In a few short months, I am looking at two years of retirement. It might surprise you for me to tell you how, just recently, I entertained the thought of what it was like to work full time. I let the memories of lesson plans, evaluations, testing and day to day teaching fill my mind. Many of you might now be wondering if I am losing it, but I assure you I am not.
My work right now looks very different. There is not a paycheck or regular hours, but at the same time I’m consumed by the work. The past week felt hard and that is what prompted me to go back in time. Weariness and a feeling of being overwhelmed all at the same time taught me that the fruit of hard work is to work harder. You might want to read that last line again. I’ll wait right here for you!
Teaching is hard work. It taxes you physically, emotionally and mentally. There are rewards when you see a struggling student finally “get it”. But while the hard work gets harder, it does not always produce the fruit. My travel back in time stopped almost as soon as it began because I know that where I am right now is the place I am supposed to be. Working laboriously has it merits but my focus looks different. God’s purpose for me is not in the classroom, but finds itself in coffee shops, church, or in my own home. God loves when we persevere and choose His work over and over.
My job right now is God’s work. Even though there are days I am still not sure what that is supposed to look like, it is the place where God calls and hopefully I answer “yes”. I yearn to know God better and in the seeking I pray for overflow that I may share His love and truth with others. It looks like sitting, praying, listening, and then doing it all over again. If my greatest desire is to empower other women in who they are in Christ, then I need to stop and let God fill me. Remember the fruit of hard work is to work harder and when we work for God it doesn’t feel so hard.
Monday nights are spent in discipleship with other women. A community who desires to know God better and in the process get to know themselves better. As the leader of a small group, I either leave the gathering believing Jesus was present in every moment and in every woman, or the results look more like a train wreck. I sound like an all or nothing girl.
The reality is that Jesus shows up every week. I need to ask myself hard questions such as:
- Did I show up ready to let God work in and through me?
- Was enough time spent in God’s presence throughout the week in preparation?
- And were the hearts of the women ready to receive and give back what they welcomed into their hearts?
The fruit of hard work is to work harder. It is saying “yes” even when you don’t feel like it. On the days that look more like a train wreck, it is pausing and inviting God into your heart again. It is knowing that the power of God comes from time spent with Him–no agendas, just you and Him.
In Galatians 5, we are advised against following the desires of a sinful nature. Instead, we learn that when we allow the Holy Spirit to work through us, even if the work is hard, we produce fruit. Here is what this amazing fruit is:
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
The thought of doing the hard work of teaching in a classroom dissipated rapidly. The joy of working hard for the Lord remains.
May your hard work produce the fruit of joy, patience, love, peace, kindness, goodness and faithfulness.
Linking today with:
and Dawn for Grace Moments
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