For the first time in a while, I feel good about my work. I feel confident. I have a purpose and a desire to be there. I am able and adequate. 

Even so, there is that one person at work. That person rips all my confidence down.

That person gives me a sense of dread whenever I am close to seeing them. That person keeps me up at nights with thoughts swirling through my head. That person gives me those feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, and stress, simply for doing my job. 

I come to work prepared and eager to teach my students the curriculum for that day. I am excited to enlighten their minds, make them think, and help them to understand the world a bit more. I take a long, large sip out of my hot coffee as I look over my thought-out plans for the day. The peace before the storm of students is a time I cherish. 

It is then when she comes in. She says ‘Good Morning’ in a chipper tone, yet follows with a sarcastic question ‘another day eh?’  I want to respond with ‘yes!’ but instead I follow her strong sarcasm with a chuckle. Before I can say anything else she takes a glance at my desk and scoffs at my plans. She lays out a comment about how I won’t be able to complete a specific task, how my science lesson doesn’t make sense, or how my math project won’t work. She then reminds me of circumstances that will surely make my day worse. With a cheery good-bye, she has found multiple ways to make my self-assurance disappear, my joy be deflated, and my positivity turn to the opposite.

She has succeeded. My day is no longer what I had planned. I now question my plans and my ideas. I question that I can even do this job at all. For the rest of the day, I am inadequate and completely wrong for my position.

I wish I could go back home…under the covers. I was not meant for this – I cannot do this. 

How can one person make me feel this way? How can one person tear me down so easily, day after day? The better question is: How can I let them?

It is up to me. It is always up to me. Do I choose to hear their condescending voice? Do I choose to believe the words of opposition? I do – for a long time. Slowly I feel less and less able, less and less worthy, less and less acceptable. My self no longer stays as it was. 

The discouragement and scorn takes me into deep feelings of weakness and failure.

Where does my strength come from? My strength comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. (Ps. 121:1)

The Lord is my strength. People may tear me down day after day, but I must look to the Lord for strength. It is not people I aim to please, it is only the Lord. Can I ignore this voice around me hoping to bring me down in one way or another, for her gain or pleasure?

 I can with the help of my Lord.

Feature Image Courtesy jamesAnn Photography

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Esther Vandersluis

Esther is a Canadian writing from Hamilton, Ontario, living in a sea of pink as a girl mom to three. Find her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/beautifulalarm) where you will find writing for stay-at-home moms, moms with littles, sleep-deprived moms, moms feeding babies, and babies with failure to thrive, all under the umbrella of faith in Jesus Christ.

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