Career Day. 5th grade. I forgot it was career day. Forgot to dress up. But, that’s okay because I planned to be a teacher and teachers just wore regular clothes anyway. I was pretty sure that I wanted to be a teacher. Either a teacher or a nurse, “someone that helps people” I always said. The field trip to the hospital in sixth grade, where I fainted from the hospitals sights and smells convinced me that a teacher was probably the better route. I wasn’t just going to be any teacher, though. I was going to be an awe-inspiring, teacher of the year who walked into a classroom full of inner city toughs and single-handedly changed their lives by loving them and inspiring them to be their best.
Fast forward to my first year of teaching. The suburbs. Major fail. I was chewed up and spit out by 27 fourth and fifth graders and thought maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a teacher after all.
Eleven years later and I am teaching, after a few starts and stops. But, this time, it is in a private school in a mountain town. I have two kids and a husband, and while I am not living the white-picket fence “American Dream”, neither am I living the fully missional life that I always imagined.
I have spent most of my grown-up life waiting for things to fall into place so that I can start living a missional life. I will give lots when I have more money. I will volunteer at a woman’s shelter when I am not working full time, I will adopt when my kids get a little older, I will get to know my neighbors when I live in the right neighborhood…
This past year I have come to realize that I need to start living out my vision now. So I have started making small changes to my life. Instead of wishing that I have a lot to give,I simply give, sacrificially, what I can. Making an effort to build relationships, even though it means that the laundry will pile and the tub won’t get scrubbed.
As Helen Keller said “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”