I was able to view my student evaluations today. The feeling of cuing up those tabulations and comments is a little bit like going to the dentist for a routine check-up and then being told that it's time for a root canal and we're fresh out of anesthesia. Ohmygoodness. Hold me.
I read them and they were as expected. Full of warm praise for that which comes easily for me, and plenty of humble pie for the things that so elude me in the classroom.
But then I remembered that I had already surrendered these evaluations.
A few weeks before the end of the semester, I was convicted in my heart for obsessing over what the evaluations might say. The same old song with the steady refrain of What if they don't like me? I had to surrender that. Because I don't serve evaluations. Evaluations cannot be first in my life when I am trying to serve the Lord.
There was so much freedom in the surrender, but making the surrender stick is not easy, especially when you just want people to like you.
This is not to say that there was no value to the evals. The feedback was excellent food-for-thought, and it sobered me up about what I need to do for my second semester of full-time piloting at the podium. Not that I ever use a podium. Not that I can see over a podium.
The feedback also reminded me very much of our spiritual walk. There are always a few comments about how the teacher didn't seem to give good directions. Because you don't. You don't explain things. Why would you want to explain things or be clear about expectations?
It's clear from where these remarks derive. More often than not, you can guess they are from the students who whose attendance record was not so sparkling.
And aren't we all the student who does not Show Up enough in our walk? How easy is it to blame God for making everything so hard when we haven't even prayed with any sort of intention? How accountable do we hold ourselves to studying up and writing on our hearts what God offers us daily. And what about those blessings, new every morning, that we just leave on the table, like extra credit points that hold no luster for us?
What I know is this: my report card in every realm of my life is nowhere near as good as it could be. But I held my son for many moments today, and I sang to my daughter, nestled in her bed tonight, and the sweetness of all that was really off the charts.