I have that urge again. That urge to quit my job and pull up shop and live an easy life where parents of students don’t accuse and students know you through community work and not as a teacher and I go home alone with no texts or calls from people who need my help. That urge to run. To hibernate.
A friend texted me last night and told me I should write a post about hibernation. I laughed it off. I knew what she meant. That innate desire to live where it is warm and read books at night and venture outside to celebrate God’s beautiful creation. The life that doesn’t have errands or hard days or IEPs (individualized education plans) or crazy holidays. That place where you don’t jump at phone calls coming in through the classroom line that you know are just a parent about to yell at you or blame you…because let’s be honest…you’ve never had a parent call and thank you in the eight years you’ve taught school. And I laughed off my friend’s text and went to bed.
I wake up early on Tuesdays to teach yoga to students before school. I love these kids! They are the ones who laugh at my jokes and seek me out in the hallway to talk about their day. But I hit snooze anyway (…4 times). After yoga and a returned parent phone call and two snarky emails, I sit in my freezing cold, silent classroom. And I realize how badly I want to hibernate.
I’m not sure why it always comes around this time of year. If it’s the cold, short days that lend themselves to being inside too much and a need to travel to a warmer climate. If it’s the end of the grading period and parents finally taking a look at their child’s grade and then asking them about it and amidst the chaos, the teacher getting blamed for work not turned in and less than satisfactory grades. If it’s being single and a leader and an introvert all at once that contributes to just wanting one person to step up and lift the days pressures off my shoulders, walk away with them, and not ask any questions.
Ultimately it’s a soul hunger. We weren’t meant to live in this broken world with harsh words and insecurities. We were made to live with God and be fully known and loved. These days are the hardest. There isn’t anything inherently wrong. There’s just an urge. A soul hunger.
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Philippians 3:20-21
So what do you do with that soul hunger? I want to surf the internet for a new job. I want to hand out worksheets and not bother with teaching today. I want to go home right when the bell rings and curl up on my couch and not move until it’s time for bed. But if my soul is really hungry, then the only thing that will truly satisfy it is God. Our life is just a whole bunch of moments and how we handle each of those moments can determine whether we cross the finish line whole…satisfied… limping, but with our eyes on the prize. So I prayed. I told God exactly how I felt.
Today is the 23rd birthday of an old student. He commented on his “Happy Birthday” facebook post that he still knew all of his amendments…”like a boss.” I looked to the right hand side of my desk at my stacks of graded papers and I saw the six-year old faded post-it-note from that student that said, “Have a nice day Ms. Robb.” The bell rang for class and an upset student that I’ve fought to reach this semester came up and confided in me how badly their morning was going. A senior came and showed me her completed senior project. My heart rate slowed. God had come through.
I will still go home and hibernate. I need to be alone to recharge. But my hibernation no longer has a negative tinge coloring the choice. And my urge isn’t completely gone, but it’s not in the forefront of my mind. And next week or tomorrow or in an hour I will have another bout of soul hunger. And I will have that moment where I choose to satisfy myself with God or with perishable things that feel good at the time and then leave me feeling empty.
And hibernation is nice. Sometimes it’s even necessary so you can fight harder battles on the other side. But God doesn’t call us to a life of comfort. To a life anxiety-free complete with yoga pants, UGG boots, and an old sweatshirt. God calls us into a battle. And sometimes the mundane and the feeling insignificant and the wanting to be alone is part of the battle.
“Sometimes the hardest times to consent to the Spirit’s vibrant life within are days marked by no special grief or joy, days like most days, “every day” days. Fill me.”
So I pray that God reminds me how to fight. That He reminds me who I am. That He shows me I am cherished. And I pray for soul satisfaction from God and from the purposes He has laid on my life so far. And I pray for the time to hibernate and also the strength to come out of hibernation and begin again.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12