I just typed up a bunch of words – 1, 299 to be exact – about how hard my life was through college and my first years here in the Dominican Republic. I wrote specifically about how in college I worked a bunch and studied a bunch and for a period went directly from a kindergarten classroom for field experience to a toddler classroom for my job. I wrote about not having a ton of friends because I was so busy and also not great at being a friend.
Then I wrote about YouthWorks and how that first summer was great but hard because of Kids Club and long days and not being super physically healthy. Then I wrote about moving to the Dominican Republic and starting my life as a college graduate adult in a foreign country where I knew zero people and how I had to start an English preschool program from scratch as the only American in the preschool department.
Then I wrote about moving to Jarabacoa and working at the hostel where I sometimes worked two weeks in a row without a day off and yet was only making (in the beginning) $20 U.S. more a month than my rent cost.
It was a lot of what we used to call humble brags even though I don’t think that was my intention – not my main intention anyway – but the point of it all was to say that because my life was hard for so many years, I kind of just assumed that that’s how life was. I didn’t even see my life as hard, I just saw it as life. And looking back it wasn’t even that hard because of privilege and stuff and there are definitely so many people in the world and in my neighborhood that are living through much harder to deal with crap than my hours as an English preschool teacher.
I typed up a whole bunch of words and hit publish and then the post just kind of disappeared. It’s not in my published posts and it’s not in my drafts, which leads me to believe that I needed to write it, but nobody needed to read it. So here goes – the intention, but in less words.
Lately a big part of God’s work in me is exposing to me the lies that I have been believing and building my life on. I have learned in big and obvious ways lately that the following tenets I had built my life and beliefs and feelings on are not actually true:
- I deserve a husband because I am a good person who follows the rules.
- Because I sometimes make mistakes, I am a failure who shouldn’t even try.
Typed out like that, it seems pretty obvious that those things aren’t true. But I bet that if all of us sat down with ourselves and dissected the beliefs that we are building our lives on, we would all find such obviously and laughably not true statements.
This 2017-2018 school year, my second school year in Jarabacoa, has been so great. There have been rough patches and hard things, but overall it has been easy and fun and nice and peaceful and joyful and great. Which is apparently the perfect time for satan to swoop in and remind me of another lie I had started to believe:
3. If it’s not hard, you’re not doing it right.
I think this is closely tied to the lie about me being a failure (I’m not) who shouldn’t even try (I should), because if my job isn’t hard then I’m obviously not doing enough and if teaching isn’t hard then I’m failing my students and my centers are probably a waste of time.
But, praise the Lord and Hallelujah, I’m calling out the lies. My job isn’t hard because I put in a lot of years to gain experience and education so that I could do this job well. My job isn’t hard because I know what I’m doing and my students are great. My job isn’t hard because I was literally created to be a teacher. I was born for such a time as this! My job isn’t hard because God knew what He was doing when He hired me as first grade teacher at JCS. You know?
So the point of all this, in just under 900 words, is to move you and to move me to look for the lies in our lives that we have accepted as truth. To look for the ways that we are punishing ourselves or beating ourselves up even though we know those are not productive pastimes.
Sometimes life is hard. That doesn’t mean we’re doing anything wrong. Sometimes life is easy. That doesn’t mean we’re doing anything especially right. Life ebbs and flows. For everything there is a season. Through it all, as long as we seek truth and life and light and love, as long as we practice self awareness and self discovery, we will be able to find joy and peace, no matter how hard or easy our situation. And, hopefully, we will be able to dispel the lies that we have built our lives on, and set a new foundation of truth.