This year celebrates my 17th year of teaching college part-time. When I started 17 years ago, my colleagues told me that I needed to establish a relationship with a class scheduler who would keep me on the roster. They said, “If you don’t teach, you don’t get paid.” They did not have to tell me twice, so I was on it and set out to do just that.
I was proactive about contacting them and making sure I was on the roster. This was great from the standpoint that I was always teaching, on the other hand, it was very stressful. It was a lot of networking, and a lot of emails I had to manage. As I would approach ending one class, I began to stress out about whether another one was going to become available. This was a challenge because I was approved to teach three different classes, each having a different class scheduler. Whew!
To keep the classes coming I was always thinking about the next one. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night in a panic wondering if I had contacted them all or thinking I might have missed something along the way. Once I was awake, I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep until I went to my computer and checked my emails to find out if I sent that critical email request. After many nighttime waves of panic and constant worrying, I finally decided it had to stop. I made the decision that I would give my class schedule to the Lord and let him manage it. So in my prayer, I told the Lord that I trusted him and that I knew he would send me the classes that he wanted me to teach, and when he wanted me to teach them. I was quick to add that no matter what he did, I would relinquish control, trust him, and be happy with the result. That was 17 years ago, and I have been teaching 1 to 2 classes every semester until five months ago. Then kaboom the bottom fell out, and my classes stopped.
Five months ago, I ended a class I was teaching, and I had not been placed on the roster to teach the next semester. I can honestly say that at first, it freaked me out a little. Had I done something wrong to cause my classes to stop? Did I take it all for granted and not thank the Lord enough for what he did? How am I going to manage financially with this decrease in my income? Also, to stay qualified as an instructor I must teach at least one class per year. Was my teaching career in jeopardy? I kept telling myself to calm down, and I turned my attention to checking through all my emails to make sure that I didn’t miss anything. I also checked and re-checked my alerts to make sure the notifications were turned on. One week passed, two weeks passed, three weeks passed, and I heard nothing but crickets! I was hurting.
Waiting in silence gave me a lot of time to think. Since I was not teaching, I had a lot more free time. I found myself going through phases of being both happy and sad. Sad because I wasn’t teaching, and I wasn’t getting paid, but happy because it was nice to have a break, to get refreshed. For 17 years I had not had a break from grading papers and answering student questions.
Finally, one day it dawned on me, “Wait a minute, God is in control!” He knows what I need when I need it. I wasn’t standing in faith. I had trusted the Lord with my schedule for 17 years. He would not fail me now! I could not let fear, doubt, and anxiety creep in and distract me from the Lords promises. He knew what was best for me. Everything suddenly clicked, and I was back on track. That is when I started to enjoy my free time. I started reading more, praying more, writing more, and spending more time with my family. I got to the point where I stopped counting the weeks and focusing on the negative things of this circumstance and started focusing on what I could do to continue to grow spiritually during my free time.
A few days ago, while thanking the Lord for something else he had done in my life, my phone pushed me an alert. When I looked at the screen all I could do was jump up and yell, “Thank you, Lord!” There was a class for me to teach beginning next week. My first class in five months! Praise God!
33 But the one who always listens to me will live undisturbed in heavenly peace. Free from fear, confident and courageous, you will rest unafraid and sheltered from the storms of life. Proverbs 1:33 The Passion Translation (TPT)