When are we enough?

This post is a quite a bit different from most you will read from me.  You might not get a lesson idea for next week or suggestion for my favorite make-up, but I hope your teacher heart gets a little something from this post.

As I start this, I guess I should start by saying I’m starting over in my fitness journey.  I know that sounds horrible, like why did I ever stop and honestly I can’t tell you why.  I will tell you it’s depressing to think about how hard I worked to only gain back everything I lost. But enough, woe is me. I know it’s time to get my behind in gear.  So I’m working really hard on my nutrition and starting to work out again. And this brings me to this post. As I started out tonight on a walk, I thought about how I used to run 3 miles and be home within 30 minutes, feeling strong and proud and then I’d go to the gym and lift. Tonight I was walking, jogging a bit and walking some more.  As I would pass the runners on the trail in my neighborhood, I really wanted to stop them and let them know I used to be like them. I couldn’t help but wonder if they thought of me as some overweight, weak girl.  Did they judge me for running and having to stop halfway up the hill? Did they know that I’m really trying to get back to that girl who could sprint up those hills and not miss a beat?

Furthermore, on that very same walk, alone with my thoughts, I had to wonder.  Why do I care so much? I know that many of us, especially teachers, love affirmation. We love to do it all, and have others wonder how we fit it all in. We try to make sure we have the cutest classrooms, most exciting lessons, adorable anchor charts and still find time to make 25 + rainbow cupcakes for that special theme lesson.  Now, I do these things because I love to make learning fun, I honestly enjoy doing these things most of the time, but sometimes I just do too much.  I load things on my plate, because I want to please others, I want to be the PERFECT teacher.  For example, I pride myself on keeping my parents overly informed. I post pictures of their kiddos weekly, they receive a homework sheet on Monday, reminder emails throughout the week, and a newsletter on Friday.  I get lots of thank you’s for making sure they don’t miss a thing.  Then one day, I forgot to send home the math homework. Now math goes home every Tuesday night like clockwork and I forgot.  And darn it, if I didn’t kick myself.  I mean, now I wasn’t perfect anymore.  What would the parents think? Now, as I write this, I know it seems insane.  No one is perfect. I know I’m not perfect. I know that there are days when my teaching is downright mediocre, but I don’t show you that on this blog.  Just like not many people post pictures of themselves on Facebook looking at hot mess.  Why? Because we all want to please. We want the approval of others.  

I also started to think about all the other ways I felt pressure in my life to be the best. Soon after starting my blog, I became a seller on TpT.  Now this was back in the stone ages when teacher blogs were as scarce as the sellers on TpT. The good old days when I often saw my name in the newsletter, as well as the top 10 best sellers list.  Do I see my name there anymore…not so much.  Does that bother me? A little.  Does this mean my products are no longer good enough? Does it mean I’m not good enough? Y’all, I know it doesn’t. I’ve found amazing products from teachers that are nowhere near the top 10. Teachers that are totally deserving of recognition for lessons that would benefit every child. And still I worry. 

And then there’s being a mommy and wife.  Gosh darn, the pressure! The pressure to make sure my boys are given every opportunity, that they have everything they need, that I let them know how much I love them, that their homework is correct, their clothes are nice and clean and that they do not behave like hooligans.  I have spent countless evenings making elaborate treats for snack day, cutting out what seems like thousands of pieces of felt for the perfect First Communion Banner and making sure their teachers and coaches feel appreciated by giving creative little gifts. And I love to do these things, but there are times when I just felt spread way too thin.  

And so, the point of this post.  Today, a very good friend shared an excerpt from her bible study and I couldn’t help but think of it tonight on my run, as well. 

“Until our hearts find complete security and significance in God’s unconditional love, we will never be satisfied. Those of us who struggle with insecurity and find ourselves in the shadow of doubt often get there because we are seeking our validation in people’s opinions, our worth in accomplishments, and our identity in excessive commitments.Until God’s love is enough, nothing else will be. We were made for love that isn’t measured by our latest accomplishment, but marked by God’s measureless grace. “

I don’t believe in coincidences when it comes to the Lord. He always provides us with what we need at just the right time.  And this would be the perfect time for me. As I feel pulled in a million directions at the end of the school year, I need to realize that I am enough. My efforts, no matter how big or small, are enough.  You ALL are enough.  We aren’t measured by a list on a website, or the beauty of an anchor chart.   We are all enough in his eyes.  God doesn’t make mistakes y’all, his love for us is unconditional and that needs to be enough.  

Picture of Michelle Oakes

Michelle Oakes

Wife, mom of 2 boys and a bulldog, reading specialist, Target frequenting lover of fashion, home decorating, Cincinnati girl.

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