Psalm 19:14 – May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer

God is allowing me to struggle again this school year. It’s my 20th year teaching French.  I’m realizing that my presupposition has been that teaching French should be easier as time goes on.  Maybe I was set up to adopt this premise by observing my student-teaching supervising teacher.  She had taught French for 35 years in the SAME classroom, in the SAME school.  I remember her description of lesson planning.  Driving the 12 minutes to school in the morning, she would settle on her lesson plans for the day.  And she taught FIVE levels of French! I thought that must be what ‘good’ teachers do.

Yet here I am, clipboard in hand, plans typed out, driving into school praying that I can pull it off another day, with 4 different levels and keep everything straight.  And that is after 6-7 hours of thinking and planning for the week.  I’ve gotten quite good at creating my own anxiety.

Last week, on Friday, a new thought came to me as I was angsting.  “I actually have some students who do VERY well in French, DESPITE my daily inadequacy dance.”   I kept that thought in the forefront of my mind.  And you know what?  YES!  I had a very good day.

Before I became a Christian, when I was at the University of Virginia, I used to purposefully power down the anxiety by reminding myself repeatedly before a major test, “Ten years from now, the results of this mid-term or final won’t even matter!” and that thought was enough to calm me down.  Now if God offered me that kind of stress-relieving thought as a pre-Christian, don’t you think that all the truth I now have access to in His Word might be as if not MORE useful?

If consistency is important, then my inward practice should line up with my outward.  I’m thinking of how we are to treat others following Ephesians 4:29 as a rule of life, “Say only what helps, each word a gift” (amplified version).  Our self-talk falls under that umbrella, wouldn’t you agree?

I’m with 12th grade girls twice a day at my school.  This is a very high-stress time of year.  They are applying to colleges, retaking the SATs, getting their résumés together, coming face to face with, for some, a less-than-ample harvest of time scattered or wasted over the past 4 years of high school.  Today, some were sick from pushing, pushing last week to get everything turned in at the close of the 1st marking period.  They are just as needy as I am.  We cannot do all things in our own strength.  So maybe this is why God is allowing me to continue to flail, when all along, He offers iron-clad lifelines of truth.

Thank you, Father, for directing my thoughts.  Do not leave me to my own mental gymnastics.  Make me lie down in your green pastures, lead me beside your still waters, take my hand and pull this little errant sheep back onto the path of righteousness for your Name’s sake.  Amen