But whoever said being a Christian was easy? I wondered long and hard how exactly to convey this message today, and I recalled a blog I wrote long ago that compared a Christian teacher to a worldly teacher. After praying about it this morning, I definitely felt the nudge to continue that thought here.
The worldly teacher will see the negative in a “high flyer” student and focus only on his or her negative attributes. The Christian teacher will choose to find the good in all kids.
The worldly teacher will complain to colleagues that Summer Break wasn’t long enough. The Christian teacher will return from break refreshed, rejuvenated, and praising time off with friends and family.
The worldly teacher will focus on the problem and never get past it. The Christian teacher will recognize the problem but focus more on the solution.
The worldly teacher will use every second of their team plan hour to ridicule the kids that are not giving their best efforts. The Christian teacher will make an effort to praise those students who are doing the job right.
The worldly teacher will vomit out everything there is to complain about with testing—too much testing, too little time to prepare, too many students to test, too much testing (whoops, already said that one). The Christian teacher will deal with the testing cards they have been dealt and roll with it.
The worldly teacher will gripe that there is never enough time for lunch. The Christian teacher will relish the 25 minutes of quiet, even taking one or two days a week to reach out and have lunch with a troubled student.
The worldly teacher will see all inservice days as being useless, complain about it constantly, and disrespect the presenters by texting and checking e-mail all through the meetings. The Christian teacher will soak in every bit of wisdom they can and thank the presenter following.
The worldly teacher will complain about the needy kid that comes into their class constantly before and after school, taking away precious preparation time. The Christian teacher will see this as an opportunity to be a light and connect with a kid that desperately needs it.
The worldly teacher will grumble if the track meet goes late as they work the high jump pit. The Christian teacher will continue spouting encouragement to all athletes as they work hard to compete.
The worldly teacher will whine about that long stretch of idle time during parent/teacher conferences where nothing happens. The Christian teacher will see that as a precious opportunity to grade papers, read an enlightening book, plan ahead, or even reach out to other colleagues who may be struggling.
The worldly teacher will let sarcasm drip from their lips, degrading students behind their backs to other colleagues. The Christian teacher will pray for these problem kids, knowing God created them and that all things God creates are good.
As Christian teachers, we have a choice. We can choose to complain, or we can choose Christ. As of late, my days have been lethargic, critical, and laborious. Why? Because I have been making the wrong choice. It is a good thing I am covered by this thing called grace because otherwise I would be in deep doo-doo. So, how are you doing right now? Do you have any tricks to help you remain positive amidst the trials in life? Any scripture that speak to you? Sound off with a reply below. Please! Believe me, I could use the uplifting thoughts, and I am sure the other followers of this blog could too. As we trudge along through this week, make it your goal to be like Paul. See the good in life. Sing praises to God amidst the storms of life, knowing He is in control. Submit humbly to God’s will and let Him take over every word uttered from your mouth. Pray the prayer that David prayed: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19: 14).
(Do you need an uplifting song to kick-start your day? Try listening to the Afters’ song “Every Good Thing” below).