This is long, so bear with me....
Are you one of those people who know beyond the shadow of a doubt what God has called you to do? Or are you one of those people who have always wondered, but you go back and forth and have never felt that affirmation? For me, I'm the first.
From the time I was little bitty, like three, I've known I was supposed to work with kids. Of course I had the natural maternal, nurturing trait, but I knew I wanted to grow up to be a teacher. I remember walking around with a baby doll on my hip at all times, strapping them in the seatbelt in the car, making my mom babysit while I was at school, and putting them to sleep in their "crib" (aka a box with a blanket in it). But, I also remember taking stacks of old forms from mom's work and putting them neatly organized in folders and notebooks. I would sit all my dolls and stuffed animals on the couch or in the floor and play school. I made assignments. I stood at the front of the room, taped a piece of paper on the wall, and wrote "lessons." I even remember putting my dolls in timeout! So, I've never struggled to understand God's will for me in that aspect.
However, I'm still figuring out what that will looks like. I'm 27, and I work full time in an office shuffling paper. I never finished college, and I could BEAT myself for it now. It haunts me daily, because now, I can't afford to finish. I take 1 class at a time, hoping to finish someday. But, lately, God has been speaking volumes to me. See, I always assumed that because I felt called to teach, that I had to go through college and teach in a daycare or public school setting. I felt that if I wasn't teaching as a career, I wasn't fulfilling His calling. He's been showing me how wrong I was!
I've taught in my church's preschool for 8 years now. I love every second of it. In December 2009, when we were ready to quit trying to get pregnant but hadn't yet decided to adopt, I was in a very dark place. I was angry at God, and depressed, feeling hopeless. So, I quit childcare. I took almost a year off. It just became entirely too difficult to take care of everone else's kids. I became bitter toward the parents. So, I took a break.
In August 2010, my dear friend Shannon called and said she needed a co-teacher on Wednesday nights and asked if I wanted to help her. So, only to help her, I agreed. I was in a better place, and ready to face kids again. I took that job as a volunteer (Wed. night employees used to be paid, but due to the economy they had stopped paying). Unbeknownst to me, the first night I came back, we were told they were starting to pay again! Just a little blessing from God for being obedient, I believe. Then, earlier this year, our coordinator at church asked for help on Sunday mornings as well, so I accepted...again, just to help her. I didn't really want to. For the past several months, I've been working both hours on Sunday mornings. A few months in, I felt God telling me I needed to volunteer to teach a Sunday School class this Fall. I argued with him on that one for a bit. I didn't want to...I was hating having to get up early on my day off to drive all the way to church. I missed my lazy Sundays! But, I finally threw my hands up and said, "Fine, God. I'll do it." So, I told our coordinator that I wanted to teach, but that I wanted to have the same class on Wed nights and Sunday mornings. When I first told her that, I really didn't want to do it. But, I knew I had to.
Over the last few weeks of preparing for it, God has totally changed my heart. He has given me the heart I need to do this, and I cannot WAIT! I am so excited. I haven't been this excited about teaching in a long time, because I've been too focused on feeling....what's the word....apprehensive....sad....downright bitter. Through all of this, God has shown me that just because I don't teach full time doesn't mean I can't fulfill His calling on my life. He has shown me that by being obedient and seeking him with all my heart, I AM fulfilling His calling on my life!
I've come to realize lately that if I were teaching full time, I may become tired and burnt out. If that were to happen, I would be ineffective. But, by simply teaching at church, and loving the little ones like Jesus does, I am fulfilling His calling and more!
So, remember, if you know what your calling is, don't assume it has to be your career or your entire life...you can fulfill it in a number of ways!