by Heather Reeves
Job searching these days has its ups and downs. The sacrifices we make between where we are and where we think we should be create confusion. My current job started off this way. This past school year was my first as a teacher and I struggled to find a position, so when I received an offer from a local juvenile facility I felt fortunate that I would be working in my chosen career.
The early days of working there are quite possibly the most tumultuous of my life. I was afraid of the students, and skeptical of my abilities to reach and create relationships with students who had backgrounds that I still can’t identify with. I was working with students who were there for beating their mom, stabbing their brother, gang activity, illegal drug use or any of the countless reasons I have seen in the past year.
Let me make this clear. I come from a home with two parents who gave me every opportunity, believed in me unconditionally, and constantly pushed me to be my best. In my opinion I had NO qualifications to teach in a youth home. I found myself in a very “I” centered place. Resenting God for putting me here when I was convinced my talents were meant to be used to teach students who wanted to be there, not students who are forced because of a court order.
I became stuck. I did my job in those early months, but I was constantly looking for a way out, a way to stay in my comfort zone. I was not moving, and I was certainly not growing. I had forgotten to trust in God that maybe I could make a difference, maybe I could enjoy this, and maybe this job was to open me to a world of possibilities that I could never imagine on my own.
I can’t tell you exactly when I came to that realization. However, I can tell you, after a lot of prayer and reflection, and many conversations, I made a conscious decision to take a leap of faith and make it work. It was at that point when a weight was lifted. I no longer dreaded coming to work, I enjoyed planning lessons; I got to know my students and see the best in each and every one of them despite their backgrounds. When I began believing that I had ALL the qualifications to teach in a youth home, my world was changed. I became the class that residents wanted to attend. The teacher that they felt they could talk to and a person that they could respect.
This story was put into perspective for me this week as I was helping to plan a service and ran across Switchfoot’s song Dare You to Move.
The parts that really resonated were the chorus and bridge:
I dare you to move, I dare you to move, I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor, I dare you to move, I dare you to move, like today never happened, today never happened before.
Maybe redemption has stories to tell, maybe forgiveness is right where you fell, Where can you run to escape from yourself? Where you gonna go? Where you gonna go?
God dared me to move, to become more than what I had previously been. I was on the floor out of self-pity, and it wasn’t until I decided to get up and move that I was shown forgiveness for the months I wasted. When I stopped trying to run from myself and my job, I learned what possibilities it had held all along.
I taught only three weeks of summer school this year, and on my last day, as the substitute was taking over, I had three students come to me and say, “Mrs. Reeves why aren’t you going to be here for the rest of the summer? We really want you to stay.” God brought me the opportunity; I had to choose to stop running.
Dare You to Move Lyrics are copyright 2003 by Switchfoot