For 21 years I have been a music teacher. I have prided myself on being a student advocate. I have made it my mission to love each student (even the difficult ones that make me inwardly roll my eyes occasionally). I have been sure to be an open proponent of arts education as well as try to be an example of having a growth mindset and demonstrate the role of a lifelong learner. I have directed numerous music programs and musicals with the intent of helping students grow, learn, and feel more at ease in front of an audience. I was a teacher before I was Mrs. Kilby, before I was a mom, and before I was ever a worship leader at a church. 


I am a music teacher. It’s my identity. I have a purpose. I do my job as unto God, trying to give my best in all I do. After all, I take Ephesians 6:7 very seriously! It says: Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. (NLT) Plus, Romans 12:11 says: Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 


As a music teacher who took her job seriously, I was too busy. It wasn’t bad! I was a good wife, mom, daughter, friend. However, I was, as my mom has told me since high school, too busy for my own good. Too busy to read a book for enjoyment. I was too busy to sit with my mom and really look into her eyes. I was so tired that a jog in the evening with my husband felt like too much. I was usually too busy or too tired to play games with my kids. I often stayed at school later in the afternoon than I should. I often obsessed over lessons, trying to get the most out of the short time I had with my students. I wanted the activities to be wonderful for the students. I wanted the units to be engaging and worthwhile. I wanted to do everything perfectly. 


Now a pandemic has caused schools to close for the remainder of this school year. I was fine for a couple weeks. It felt like spring break even though I began posting things on my school webpage. Then the time off was extended. I began feeling like I was having an identity crisis. I mean, what am I now? I made jokes about being a sweet little housewife. I have often wanted to be a housewife, so I was happy in one respect. However, in the midst of filming myself to post online music lessons for students, I will not get to make music with in person, and just hoping someone is watching them, I began to feel like I was less than I am. I realize a music teacher may not be someone you think of as “important,” but I suddenly felt less important than I was at the beginning of March. I felt I had no real purpose outside of the home anymore. 


So today I am questioning my purpose. I know my purpose is not being a music teacher. That is my job. My purpose is to love. Truly love. As God loves me, I am to love others. I’ve just known for 21 years that my main subjects of love have been my family and then my students. Today I am even questioning if I sometimes got the two switched……if I sometimes put my job first….. I am sure it happened around program time – and don’t know how to change that when I do go back to work. However, I am examining ways to keep from letting the desire for perfection (my pride!) keep me from my true purpose in my various life roles. If I am too tired to give to my family because I have strived for perfection at work for hours longer than I should, then I am not showing them God’s love as I should. 


I am reminded of the story of Mary and Martha in Luke chapter 10, verses 38-42. Martha and Mary were sisters. When the two sisters welcome Jesus into their home, Martha is annoyed because while she is so busy preparing food (I can relate!) her sister Mary is just sitting around at the feet of Jesus, listening to his teachings! Martha basically goes to Jesus and says, “Um…..Jesus, can’t you tell my sister Mary to stop sitting around and get her booty in the kitchen to help me out?” 


I am totally a Martha! I am so busy DOING that I often miss some important moments, nuances, and needs of my family. I feel the response Jesus gives Martha in verses 41 and 42 is often His reminder to me now as well. His words are still SO relevant:


But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”


Dear Lord,

May our actions be focused purely on you. May we study your word, meditate upon your teachings, pray with thanksgiving and faith, and be quick to share your love rather than get caught up in the preparations and THINGS and prideful activities that keep us from being the believers you desire. When we get back to “normal,” may we all be forever changed as we make more time for the things that truly matter. Let us be more like Mary. Let us sit at your feet and bask in your love as we listen to your teachings. 

In the beautiful name of Jesus, I pray,


Emily Kilby
Latest posts by Emily Kilby (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *