I’ve been thinking about “Jenny’s Principle” recently. When I began supply teaching, back in 1989, I was on ‘the Borough List’ – and two days a week, I was up bright and early, ready to go, the moment a school telephoned me. Most weeks I got at least one day’s work. Some days it was two – more often it was none.
One Friday at our Young Mums’ Bible Study Group [I was a YM back then] I complained that I was fed up with having my packed lunch all ready, my bag all sorted…and then no work [and no pay] and that by 9am, I would be feeling really despondent [and hard up]
My very wise friend Jenny said I was approaching it in the wrong way. Instead I should be saying “OK, I was ready to spend this day teaching – but now God has set me free to do what I want. What’s the best use of the next six hours?”
And I realised she was right. God had given me that time to use in the best way I could – and He would show me what I should be doing, and ensure that my family was provided for [even if it was not through my pay cheque]
And so I am applying '”Jenny’s Principle” on the mornings when there is no call. I have spent a day finishing an important household task which had been repeatedly put off. I used one day to complete a sewing task for a friend – and in the middle of it, was able to offer lunch to Bob’s visitor, and the three of us had a great time together, eating and chatting.
So often Bob asks “Have you done so-and-so” and I reply “I just haven’t had time yet”. I seem to swing between feeling I have too much to do – and feeling I have nothing to do!
I must learn to see these days, time I have set aside to be working as a Supply Teacher, as gifts from God – and if no school needs me, then there is clearly some other task He has for me. Michel Quoist, the French Priest, ended one of his ‘Prayers of Life’ like this..
Lord, I have time
All the time that You give me,
The years of my life,
The days of my years,
They are all mine. Mine to fill up calmly, peacefully,
But to fill up completely, right to the brim -
To offer to You, that of their stale water
You may make a rich wine, as you made once at Cana
I don't ask today Lord,
for time to do this or that.
I ask for Your grace to do conscientiously,
in the time that You give me,
the thing that You want me to do.