Vision and Vocation: Rebekah Oragwu
I teach 6 and 7 year olds. This means I like: young children, movement, sunshine, art, bugs, invented spelling, play, number logic, community health, zillions of questions, singing, reading aloud.
It also means that I am learning to fight: germs, copy machines, my own expectations, others’ expectations, bureaucracy, regret, perfectionism, sentences beginning with “these kids can’t,” unbelief.
Especially during my first years in the classroom, there was a part of me that struggled to believe that God could tolerate (love?!) me if I didn’t earn it. I couldn’t earn it unless I felt that I had a good teaching day. I wouldn’t know if the day was good or not until I walked to the parking lot.
The school day itself would pass by in a blur, but as soon as I stepped into my car after work, I’d get an HD slow-mo IMAX 3D replay of my Top 10 Worst Educator Moments. Suddenly, the car was hot with my inadequacies and missteps and disappointments of the day. Whenever I told people I was a teacher, they’d tell me, “How perfect!” but they didn’t see me alone in the car, feeling grimy and empty and not-cut-out-for-this. I should’ve learned to code.
As I merged onto the 110, Jesus would say something like, “Let me wash your feet. Let me fill you.”
And I’d say something like, “But I’m supposed to be good at this!”
And He’d say something like, “There’s no ‘supposed to.’ Come.”
If I came, what would I find? What would He find?
“You shall never wash my feet!” I would say, and choose a playlist, and tune out, and come home weary.
Slowly, my perfect Teacher taught me that being broken and empty before him is not only fine with him, but is exactly where I need to be to receive His power. He reminds me that His Kingdom is given freely to the poor, weak, hungry, thirsty, and meek.
These days, I am learning to sit less and less in the self-judgment seat and more and more in the shadow of the Cross, and know that I can dare to be a sinner before Christ crucified, and know that His Work, not mine, saves me, heals me, and makes me acceptable.
Thanks be to God for daily showing me the truth about who He is and who I am. I begin to see both the places He is healing and the gifts He is affirming. I begin to be both the learner and the teacher He has created me to be.