Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Turning a Corner, Hitting a Wall

Something has changed in my work-ethic this year and has grown more noticeable even since returning from Christmas break. I'm putting in longer hours, more nights a week, than I have ever invested in my teaching before. Tonight marks my third night in a row in which I have spent more than 5 hours planning, and have stayed up past midnight to accomplish my planning.

Some of it has been immediate planning for the next day, but a vast majority has been long-range unit planning; broad, sweeping stuff. It feels like a gamble--I know from experience how plans change and ideals become disrupted. These plans and schedules may be meaningless next year if they do not work well this year. Or, they could serve as the foundation for my classes and mean that I can focus on finessing and fine-tuning. Oh, wouldn't that be sweet...

The unfortunate result of all of this time that I've invested is that I am thoroughly exhausted... physically, mentally, even spiritually. I feel so empty and so run-down. How can I work hard and do the best planning that I can while at the same time caring for myself and nurturing my relationship with God and with others? It's so easy to say that God is at the center of my life, to pray for that to be the case and to go on believing it; in practice, though, it feels like I've put God on the bench and my work is at the center. I need to refocus and think through why I am doing the work that I am... there's still room for hard work when God is at the center. In fact, God calls us to a high standard in our careers, and as we use our gifts to work within His world. I need to learn the line between hard work and self-destruction (which is absolutely NOT what God calls us to in our careers).

As it is, I can barely think right now. Bedtime, it is.

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