by Katelyn Pauls

August 14, 2012
Tonight I was lying in bed wide awake, thoughts running a million miles an hour through my head. I’ve found I’m kind of an obsessive planner. So tonight I was lying awake planning my life. Of course, nothing will be happening for at least a year, but like I said I’m obsessive, so I try to have a plan in place. I think I’m mainly worried about life slipping by me. I don’t want to be without a plan for so long that by the time I have it figured out my life is over. I’m worried about being stuck doing the same old thing, day in and day out, just because I can’t make a plan. I think that’s what frightens me more that almost anything on this earth is the endless monotony of my life as it sits, unplanned, right now. So here I am at midnight on a Monday (which I guess is now Tuesday…), planning my life.

However, it’s easier said than done. I have so many possibilities right now that I can’t even keep track of them all sometimes. It’s almost making me crazy! It’s not like I just have two or three choices. My life is a web of endless possibilities. From the specific options I know about to those possibilities that are just a click of the mouse away. But I’m worried I will never be satisfied anywhere. I felt like this at home and now I’m beginning to feel the same here. I thought it was the place and what I was doing, but now I’m not so sure. It can’t be the place. I moved halfway around the world to change that. Then I thought for sure that it was the job but again I’m doubting. I totally changed jobs also. In the states I was working in a nursing home as a CNA. Now I’m teaching people of all ages (3-30) how to speak English.

I’ve asked God many times what I’m supposed to do and where I’m supposed to be. I thought that maybe He had this ideal place in mind with a perfect job, tailored to me, and I’d be happy forever. But I’m starting to think that’s not the case. I’m realizing that, like Paul, I need to learn to be content in all situations. I need to focus more on what God wants me to do. With that focus, I don’t think I’ll ever be bored or dissatisfied. That job alone will single-handedly give me more challenges than I ever dreamed of. I realize now that the problem is with me.

I’m not looking at this ministry right. That’s exactly what I should see, a ministry. Not a job. That’s what I’ve been thinking of it as the entire month that I’ve been here. It’s just another job. But it’s not. It’s a ministry. Sure, I’m not here specifically to teach these kids about God and the Bible. I’m not here to save them from an impoverished life or a deadly disease. I’m here to teach them English. And not even out of the goodness of my heart. They’re paying for it. And because they can afford it they will go on their vacations to the US to practice. These kids are hardly needy. Many of them are rich and spoiled. But God doesn’t see them any differently. Why should I?

Maybe I’m not putting 100% into this work here. There are many small ways that I could introduce them to God every day in their lessons. With the younger ones we pray every day before they go home. I don’t think it means anything to them but maybe one day it will. What can I do to make my time here more meaningful and useful? I don’t want to leave here thinking that I’ve just completed another job and wasted a year of my life. I want to leave knowing that there are children here who now know the name of Jesus, even if they don’t understand all the consequences of that yet.

So maybe I’m just a little unfocused. God, help me see the work you brought me here to do. Give me the courage to give it my all, knowing that I’ll never be dissatisfied when I’m working for You. Help me to look past the outside and look to the inside of my students. Father, many of them need you no matter how put together everything seems on the outside. Help me to see with Your eyes. Give me the peace to know that everything I do with and for You has meaning and is not a waste of my time, no matter how insignificant. God, help me bring a little of You into all of my classes.

Am I ready to change? See as God sees? Develop a new mindset? Set new goals? Challenge accepted!