Many teaching professionals are former idealists. For some, the education sphere has been a gauntlet testing how long their optimism would last. Others have retained their joy despite the years. What is it that mysteriously bears us in opposite directions: some, to despair, others, to hope?
We require a reliable and accurate compass to navigate the messy human relationships at the heart and soul of teaching. Compasses are designed to point in a certain direction, but these devices can be affected by interference: environments, vehicles, and even the carrier herself may alter the compass reading. To keep our compass aligned with the Father, we must frequently offer him ourselves with our guards down so He may remove all impurities. God promises us that the spirit of truth will guide us into all truth (John 16:13).
If we desire to be agents of hope, we have to travel filled with it. Normally, things we carry weigh us down, but carrying God’s spirit actually lightens us (Matt. 11:30). Moreover, stewarding God’s spirit means that we are able to connect others with Him, lifting their burdens as well.
As we journey, our experiences equip us with knowledge, references, wisdom, and strategies by which we develop as compassionate professional persons. But the journey alone is not sufficient; there are many highly experienced people who are not agents of hope. We ourselves must be filled by the God of hope in order to have any to offer. We may be affected by trauma, disappointment, fantasy, or discouragement, but God provides us with the correct lenses for our past, present, and future — if we allow Him access to the deep places inside of us.
Carrying much of God’s presence is a mystery. We are entitled to His presence as sons and daughters, co-heirs with Christ. Yet He also seems to entrust us with more of His presence in the way a master trusts a faithful servant with greater responsibilities. If we are faithful to steward God’s presence by responding to Him, listening to Him to govern what we do and do not do, He will bless us with more.
by Craig Ketchum ’10