Over the last year (or fifteen, whatever, but especially the last year), I’ve come to the realization that I need to teach. I rarely use that word, “need,” because there are very few things we actually need. However, teaching is actually a need for me in a mental, emotional, and spiritual way - it’s specific to who I am and who I was created to be.

In August 2016, I spoke at BarCamp Grand Rapids (an “unconference”) about developing WordPress plugins. The feedback was positive from the handful of people that came to that talk.

A couple months later, I started teaching JavaScript to a few of the designers I worked with. One of them eventually decided she preferred development over design and found a new job/career path. Some of the people I work with blame me for her leaving, and I unapologetically take the credit (don’t worry, it’s all good natured banter).

Between December 2016 and March (this year), I wrote up some tutorials for JavaScript and PHP. A couple weeks ago, I wrote an article, 5 Tips for Beginning Programmers, which was well received in the dev community. So much so, that it was my most liked and shared post (on any platform) of the year.

Over the summer, I started a site where I share life lessons found in video games. This basically takes my history and love of games and mashes it up with my desire to teach. At BarCamp Grand Rapids this year (again in August), I spoke on this very topic. This time, the seats were almost completely filled and we had some great discussion in the second half of the session.

Teaching is something I love doing. It’s one of the things that brings me the most fulfillment. It’s ingrained in me. I’m compelled to teach.

The apostle Paul talks about that very thing with his own calling. In 1 Corinthians 9:16, he says, “I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” While this verse is nestled in a section with him talking about his freedoms, rights, and rewards, this specific verse talks about his overwhelming desire and need to follow his calling.

In church, teaching was always my favorite part of ministry. Bible studies, preaching, teaching on a missions trip, etc. - if it involved teaching in some form, I enjoyed doing it. Even last week at a youth group leaders’ meeting, I briefly talked about worship and teaching it to others. I wasn’t initially planning on sharing, but as the meeting went on, the urge/need to share grew stronger. Again, I was compelled to teach (no matter how briefly).

When you find that thing you’re compelled to do, pay attention to it. Especially when it benefits others. There’s a good chance it’s pointing to something deeply ingrained in you. Something that speaks to the very core of who you are.

That thing, whether you name it a calling, a gifting, or whatever other word/phrase you prefer, when used properly will make the world a better place. You’ll also find incredible fulfillment in the midst of it, which will drive you to do more of that very thing. And doing more of what you are made to do, especially to help others, is always a good thing.