Confusion. Voices like arrows fly from every direction. Paper clips flatten souls to file away. Keys to lock up.
The maelstrom that seeks to suck all of my strength, sanity, and energy five days per week requires daily, prayerful supplications. You may think I am too dramatic about my work; I have been known to get overly passionate. But if you could only see the devastation, the self-deception, the dire pleas for help, you might understand the labor of those who care for the sick afflicted with addiction.
New hires spend most of their time adapting to a work environment that requires at the same time moral excellence without judging the negative behaviors common in active addiction, unconditional regard for clients who distrust and often bite the hand of the giver, empathy from a genuine sense of respect while forbidden to elicit or expect reciprocity through relationship, consistency under unending pressure to yield to chaos.
So what caused me to seek employment in this field? I could pull out my old career inventory and quote personality characteristics, learning style, strengths, and preferences that therapists share. Reflecting over the many years I’ve worked in this field, though, I think three main reasons are illustrated in today’s Scriptures.
First, I love storms! Seriously. Jeremiah 51:16 says, “When He utters His voice—There is a multitude of waters in the heavens: He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightnings for the rain; He brings the wind out of His treasuries.” I know this is metaphor, but the image of wind, rain, lightning…excites me. I’m the wide-eyed one standing outside watching for the tornado to drop out of the gathering clouds. Seems, I’m drawn to trouble.
Second, lifting someone out of a difficult situation or helping someone to live a more peaceful life seems intensely important to me. Jeremiah 52:31 (the end of Jehoichin’s captivity) “…Evil-Merodach king of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, lifted up the head of Jehoichin king of Judah and brought him out of prison…and he ate bread regularly before the king all the days of his life.”
And lastly, working in this field reminds me daily that my sins were reason enough to need a Savior, an admission that assures me of His mercy, protection, and security. Hebrews 6: 17-19 “Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, [God’s word and His oath] in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…”
For all my blustering about the storms during the week, I am content to be where God allows me to serve so many who are fleeing from eternal darkness…
And sometimes just clearing the desk at the end of the day feels so right.