#18: On Trying to Find Balance

#18: On Trying to Find Balance

I started the school year with a good attitude. I really did. I was ready to face the challenges, work with the new curriculum, and continue to become a better teacher. Surely this year could not possibly be as stressful as last year. It was a new year. A new beginning and I faced it full of optimism.

But then, as happens every year, the stress began to increase. A new responsibility added here; more paperwork added there. Undaunted, I soldiered on. I was not going to be defeated. I worked later, I tried to catch up. The plates were spinning around me, but I was keeping everything under control until about 11:42 am on a recent Friday when a new request caused it all to come crashing down around me. I got out the white flag and broke down into tears.

Before I go on – let me include a couple of caveats to my story:

1)   This is not a story about how stressful teaching is compared to other professions. Teaching is definitely stressful, but we are all experiencing stress in our lives and jobs. We are all being asked to do more and more in the same amount of time. No one is immune – I am just sharing my particular brand of stress.

2)   Please know that I am very grateful for my job and I don’t take the fact that I have a job for granted. I work at a wonderful school with a very supportive staff and administration. I am thankful for that every single day!!!

What my story is about is trying to figure out how to find balance in the midst of all the stress.

I am a pretty strong person. I don’t break down easily. I want to follow the rules and do what is expected of me. I want to be the ideal employee. I want to be responsible and trustworthy. What happens though, as I work hard to achieve this perfect state, is that I come to a place where I begin to believe that it is just me against the world. And that is a scary and stressful place to be.

I am trying hard to remember I am not alone. God is with me. Now as I write those words, I cringe a little because it sounds so cliché. I don’t want it to sound that way. A recent sermon reminded me of the fact that Almighty God is with me. Always. Ps. 56:4 says “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?”

In order to achieve balance and sanity in my life, I have to learn to stop trying to face the stress all on my own. I just can’t do it. I have to learn to lean on God. Again, I don’t want this to all sound cliché, I truly believe I need to learn to trust God to give me the strength to handle what comes at me each day. Exactly what that is going to look like each day, I don’t know, but I need to learn. I can’t go on in my own strength. I’m not going to make it.

Additionally, I am trying to remember that I also need to lean on those around me. When I broke down, I went to my friends in the department who promptly hugged me and offered me words of encouragement and support. Immediately I felt better. Just knowing I was not alone and that I was surrounded by friends who would come alongside me if I needed them made all the difference in the world. I have a tendency to keep my stress inside and not bother others with it, but what a relief to share it. I need to learn to speak up.

I also need to keep reprioritizing. I know I function better if I take time out of my day to exercise, to keep eating right and to do something creative and/or fun. I can’t feel guilty for doing these things and need to remember that they will ultimately make me more productive. Keeping balance is a daily struggle. I know we are all under stress and we are all in this together. Through prayer and leaning on each other, we are all going to make it.

Copy Protected by Chetans WP-Copyprotect. © 2012 Book of Pamphlets