It was a move I had to make after being displaced from my teaching assignment. An unexpected life change deemed it necessary to return to work.
Sitting in one of my interviews, I had a strong sense it was the school where I was being called. I have always viewed my profession as a calling. The bonus was that it felt like it would be a good fit for my children. There was only one thing giving me pause, and it was a giant in my mind. The school was a Title 1 school. If you are not familiar, when 40% or more of a school’s student population is enrolled in the free or reduced lunch program, the school qualifies for additional federal funding [Title 1]. I had a lot of teaching experience, but zero at a Title 1 school.
I was afraid.
Fear does not usually make sense, and it is often anchored to a lack of experience. I was afraid I would not know how to interact with the students; I was afraid I would not know the best way to handle academic challenges. In an act of tentative courage, I voiced my trepidation to my potential bosses.
To my surprise, they did not meet my hesitation with shame. They responded with compassion. They attempted to assuage my fears. Ultimately, they poked holes in the fear without poking holes in me.
While I do not know where that fear was born, discovering it, acknowledging it, and stepping through it was necessary to extinguish it. Fear can stymie faith and fan doubt into flame. No matter how you frame the experiences of life, it is important to assess your fears. Measure the validity of the fear, find a trusted friend who will hold space for you as you work through the fear, and sit in the tension of it all. Don’t worry about your fear making sense to everyone in your life–or anyone at all. When we defer to stuffing our fears, they begin to shape us in ways that no longer feel authentic to who we were created to be.
Untempered fear bullies us into silence and cuts us off from pursuing anything that would illuminate the powerlessness of what is causing our fear.
Hundreds of times throughout scripture we read the encouragement to be unafraid. Feeling afraid is a response to a situation. Being afraid is the decision to act from a place of fear. God comes into the times I am feeling afraid and comforts me.
That is what love does.
Love steps into scary situations.
Love comforts when fear threatens.
Love stays the course.
Love makes room for others.
We get to step away from the conflict fear creates and step into love.
*Excerpt taken from Wisdom in the Weeds–an ebook I published last year. Download your free copy here. I have a new book coming out this Fall, and I think it is a message that meets us right where we are today. Be sure to watch for my details in the near future! I can’t wait to share it with you.