Why did God place me here?

Maybe that's the recurring question that keeps running through your head and weighing heavily on your heart as you start the new school year. Why this school? Why this student? Why this parent? Why this colleague? Why this administrator? WHY these challenges that feel so overwhelming?

Those questions are perfectly normal to have, and I think they can be incredibly helpful if you allow them to alert yourself to the way God moves in your life. The answers don't always come easily or clearly, but that can be a good thing. The search for meaning can train us to keep our eyes expectantly on the Lord through every circumstance, and teach us to watch for His hand at work in our lives.

God might have placed you in your teaching situation for one particular student who desperately needs someone to show him or her love. Or maybe He wants you where you're at because the adults around you need encouragement. It could be that God wants you to be a force for positive change in a school or school system that doesn't put the needs of children first. It could be all of those things, and more.

The place you're at might be dark, but you can be confident that God wants to use you to shine a light there. Continually returning to that belief makes it a lot easier to get through the hard times. When a student seems impossible to handle, think to yourself, What is the reason God wants him/her in my classroom instead of someone else's? What can I offer this student because of God's love?  Shift your outlook from Why do *I* have to deal with this? to How does God want to use me in this situation?

Keep looking to the Lord for your purpose. Ask Him to help you embrace your job in its totality: the parts you love, the parts you don't, the parts you think you can't possibly handle for a second longer. Pray that God would keep you focused on the things He wants to accomplish in and through you. Ask that He would make you aware of the little miracles He's accomplishing and the way He's growing you through your trials.

You can start small if you need to: What is one way that you know God wants to use you in your current teaching position? Share your thoughts in the comment section. Then return to that thought again each morning before you start work, and again each time it gets hard, and again at the end of the day when you think back on the way that God strengthened you and provided for you.

God wants to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we could ask, think, or imagine. May we open our eyes and see the ways that He is working.


Ms. Watermelon said...

I love this. I'm in my 6th year of teaching at my high school. I spent the first 3 years questioning "why me Lord?". Then one day, God spoke to me and said, "I've chosen you." I realize that my job is my assignment. I go in each day anxious about what good I can do and what I can add to the atmosphere of my school in a positive aspect. Needless to say, I now LOVE MY JOB!!!

Tami said...

I truly needed this today- I teach preschoolers for a public school system and today was one of those days that just had me in disbelief. I'm already wondering why God? I need to keep taking it to Him! Thanks for the reminder.

Pat E said...

Oh, Angela...so VERY thankful for this timely devotional! I was so excited for this new school year to begin, and then I was given a totally different assignment than expected. It's funny, though, because although I was a little disappointed at first, I'm not sad or angry. I am asking the LORD to reveal to me what He wants of me in this position, and it's given me such a peaceful feeling --- and believe me, it's anything but peaceful where I'm at right now!! Thank you again for helping to remind me that I work for the LORD and not men (or women)!! There IS a reason He has me where I'm at.

Have a blessed week!! : )

Angela Watson said...

Ms. Watermelon: I love that story! Why me? Because God has chosen me! How uplifiting!!

Tami: Isn't it funny how we can start questioning God after just a couple of days back "in the trenches"? You're right--keep taking it to God!

Pat E: I, too, find that I lose my sense of purpose when unexpected things pop up. How wonderful that you are taking the change in assignments as an opportunity for God to reveal His plans in your life. I'm excited for you!

Anonymous said...

I actually was just thinking about this yesterday... After a long staff meeting where my principal shared that our school has such low scores that we are in danger of becoming a Merit school (bottom 5% of the state) I was feeling really discouraged and wondering if all my hard work was in vain. I then had the epiphany: test scores aren't what is driving me to teach. The reason I teach is to love and serve children and to serve God in the process. What a freeing thought! I thought about all the ways God has used me at my school so far and realized how productive and worthwhile my job has been, even though our test scores (and administrators) seem to say otherwise. I'm trying to constantly adopt the mindset, "How can I be used?" even when it's much easier to complain about the situation.

Jessica said...

This post was EXACTLY what I needed to read this morning. I have been so discouraged because I don't know why God placed me in the particular student-teaching position I'm in right now. I wake up most mornings hating it. And it's hard to show enthusiasm to my students when I feel that way. I think one of the reasons God has placed me here is to witness to my cooperating teacher, an atheist. I'll admit that I sort of resented that because I felt that my student-teaching should be a time for me to gain, and not to give. So, I haven't been doing a very good job of witnessing. I'm praying that God will change my attitude and help me to share His love with my CT and my students.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful lesson. I am also in my 6th year of teaching and this year, particularly, the students do not understand what respect is. I know God has a purpose and a reason for placing me right where I am at, but at times, it gets discouraging. However, "When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to THE ROCK that is higher than I (Psalms 61:2)" I will let the Lord lift me to His high place, so I can be the witness to the students and show them love. God bless!