Change in oneself is often difficult to pinpoint. Growth can seem nearly nonexistent. Sometimes it is only after a decent length of time that we can begin to point out areas where we are different. Ah-ha! Something has changed! Finally!
There was a time when I realized that talking to Jesus throughout my day had become second nature. It wasn’t formal prayer or deep contemplation. Often times it would be a plea to help me in the midst of an event or a brief sighing of the name of Jesus. I will catch myself rushing to get to my car in the morning with a whispered, “Lord” on my lips. It isn’t meant to take the place of longer periods of prayers, but it is a way to invite Him into the midst of the chaos.
Several other examples of such realizations could be given, but this past summer I discovered that I am far more at ease with my students than ever before. I helped cook for a summer discipleship camp and a few of my students were there. At least one was curious about if they could call me by my first name or if they should use my teacher name. They never asked me, but for the first summer I realized that I would have been fine with being called Trish by students I had taught a couple months earlier. Earlier years I would have insisted on the latter.
My first year of teaching I dreaded running into students outside of school. I was thankful to not live in my school’s town because the chances of seeing them would be far less. Now, I’m not too bothered when the barista is a former student or my grocery bagger is a kid I have in class. (However, I will admit that sometimes I will avoid a student’s line when I have alcohol in my cart because it can seem to weird them out.)
This isn’t something I intentionally worked on. It simply came to be with time. The change, nonetheless, is very much appreciated. I feel more free to live my life and be okay with students catching a glimpse of that life. Yes, I still catch myself looking at the restaurant door each time it opens, waiting for it to be a student, but I’m beginning to become settled in that.
Change happens slowly, gradually: like the growing pains of childhood that eventually yield new height when you aren’t paying attention. This school year will hopefully be another year of good change and of growth in who I am as a person. I have a deep desire for this year to be the best year so far. Not, primarily, because I want it to be perfect (although I have a strong perfectionism streak) but because Jesus desires an abundance of life for me. He has little secrets and beautiful plans that will unfold in time. And as they do, God willing, I’ll change.