Saturday, November 9, 2013

Sacrifice, Identity, and the Real You

This blog started with me discussing sacrifice in terms of fitness and body image. Now sacrifice is manifesting in a different way.

In the few weeks since my last post, 
  • I have been planning a really great unit with my team teachers on the topic of language and identity. I could teach different aspects of this all year, so I'm really really excited.
  • I had also been not working out due to a side oblique strain. Since I wasn't working out, I was stress-eating. Bleh.
  • I also had my boss tell me that I'm "making a lot of first-year mistakes" which I took as I'm sucking as a teacher.
  • I also turned in a really horrid paper for my grad class and realized that I had no idea what I was doing for the upcoming paper in my other grad class.
  • I had a really really refreshing and amazing coffee date with my friend Ericka.
  • I performed twice and went to show where a fellow poet invited me to Tulsa to perform.
  • I had a Twilight marathon with my Sheri and realized how much I miss her. 

In looking at my life, I realized that there were a lot of things out of order. Writing and performing doesn't really get to exit my life again (unless I hear it very authoritatively from the voice of God). It's who I am, who He made me. And I don't devote enough time to rehearsing.

On the other hand, I was spending an exorbitant amount of time on something He never called me to, something I ran to out of fear of the future and pride of the past.  Grad school is not a part of my right now. I never intended, and I don't think God ever intended, for me to be in grad school while I am a first-year teacher. One of them would suffer. In reality, both of them suffered.

And my body suffered. Part of my injury was lack of rest.
My stress-eating was, duh, stress-induced.

And my relationship with God suffered.

And my students suffered. My classroom management consultant friend kept reminding me that my students are "human beings not human doings." I realized that I ask them to DO a ton and don't ask them to BE much at all. And that also helped me remind myself that I am a human being not a human doing.

And the most rewarding spaces of being for me are these:

 So I looked at my situation and how I feel after every activity on my schedule and realized what needed to go. Grad school. Please don't think that I am quitting because that's the easier thing to do - it's not. And don't think that I am quitting because what I am learning is superfluous - it's not. I have gotten so many wonderful ideas for my classroom based on what I was studying. But, like I said in my previous posts on this topic - sacrifice is giving up something you want for something you want more. It's not a sacrifice if it's something you didn't really care about. What I want more is to be a good teacher, one that encourages students to BE great, not just pass their tests. What I want more is to be a good performer, someone who speaks to people's souls - their minds, wills, and emotions.  What I want more is to have time to love on people - old friends and new ones. What I want more is to have time to love on God. What I want more is to be healthy in my eating and my exercising and my stress levels. So that's what I'm doing. I am freeing myself to BE who I am. Several weeks ago in church I came upon an incredible realization - a rhema word (a revelation, divinely revealed knowledge).  WHATEVER YOU ARE HOPING AND PRAYING TO BECOME, YOU ALREADY ARE.  Underneath the layers of self-doubt and fear, of self-sabotage and undue restraint, of pain and rejection, of bad relationships and lack of inspiration you are exactly who you ought to be.  You just have to wake up in the morning and be that great mom - like my friend Jessica, that memorable artist - like so many I know and love, that incredible friend and lover (in a romantic way, or just to the world) - like Charmaine, that inspiring teacher - like Drew and Jordan, that dad that defies all the statistics - like Casanova and Jeremy.  That is who you are, NOT who you have to become. You might be looking at this and thinking that's a bold-faced lie. It's not. The way to BE who you are on the inside (even if you previously haven't been on the outside) is to emotionally rest and do all the things that person would do.  If the best dad doesn't smoke and you do, then wake up and refuse the cigarette.  If the best mom is a confident role model for her daughters, then wake up, look in the mirror and find something to love.  If the best teacher doesn't ever yell at his kids, then decide on a calming strategy and use it in the classroom today.  Don't worry about the past.  Don't worry about your tendencies or your shortcomings.  Just get up and do what you ought to. I'm off to grade papers, because good teachers turn in their grades on time. I hope your today is filled with something that helps you be the best version of yourself, in other words, be the real you. 
These photos are where I can be the best version of myself. 

Ever since I left OCU, school has never been the BEST version of me, just a version where I am used to excelling.


  1. Stellar! Obedience is better than sacrifice. You certainly have done both here...Purpose prevails over everything. This is a true encouragement...keep answering the call! Lives depend on your obedience...literally. Happy for you!

    1. Thank you so much sweetheart! You are right, obedience is better than sacrifice. And pastor talked on Sunday about how sometimes obedience and sacrifice are the same. Sometimes killing the flesh feels like suicide. It is still a little scary, but it also feels much better.

      You are so right! Lives depend on it, VERY literally.