I needed a change. After several years of teaching, I wasn't sure I wanted to continue. But would else could I do?
I needed a change. After seven years of teaching, on and off, I wasn't sure that I wanted to continue.
Perhaps it was a temporary dissatisfaction, and someday I would want to teach again with renewed passion. Perhaps it was just emotional fatigue from a hard, uncertain year. But right now, I didn't want to teach. Over several months, the feeling grew and grew that I simply had to find something else to do.
What did I actually love about teaching? Creativity, facilitating learning, and my students. I had to admit that I didn't really like anything else about teaching and its accompanying lifestyle. Perhaps I could find another job that would embrace the core things I loved, without actually being a teacher.
I began to pray, "God, what am I supposed to do? I need a break from the classroom. I want to do something more with my love for reading and writing and thinking, with creativity. But I feel it needs to look different from regular teaching."
One day, out of the blue, I was called for an informal chat with a couple of directors in an organization where I'd been doing some freelance proofreading work. "Have you ever thought about changing careers?" they asked me. "Would that be something you'd be willing to consider?"
That's interesting timing, I thought.
Five months later, I joined Adventist Radio London as a producer and presenter. (Watch this space as we begin to develop our content and bring it to air!) I just got back from a team training weekend with a BBC professional. I'm still testing out how "broadcaster" instead of "English teacher" feels on my tongue. I'm a little overwhelmed, but genuinely happy.
It's been an interesting emotional journey, transitioning to a new career. I actually felt guilty, for a while. I'd spent years studying English Education and then Applied Linguistics. Had I wasted all that time? Had I wasted people's investment in me? Wasted their money that went into scholarships and other support that had enabled me to get my degrees?
But one day I had an "aha" moment. Perhaps it sounds obvious, but it really clicked for me:
The foundational commitment of my life, as a Christian, is to God. Not to one career path. Not to one country. Not to one organization. To God.
He has promised to guide me, and as I learn to listen to Him better, I simply follow where He leads. I don't have to feel unnecessary guilt. I don't need my every move to make sense to everyone else (or to me) at first. He loves me, He is leading me, He is working things out for my good, and I can rest in that. That is immensely freeing!
Besides, nothing is wasted with Him. All my past experience prepares me for my future, even if that future doesn't look quite like I'd imagined.
God is a God of abundance. He goes beyond what we ask or imagine. And I really do think He has a sense of humour! I wanted a job that could use and develop my creative skills, but I didn't expect it would look like radio. It kinda feels like God said, "You want creativity? Excellent! Sure! Here's creativity on the next level! You'll be swimming in it! I'm so excited you asked!"
I will be doing all the things I love. I will also be doing some things that are completely new to me. I can already see areas in which this job will stretch and grow me, both personally and professionally.
I do get moments when the new direction, with all its accompanying transition, is a little bit scary. When it feels like God has given me a little bit too much "abundance," perhaps. I know my team and I are facing a challenge.
But with God leading us, we will be OK.
Maybe one day I will go back to teaching, but right now I'm preparing to embrace broadcasting. And I'm happy. It's one more exciting plot twist in my story, and I know the Author of Life has a great ending in mind.