Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.Hebrews 13:7 NKJV
These past two weeks an interesting change has happened to me at work. I went from being a sub teacher, or floater, to the main teacher. The pay is the same and I’m in the same building with the same people. It doesn’t mean the mindset and responsibilities of the jobs are the same.
You see, as a floater, I floated. I went from group to group, covering teachers’ classes when they were sick or they had the day off. I was always going from one place to another, always on call. The motto was, put me where you need me. That was the responsibility, to be ready for anything. There were different styles of teaching to get used to, different students, different rules and standards. I was always on my toes, always ready to shift and move with the flow.
Then there is the main teacher. The main teacher is the one that works closely with the main Hungarian teacher, the one that finalizes any English activity decisions. They plan and get to know each student. They’re the ones with the responsibility of drilling in what is expected of the students and their English learning. They’re partly responsible for the group. They are a constant for the group. Their motto, build and cultivate your group’s love of English.
As I said, I went from being a floater to the main teacher. I went from floating to being a constant. With that change came a few eye-opening things about being constant and consistent. One, I can’t get better at being constant by just saying I need to get better, I have to persevere. Training and practicing consistency isn’t about getting better or making it easier, it’s about lasting longer.
It’s like practicing running for a mile versus 100 M. For short distances, you work and build ways to go faster, to stay on your toes. In long-distance, yes it helps to stay on your toes, but what you’re practicing is perseverance, enduring the work and toll on your body for longer. God is a great coach and knows what you’re practicing and what the goal for you is. If a long-distance runner tries to get faster, they forget about persevering. So many times this week I found myself telling myself to be ready for anything, stay on my toes, but that wasn’t my role anymore. God had to remind me to persevere and the limits to take to do that.
And that was a biggie. Consistency has limits. I couldn’t go from one extreme to the other. Quiet one day, loud the next. I had to really lean on God to pace myself, to give in to these limitations so that I could go forward in the same lane. In a race, there is a lane and we have to stay in it, we go outside of it and we’re disqualified. As a floater, I was in different lanes, every day. But now I’m in only one lane, EVERY day. I have to act according to that lane. I have to trust and let God lead every step I take in that lane because of one wrong move and I could be disqualified or worse, get used to breaking routine and letting things slide. Each step I take within these new limits has to be sure.
That was another thing that was new. If I want to be consistent, I have to be confident and passionate about that decision. Because if I’m not, the days it is hard to continue or persevere through, that confidence and passion come in to say, “Hey God told me I can do this. I have to do this.” For example, I was appalled by the rudeness of the class I was taking over. Everyone just took from each other and expected their way without asking. I asked God how to fix it. He led me to something simple that they hadn’t been doing, saying please and thank you.
It seems like an easy thing to remember and enforce, but to enforce that consistently is hard. There were days we were in a rush and it would have been easy to just let the kids go by without saying it, but then that passion and desire to be a teacher that cultivated love and respect came in. I remembered what God showed me. So I enforced it, confidently standing by my decision and slowing things down to ensure that the students say please and thank you. Whether it was to me or their Hungarian teacher. Because of that confidence and passion, the students remember because I didn’t let them forget.
Being a floater is nice and needed. But being on your toes and floating isn’t a foundation. It’s simply a seed or an invitation to a new perspective. Being constant is building a foundation. And one of the most important things in building a foundation is God.
He is truly consistent. He is passionate and confident about His decision to reconcile us to Him. I mean He gave his child and life for us. He sets and follows his own limits, even reminding us to take at least one day of rest by doing it Himself. He became a man, born of a woman, and died, sending his flesh to dust, yet also rose again as the prophecies foretold. He preserves through the times we decide to deny Him because He loves us. He still thinks about us and wants us as we are. His mind is still focused on His true goal, us and bringing us closer to Him, loving us.
This job change has been God’s answer for me and shows me His love in more ways than I know. But it really showed me that consistency changes lives. God is constant, faithful, the same yesterday, today, and forever. He changes lives. He is changing mine. I am His child, whose life is forever changing and growing thanks to Him. I love Him, so I love His people. Therefore, with God, I have to show His people, His consistency. I have to consistently be more like Him.