A decade ago I gave up pay checks. Staying home full time with kids rearranged priorities and left me with less self confidence. My priorities now matched my desires, but not my equation for calculating my value. I grew up in a world where achievement=success. So staying at home meant I had to find value in diapers+cleaning dishes+snuggles. But Christ….that’s the quantity I kept missing.
Some moms can work outside the home, find their worth in God, and still have energy for their family. I couldn’t but I know God had different lessons for those moms to learn. I was slow to learn to find my identity in Christ. I depended on worldly standards like the behavior of my kids or how clean I could keep my house to measure my success. Even when my kids learned to talk they never praised my performance or gave me a raise (I know now that God considers slobbery kisses equal to pay increases). I kept failing to be successful by my standards, repenting, and refocusing on God.
Just when I started to use God’s standards of success, both girls started school. There was more time in the day. Time to pursue whatever I choose. I knew by now that my identity was in Christ, so why was this shift in circumstance leaving me so shaky when someone asked what I did for a living? I had not learned my lesson yet.
Like I did at eighteen, I asked myself, “Who do you want to be now?” The question jolted me, because those years of trying to find my identity in Christ had changed me. It was the wrong question. “Lord, where do you want me? How do I serve you?” That’s better. And the answer, from the place of peace in my heart, was “Wait.” It wasn’t time to start a new career yet. It didn’t matter what other people thought of my situation (except for my husband) or how small our retirement fund was. God said to wait. I had more lessons to learn.
I needed to strip away the stumps of the world I clung to for value. Romans 12:2
says not to conform to the world but to let your mind be transformed. How? By focusing on following Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17
tells me I am a new creation. The standards of the world do not apply to me.
Still, with both girls in school, I had so much time. And I didn’t want to clean my house and cook all day. So I applied for a job I never wanted that required no long term commitment, no after hours, and complete schedule control. Substitute teaching.
Join me over the next few days as I share all that God taught me about about loving others, about my own identity, and about His heart, through a job I thought I couldn’t do.
For part two in the Lessons from substitute: How A Job Helped Me Lose My Selfishness series click here.