Compassion Fatigue: The Heartache of a Job That Requires All Heart

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.

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If God Is Good, Then Why Did —?

Anonymous asked:

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.

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Question: God Says No But I Want It — What Now?

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Anonymous asked:
what do you do when you want something so badly, and you know it’s completely against God’s will, but you just don’t want to give it up? i can’t state it explicitly here, but it’s not a tangible object, and it’s not lust. i’m sorry for being so vague. i just don’t know what to do anymore. i haven’t brought it before God wholeheartedly considering the nature of the problem; there’s such a huge gap between my conscience and the rest of me. i know i need to surrender but it’s easier said than done.

I’m assuming you’re talking about some kind of temptation since it’s against the presumed Will of God. You’ll have to clear up if it really is against God’s Will, or if maybe there’s a hyper-religiosity happening.

With temptation, I feel for you there. That’s just one of those things that gets right in our face until we can’t see much else. But you have a choice now to run to the balcony and see it for what it really is.

Like I’ve said before: I wish I could bottle up all the regret you’re going to feel after you keep pursuing this thing, then hand it over to you as Liquid Regret After-Juice, so you can drink that and go, “Oh yeah, duh. That would be stupid.”

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Question: Renewing My What?

Anonymous asked:
In Romans 12:2 we are told to renew our minds, how do we actually do that? Are there certain ways to help us renew our minds? Thanks for the help!

I think the simplest way to answer this is to read the rest of the chapter. Our dear Apostle Paul covers humility, the body of Christ, serving with our calling, love, joy, generosity, evil, justice, and dealing with big poopoo-heads (he calls them the enemy: same thing).  Actually, read the whole book of Romans.  You might want to wear bulletproof glasses for chapter nine.

The major thought on “mind renewal” in the Eastern culture has been to empty it.  The Bible never says this, but exhorts us to think about godly things.  Inversely, the Western culture is constantly pushing self-discipline, positive thought, inspiration, psychological adjustments, cognitive therapy, and thought rearrangement, but we all know where that goes, even if Paul didn’t tell us.  That’s a futile race of maintenance with no tangible goals.

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Quote: Cares


“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.”


Question: What About Disease and Disasters?

themichaelwchen asked:
Hello 🙂 Thank you for the follow! I have a question that I hope you may be able to shed a bit of light on. Actually, it’s a question that my friend asked me and I’ve been a bit torn on how to answer. Does God create disease and natural disasters? If so, why? If not, why doesn’t He stop them? I would appreciate your response greatly! -In Christ, Michael

Please first know that we tiny little human beings with our 3 lb. brains and stupid idol-craving hearts couldn’t possibly answer the huge question of planetary problems.  The Bible (not surprisingly) doesn’t say much about it, except that disaster and disease will happen.  In other words, God doesn’t need to defend Himself since He’s God.

But I’ll try to provide some biblical and logical reasons here. Please note that to an unbeliever, these answers will sound stupid.  But the Bible told us that would happen, even when Jesus died, and believers will reason it out through His Spirit.  So I’m not here to convince anyone, but rather humbly see things from God’s point of view.

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Honestly, Half The Time I Have No Idea What I’m Doing

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.

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Quote: Leading


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