What can I say? After August I hit the mid-Internship chaos and traded blogging for sleep. Let’s just say that internship had it’s great moments, and some downs. The six drafts from that time, may be posted … one day.
Over a year has passed, and I’ve taught in China, been to New Zealand and Singapore, scored a new job, resigned and got another, chosen to stay in Newcastle and enrolled in a new (nearly finished) degree. Given my intended purpose for this blog, I think it’s worth ignoring my trips overseas and sharing why I chose to stay in Newcastle, find another job and do a Masters degree online.
At the start of 2015, I asked someone at my church if I should stay in Newcastle another year. The answer I was given wasn’t a simple yes or no; but a question which asked me to reflect on my ability at that time to go out, not as a new teaching graduate, but as a worker for Christ.
Was I prepared and equipped to leave the Newcastle community, and live with teaching not as my number one priority?
At the time, it was easy to convince myself to stay. On the surface, because I wanted to “grow”; in reality, if I chose to stay in Newcastle, I’d just enroll in my Masters degree and continue through with my job at the uni. I could just take my graduate position after my Masters was done. Easy peasy. No real rocks to the boat and clearly, not an honest answer to the question I was posed.
However, by the end of 2015 it wasn’t such an easy choice and I was actually challenged to make hard decisions (for reals this time). The uni changed the Masters program and I wasn’t able to enroll. This meant I couldn’t continue with my university job. I’d committed to staying in Newcastle, because it was the easy option. Yet now, I had to really ask myself, was I prepared to leave and go out as a worker for Christ?
Such a choice, particularly based on work, requires you to check your motives. To be a worker for Christ, your priority in moving on actually needs to be with serving Christ because as Christians, our whole life is a sacrifice to God (moving, jobs, dreams, careers.. all of it).
….In view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…. ~ Romans 12: 1-2
Was I prepared to serve God in such a massive way? Given my sinfulness of choosing to stay in the first place, it was a resounding no.
I eventually came to realise that to stay, I was going to need to do my Masters online AND look for a new job. Neither one of these was a happy prospect. Studying online is hard, and means you can’t be superfluous about being on top of uni; nor does having a “normal” (non-student job) allow you to use uni as a reason to avoid work. When you also factor in making time for church and loving those around you, it becomes this abysmal cavern of low ambiguity and high organisation. It requires effort and actual thought — which is exhausting.
The choices that I made were not the ones I wanted, nor particularly liked. Yet it gave me all of 2016 to grow and work on placing God as sovereign in all parts of my life.