It felt uncomfortable at first, my ridiculous prayer. Not sure where it came from, but it rolled off my lips and then became what I have asked God for every single morning for the last six months.
I want to be the best Spanish teacher ever.
If you’re a Spanish teacher reading this, um, I’m not sure what this means for you, but I’m sure God can work it out.
Mentally I have built an altar with sticks, and on the top of the altar I am bringing God the excellence of my work. It has to be amazing.
Come, they told me.
Pa rum pum pum pum.
Me and my drum.
Me and my Spanish.
Our finest gifts we bring
Pa rum pum pum pum pum.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness. (1 Chronicles 16:29)
I prayed it in the morning and all day long: Lord, please help me be the best Spanish teacher ever. To that prayer I added gobs of elbow grease. Hours and hours of planning and studying Spanish.
Then the coolest thing happening –God answering my prayer. Like the advertisement that came up randomly in my Facebook feed. It led me to a TED talk by a guy who is multilingual, and his ideas about learning language ruined my productivity as a housekeeper for a whole day. He confirmed the teaching direction I had been pursuing and gave me encouragement and some powerful new ideas.
School started Monday, and I headed in with the Eye of the Tiger (I did have a Rocky Balboa poster hanging in my room as a teenager), ready to get my students speaking more Spanish. It was a good start.
But I came home thinking, How can I motivate them to want to speak in class? I asked the Lord that question 376 times before I went to bed.
When I woke up in the morning, the first thing I read was a blog post by a guy I’ve been following, named Tim Elmore. The title of the post was How Great Coaches Inspire Action. Well-timed help! I implemented two of his ideas the next day.
Then a good friend called in between classes yesterday and told me how she became fluent in French, and it was a pep talk straight from the Lord.
This has been my story over the last six months. I keep praying to be an excellent teacher, and God keeps feeding me new ideas, encouraging me, and helping me improve what I’m doing.
You may or may not care about what’s happening in my Spanish classroom, but I hope by now you’re excited about what you can put on your own altar.
“Whatever you are, be a good one,” said Abraham Lincoln.
God deserves our highest praise, and if we long to give this to him by way of excellence in our work, he will help us. He’ll provide the fuel to pour over the altar. And as he answers your prayer for excellence, it will make you want to build the altar even higher.
So what is your work, and how can you worship the Lord with your excellence in it?