Where is Your Hope?

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This year has been one of my most challenging years as an educator.  I still can't quite put my finger on it.  My students are great. My administration is great. My colleagues are great. But something just isn't quite sitting right with me. Most days I leave school with a tension headache and knots in my neck and shoulders.  I feel like the weight of the world is literally weighing me down.  I have a hard time getting things accomplished, and my to-do list seems to be never-ending.  I'm warring within myself because I know I'm doing my best, yet I still feel inadequate.  Sometimes I feel like I'm in the middle of the ocean treading water with an all-to-distant shoreline taunting me, just out of reach.

I have been doing all I know to do to try to center myself. I pray constantly.  I literally invite Jesus into my classroom every day.  I blast my "Jesus music" during my planning period in an attempt to keep my heart pointed to the cross.   But some days, I still feel like I'm fighting a losing battle.  I've started feeling hopeless, and with that hopelessness comes frustration.  Where's my help?  Is this going to get better?  Am I doing what I'm supposed to be doing? 

One day this week I left school completely discouraged.  Tears were dripping down my face and onto my shirt and my heart was heavier than it's been in a while.  I was thinking about test scores and data and constructed response writing prompts and Lexile levels and beating myself up for not being what I deem as good enough.  All of the sudden the Holy Spirit gave me a good little nudge.  Where is your hope, Carrie Beth?  And then it hit me.

My hope does not lie in test scores. My hope is not found in data analysis or percentages or growth bubbles or stretch bands or the teacher evaluation system.

My hope is in Christ alone.

This is what I must remember when I feel defeated like I did that day, when I want to throw my hands up and walk away.

My hope is in Christ, and he has placed a calling on my life to love kids. My current assignment may require me to administer state mandated tests and analyze data, but my hope is not in these things.  My hope is in Christ.  He is my Hope.

Be encouraged today.  Step back and remember in whom your hope lies.

As for me?

My hope is in Christ alone.