We all wear many hats in life. For the last few years I have worn several main hats – Spanish Teacher, Campus Minister, Wife, Mother. Within these hats are sub-hats: event planner, driver, counselor, preacher, friend, disciplinarian, leader, baby-sitter, maid, cook, creative director, prayer warrior, academic adviser.
The list goes on and on.
I’m sure you can relate.
There are moments that I take pride in the fact that I do so many things for so many people. Because I am extremely capable and well-rounded and gifted and organized and energized and mature enough to handle it all.
That is the loud voice in my ear. The dominant voice. The voice that wants me to be superwoman.
But there has been another voice speaking consistently since Evangeline was born. This voice says things I don’t like to hear. This voice reminds me that wearing so many hats, being invested in so many people and roles, isn’t good. That actually a lot of weeks Evangeline and Jon get neglected, I’m too tired to love them, play with them and serve them. Or my middle school students get a crappy teacher. Or my college students get a little bit of whatever is left over.
This voice has been nudging me to leave teaching Spanish for three years and for three years I have ignored it. For lots of reasons like my parents and I have paid a lot (and am still paying) of money for me to get a BA and an MA in Spanish and teaching. What a waste if I throw this away!
But more importantly, teaching Spanish has been part of my identity and part of my life and part of what I am passionate about, having been teaching for the last 7 years at the college level, on-line, and in a middle school. I currently love the teaching community I am a part of here in Tucson – amazing teachers and amazing kids.
Other less noble reasons such as having a ‘real’ job that people get. Lots of people don’t ‘get’ college ministry. And then there’s the consistent, reliable paycheck.
These things made it difficult to listen to this quiet voice.
Life, however, hasn’t gotten any easier and now we are on the verge of adding another little one to our family and I knew that I had to leave one of my jobs. I prayed about it a lot this year. I wrestled with it on, not exaggerating at all, a daily basis.
What is best for my family?
What am I most passionate about?
What makes the most sense?
I never came up with an answer to these questions, or if I did the answer would change the very next day.
What remained the same throughout this process was God’s consistent, and often times very persistent and blunt, reminders to me of what he asked me to give up three years ago. A very strong reminder and reassurance of my calling to bring the gospel to college students.
And so with a lot of sorrow of leaving my Paulo Freire Freedom School community, of leaving my ‘real’ career, and leaving behind a significant part of who I am and who I have been, I let my school directors know that I will not be coming back in the fall to teach for them.
In this sorrow I am also thankful to be taking a stand against doing ‘too’ much, as we are so prone to do in our culture of over-committed people. I am thankful to have more time to care for my children husband, and also give more to fewer people, but in that to give them something better than what they have been getting from me.
I’m not sure at this point how we will make up what I am losing in a paycheck, or how I”ll feel in August about not going back into the classroom, but I am very confident in Jesus’ words “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you”.
God has different callings for all of us, different avenues through which we seek Him and His Kingdom. For me, right now, it means leaving teaching.
So Good-bye Hat. Adiós Sombrero.