Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.
(Psalm 37:5-6, NIV)
When I graduated with a languages degree a couple of decades ago, like so many 22 year-olds fresh out of Uni, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. A number of my friends immediately went on to do a PGCE and became teachers. For me, this was not something I gave a moment’s consideration to.
In fact, teaching was on the “definitely not that” list, just below accountant and chiropodist.
So when, a few years later, a man I’d not met before, who was visiting friends at our church one Sunday, came over to tell me that God wanted to talk to me about education, I didn’t think it necessarily had anything to do with school teaching. He said, “I see education literally coming out from your belly towards others”. I wrote the man’s words down and saved it for the distant future.
Fast forward to 2021 and several changes of job later, and I’m a few weeks away from leaving my comfortable corporate world to go back to a student loan and NUS discounts, to train to be a secondary school French and German teacher.
It’s something God has been gently nudging me towards for some time. Three years ago, a member of The Point called June, who I’d not spoken to before, came over to me one Sunday. She told me God had prompted her to speak to me and that she saw knowledge and experience building up inside me over time, and that it would eventually overflow into others. At this point, I was already starting to think that the career in government policy I had been pursuing for 15 years was nearing its expiry date.
I started looking into the possibility of teaching. But would I enjoy teaching languages? Would I be any good at it? Especially after using them for nothing other than talking to Airbnb hosts and ordering food in restaurants for the past 20 years. How could it possibly work financially? Do I even like teenagers?
With big decisions like this, the Bible says we should pray about it, commit to doing God’s will and then simply try stuff (Psalm 37:5-6).
That doesn’t mean recklessly rushing into something, so I took my time to test it. I spent a couple of days in schools shadowing the languages teachers in lessons and I signed up to join the Point Youth team. I was honest with Michael, our Youth Pastor: “Michael, I’ve got an ulterior motive. I’m thinking about becoming a teacher and I need to test out whether I actually like spending time with teenagers.” And what an unexpectedly massive blessing it is to be able to spend a couple hours with our awesome young people every few weeks.
At every turn since making the decision at the start of the year to apply for teacher training, I have had nothing but encouragement that it’s the right thing to do; from friends and family, from teachers, from church and even from colleagues where I work now.
I’ve also come to enormously appreciate the privilege of working with young people, and I can honestly think of no career that would be more rewarding, fulfilling or worthwhile for me than teaching.
The CEV translation puts the Psalm 37 passage like this: “Let the Lord lead you and trust him to help. Then it will be clear as the noonday sun that you were right.” If you feel a stirring or prompting to do something new, and are unsure about making the decision, God isn’t (normally) going to make it for you. If you’ve genuinely committed your plans to Him, and keep praying about it, then the decision you make will be the right one – He will work with it, and He’ll let you know.