Several years ago I decided I was ready to go back to work full-time. My youngest was in his last year of preschool and I was able to teach at my older two kid’s school. I love teaching. I loved taking my kids to school with me. We enjoyed the extra income. On paper, it was a perfect fit and scenario.
The first year was difficult with trying to teach full-time and manage a house with three children. I often felt overwhelmed and would break down in tears. I thought, “Next year will be better.” The next year was a little better because I wasn’t learning a new curriculum. However, I started noticing that all of my good habits to take care of myself were slowly fading. I stopped exercising regularly. My quiet times became less frequent and certainly less rich. I was in survival mode ALL THE TIME. Year three—my health started to fail. I was literally stressed out around the clock and falling apart at the seams. I was impatient with my kids, short-tempered with my husband and didn’t feel connected with life. I knew that I either had to quit working or everything good in my life would eventually disappear, including my marriage.
I was praying constantly over the course of those three years what God wanted me to do. I was so mixed up. I knew my husband liked me helping with supporting the family. There were so many seemingly positives, but the positives were turning already existing positives into negatives. Although it may have seemed like an obvious solution to others, it was more complicated than that. Life isn’t always black and white.
God is not a God of chaos. He does not want us to suffer unnecessarily. He is peaceful.
I lost my peace. I started to lose my joy.
I quit. Not because it no longer made sense on paper. Not because working is bad. I stopped working because it was killing all of my relationships—including my husband, my kids and with God. Just because something is good does not mean it is beneficial.
Quitters never win? Wrong! I won that day. My husband won that day. My children won that day. My relationship with God won that day. Saying no is sometimes saying yes to more important things.
1 Corinthians 14:33, “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the meetings of God’s holy people.”
It took me a year to recover from being in survival mode for so long and if I’m being honest, I’m still in recovery mode in my second year off.
The Lord quickly restored my relationship with Himself and my children. I love being able to have rich quiet times again and being alert and less distracted. I love being connected to my children’s hearts and knowing the ins and outs of what is going on and how they are feeling. My marriage is out of survival mode, but still has a lot of healing from three years of utter neglect.
Was it sin to go back to work? I don’t think so. Was it sin not to quit sooner? I don’t think so. God had to work it out inside of me. God used the time while I was teaching to witness to colleagues and parents. However, there were consequences for not quitting sooner as I already mentioned. I learned a lot about life. I learned a lot about God’s grace. I learned a lot about what is most important in life and how to keep it important. I am more appreciative of the time I have now with my family and children. I am more intentional about family time and special time with my kids as well as being more involved in their homework if they need it.
God did not create us to be in survival mode for long periods of time. When you see all the good things starting to go on the back burner for the start of one new good thing it’s time to pause and reevaluate. Hindsight is 20-20. In the midst of the chaos that 20/20 vision isn’t always possible.
God promises peace if we are in His will.
Have a great week!