Anonymous asked a question:
I’m a medical social worker and quite new to the profession. For a long while I had thought that it was what I wanted to do in life. Now… I’m not quite sure. It’s exhausting and I’m not quite sure if it’s beneficial for my mental health in the long run… so many patients to see who need a lot of help but hospitals just want to hurry and discharge them. Part of me wonders if it’s worth it or is it better to just work an unemotional administrative job. Any advice? Prayer please
Hey dear friend, I’m sorry that you’re going through this. I also applaud you for choosing your profession. I work alongside many social workers (I’m a hospital chaplain) and y’all are seriously the best of the best.
A few things. If you haven’t done so already, I would consider seeking therapy. It helps. Anyone in the field of service and healing takes on so much, and it’s too much for any one person to hold. It requires processing.
I would find experienced people in your field and be in conversation with them. Process with them. Ask them how they did it and how they continue to do so.
Some hospitals are not like others. I’m fortunate to work at a really good one where the nurses and doctors really care. Your issue might be the place you’re working at.
You had also mentioned it might be better to work an “unemotional administrative job.” I can tell you right now, almost any job is emotional, including admin. It really depends on how your workplace helps you to deal with those things.
Which brings us to “compassion fatigue.” This is a very real issue. Some of us (like me) over-identify with our patients and tend to feel everything all the time. It’s not entirely a bad thing, but it can also be draining. Some of us (also me) have a bit of a savior-martyr-hero syndrome and really need to check our motives. We need safer boundaries and more spaces of rest. We’re likely to pour out so much as if this is “sacrifice,” when really it’s self-harm and it ends up harming everyone.
It’s helpful to know what your rhythms look like. It’s worth asking: When do you get most tired? Most hurt? What do you do for rest? What is your body telling you today? What are your heart and mind saying? How can it be changed for better today?
Two other important things.
Continue reading “Compassion Fatigue: The Heartache of a Job That Requires All Heart”
How do you respond when someone says “If God is good then why did my sister die, why does he let people suffer and why does he let all these bad things happen in the world?”
You know, I’ve read tons of books on God’s goodness — even one that was over 500 pages long — with tons of great arguments and stories and victories and apologetic defenses, and I always agree with all the points. I’ve heard great sermons about God being in control and I can “amen” them all day long.
But when the hard times roll in: all my ideas about the goodness of God fall flat. When the trials come, my rock-solid theology evaporates. When life suckerpunches me in the gut, I double over and don’t get up for a long time.
In the face of real pain, life gets too messy for pat answers, cold comfort, and even well-meaning doctrine. Life in the moment tends to throw the Bible out the window.
If someone were to ask me, “If God is good then why did –?” … I would not even TRY to answer that one, because we’re not looking for some kind of logical rationale.
Oh, there are good answers for that one, and I believe them all, and we could sit down over coffee in our comfortable sweatpants in an air-conditioned room and discuss those reasons in calm collected voices: but when you experience the cancer, the car accident, and the phone call that changes everything, you’re not hearing me about God’s mysterious ways.
Continue reading “If God Is Good, Then Why Did —?”
“God cares less about what you’re doing — though He does care about that — but He is most concerned with who you’re becoming. He sees what your hands are doing but cares more about where your heart is going. God looks at the heart of man, not the appearance.”
I always thought my parents and these grown-ups had a super-secret system for organizing their life and making Huge Forever-Changing Decisions. Writing checks and doing taxes and paying the rent was like second nature to them. Me in my little kid boots, a sore neck from looking up all the time: it was daunting to think of being a grown-up.
It turns out, they were guessing most of the time.
Continue reading “Honestly, Half The Time I Have No Idea What I’m Doing”
I struggle to always and actually keep in step with the Spirit moment by moment. To submit and give up everything truly is radical and terrifying. However, when I think deeply about it, walking in my own wisdom, contrary to the Spirit’s leading, is even more frightful. Though I struggle, I know that ultimately I want nothing more than to live in total surrender and abandonment to the Spirit every moment I have left on this earth.
— Francis Chan