I was freaking out all day today about the confirmation class I had to teach tonight. Last week didn’t go so well in the slightest. I was really nervous, my voice and hands kept shaking, my face kept burning, and my mouth was so dry tumbleweeds were spilling out of it. The kids in my class did *not* want to be there, and they did *not* want to talk about whatever we were supposed to talk about. They looked at me like I had a second head, and I had a hard time not letting my awkward high school self shine through. Seriously. It was a hot mess. So today I felt so much stress and so many nerves about my class. I reviewed my lesson plan over and over again (even between the lines and in the margins). I created a “Confirmation Class Contract” laying down my rules and expectations for my kids to sign. I brought in my blue brain-shaped stress ball to use as a “talking stick” so we wouldn’t have everyone talking over each other again. I wrote notes on sticky notes and stuck them on more pieces of paper. Before Mass, I went in to adoration for a couple minutes and freaked out.
What if they don’t like me? What if they think this is stupid? What if I can’t get through to any of them? What if I misrepresent You? What if I get too nervous to speak again? What if I spent all four years studying theology in college to be a youth minister, only to realize that I am completely terrible at it? What if I missed my calling? What if??
It wasn’t a very pretty scene and I’m glad that only me and Jesus were in the adoration chapel at the time. But then, in the silence of the chapel, staring into Jesus’s gigantic Host-y eye, He gave me a good metaphorical whack across the face. He said, “Sara, do you seriously think I’d throw you to the wolves like that? Do you really think that there is no reason you were put with that particular class? Who do you think I am!?”
First of all… it’s not about me. Who cares if I look cool. What the heck. That doesn’t even matter. All I have to do is be myself… because myself is who is teaching that particular group of freshmen. There is going to be one or two or twelve of those students who are going to be affected because of me being the person God created me to be. Secondly… I shine God’s love. That’s what matters. God takes care of the rest. Even if they all look at me like they think I’m crazier than wearing flip-flops outside in a Minnesota winter… so what. God is taking care of whats going on in their hearts.
Duh, Sara. How liberating. The responsibility doesn’t entirely lie on my shoulders. I am just supposed to reflect God’s love in a way my freshmen can understand. I am supposed to travel with them on their spiritual journeys. God will use me however God will see fit. And God placed me in that particular class for a particular reason, dang nabbit. The ONLY way I can screw it up is if I go in there and say, “Hey. How about we toss those Bibles for a minute and smoke something illegal instead.” Otherwise, seriously… it’s foolproof. God’s got it.
It was a great feeling. And tonight’s class went SO much better. We got into a lot of great conversation about God’s plans for us, and we learned a lot about what the Bible has to say about leadership. And we created a heartfelt covenant prayer that actually shows some beautiful thoughts about our roles as Catholic-Christians.
And maybe… just maybe… those kids left my class today changed just a tiny little bit. Maybe… just maybe… that mustard seed has been planted. Maybe!