I realized that I should be grateful for my frustrations and unfulfilled desires. When I present my experiences teaching to some of my friends, I feel as though it is an endless litany of dislikes, discouragement, and downfalls. I don’t mean for it to be that way but I am unable to paint a purely rosy picture of a profession that I find difficult and stretching. Yet I realized that in some ways it is very good that I am not content with it all. I desire to do better, to improve my teaching, to reach out to my students. And while this means that I am not a perfect teacher it also means that I desire to do better than I am doing. Of course there is the necessary reminder that one shouldn’t always be frustrated and unfulfilled. But I desire such great things for my students and their souls that I am far too weak to deliver on my own. Thus, the tension. I long for greatness but fall into petty worries. I search for fulfillment but am left unsatisfied. I will never be completely fulfilled on earth. Only in Heaven will I find fulfillment for all of my good desires. Nevertheless, I yearn for this fulfillment, for this unobtainable perfection. We are trying to get back to something we once had, to something for which we were created.
“The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing — to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from — my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back.” –C.S. Lewis Till We Have Faces
Such beauty! Anyway, the point of all of this is that it is alright to not feel fulfilled and satisfied. We live in an imperfect world within an imperfect society. There is much to see in the world that needs change and transformation. My students will be imperfect because they are human and I will be imperfect because I, too, am a human. We are deeply flawed. Ah, but not beyond redemption! I shouldn’t glory in my misery or disappointments. Nevertheless, I don’t need to attempt to make myself believe that I should be 100% fulfilled and satisfied. There is conversion that needs to take place in my heart, I am a pilgrim traveling down the path of life, and I have not yet reached my eternal home.
The task of evangelizing the modern world is not easy. It isn’t easy because we are asking them to accept truth that is difficult to accept. Because we are telling people that perhaps the best thing for them is a life that includes suffering and painful growth and sacrifice. Yet I am thankful that the Lord has called me into this mission field and desires me try to reach His flock. It isn’t because I’m perfect–because He knows better than any my imperfections–but perhaps simply because I have this desire for His will to be done on earth, a longing for Heaven, and a knowledge that without Him, I am nothing.