Let me level with you. I can't even count how many times I've thought about quitting since I started teaching.
(Oh, hi there, administrators who read my blog! Nice to see you again.)
It doesn't scare me to tell people this anymore. You know why? If you haven't felt that way about your career, I might be worried.
As a passion-filled person, it's impossible for me to do things halfway. Instead of simply checking off a to-do list, I want to affect big change, make an impact on hearts, show people love.
Let me tell you, friend. That passion work is not for the faint of heart.
I was listening to The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey the other day, and Christy Wright mentioned the risk-averse nature of little girls. Women, especially, have been hardwired since toddler-dom to believe that self-preservation is the key. If something causes us pain, we want to avoid it in the future. This seems much more logical than a little boy's lack of common sense in repeating an event in which they were injured last time.
Here's the thing: Passion work, kingdom work, making waves, and affecting change doesn't afford you the option to forego pain.
You can't skip it, skirt around it, or cover it with concealer and caffeine (although, everyone knows we all try).
Ah, but you must be wondering, Jess, how can someone sustain that level of passion if it is so painful?
The Answer: I'm trying to figure that out, too. Here are a few things I know.
Loving people like Jesus does not mean they will love you back.
Seeing the bigger picture and imagining how it could be better takes more time than being complacent.
Try to change things anyway.
Giving your absolute best is not always met with recognition, or even visible progress.
Sow the seeds anyway.
Doing passion work is not meant to make you bigger in everyone's estimation. The point is to help others see in themselves what they never knew was there. The point is to remind them that they don't have to do it on their own.
Reminder: You don't have to do it on your own, either.
A few things I do to stay alive:
Shoot for abundance, not sanity. Spoiler Alert: Sanity's not a thing. When I feel like I'm clawing for survival rather than finding pockets of thankfulness and progress, I need to take a step back and allow myself to take in what's already there. That's abundance. That's the sweet life.
Find something that relaxes you. For me, it's writing a blog in the space of personal experience rather than pedagogy. (Although, I do that, too.) It's soaking in a hot bath with some essential oils. It's driving among a bunch of trees and hills (since we don't have mountains). Sometimes, when I'm really busy all I can afford is to take a deep, luxurious breath. Find things that relax you, and make sure you pinpoint things that can be done in a variety of seasons.
Take what your husband (or friend, or family member) says seriously. I scored the jackpot of affirmation with Presley. He tells me I'm beautiful, he encourages my hard work and big dreams, he does the dishes most of the time. Sometimes Presley will tell me something, and I assume he is saying it because he has to. He loves me. He's my husband. OF COURSE he thinks I'm hard-working and fighting the good fight. News flash: He means it. So does my mom. So does my brother. So does my best friend. Don't wait to be affirmed by someone directly above you, or a student, patient, or whoever that translates to in your job. Sometimes the people among whom we are planting seeds won't ever attribute the sowing to us. They will benefit from the growth. Trust that. But you may never be thanked, and that is just part of changing lives.
What do you do to sustain your passion in work? How do you stay alive?! TELL ME. (I'm talking to you administrators who read my blog, too!)
P.S. In case you haven't joined the party already, follow me on Insta for my completely pointless stories and BTS of my life! JK. I might put something helpful for writers on there in a few days, too!