So today I left a job I’ve been in for 13 years — a middle school teacher. AND I left the place I have worked at for six years — longer than any other place I’ve ever worked — my school. I was there when we first opened the doors. In fact, one night my husband, oldest son, and I got a personal tour of the facility by our superintendent while it was near the end of the construction phase. We were among the very first to see inside those walls.
And today I said goodbye.
As I turned to take a last look at my classroom, I broke into tears. I couldn’t help it. I sobbed as I loaded my car and drove out of the parking lot. Sobbed like a baby.
It’s not as if I’ve been forced to leave. I applied and interviewed for this new position. I wanted this position. And these tears — this sadness — doesn’t in any way reflect on a lack of excitement to take on a new role. The two are separate and coexist. My sadness over leaving a job a love, and my excitement and eagerness to greet a new job Monday. How can I be both sad to leave a job and excited about starting a new one? It’s all about change.
Change is hard.
Beginning today I am a high school teacher. I realize for some people, a teacher is a teacher. But I just don’t think so. I can’t help but think, what if I fail? How will I learn a new curriculum? How will I cover everything in a semester rather than a year? Where’s the copy machine? When can I pee? Where’s the coffee IV? What am I expected to cover? Will the other teachers like me? Can I read To Kill a Mockingbird this weekend? Will I be ready for students Monday?
My mind is buzzing because change unleashes every insecurity I hold. It’s really not that different for anyone else, either. When faced with a major change in life, we all think, “Can I do this?” And the answer is almost always yes. But until we discover that answer for ourselves by living with the change, our minds naturally go to all of the reasons why we aren’t strong enough, we aren’t capable enough, we aren’t able enough.
With all of this mental sabotage, I searched for Biblical figures that had to deal with major change in their lives. And I found quite the inspiration. In Genesis 12, God commands Abram to leave everyone and everything he had known. God didn’t provide Abram with tons of information, either. It was just go.
Surely, Abram felt some of the same uncertainties we feel when we deal with change. But he left out for Canaan anyway trusting God to provide him all he needed and to protect him.
That’s where I find myself now. In the midst of those anxieties, I can choose to follow Abram’s example and follow through with God’s provisions and help. We all can when change knocks on our door. And by doing so, we embrace the excitement while minimizing the anxieties and sadness.