by Lisa Pinney
I want to tell you a story of a woman I once knew. This woman left her position at a small Christian school to begin working at an inpatient dual diagnosed D&A rehab. She knew she was called to work with the broken. The folks she met daily were very broken. Day after day she listened to heavy stories of things that had happened to the clients. At the same time, she saw lives restored. This particular rehab had high employee turnover as well. Some of the employees burned out, some relapsed, some moved on to other careers because the work was too heavy.
Around the 2-year mark, the woman noticed a few changes in herself but shrugged them off. She chalked it up to a recent promotion she had received, and the fact she was no longer working with teens. Afterall, she was called to work with the broken and she wanted to be faithful to God. Things also began to change in her personal life compounding her discouragement and disillusionment. There came a point where she could no longer put on her proverbial mask for the world. She didn’t know where to turn. She was the strong one. The one everyone else came to for help. Now, she needed help and didn’t know where to turn. So, she did the only thing she could do. She shut down inside and just went through the motions of each day. The women whose compassion blessed so many, needed a little TLC, self-compassion and counseling.
Here were some of the changes she recalls from working at the rehab. I categorized them into 3 areas where her life had changed.
- A belief that she did not have the support of leadership.
- A suspicion that her subordinates were waiting for her to fail, quit or get fired.
- A sense of isolation because of the first two.
- She self-medicated by shopping, watching TV, and some wine to help her sleep at night.
- She felt numb during the week. She didn’t know that numbing can happen as a way to cope with constant stress.
- She had frequent bouts of crying on the weekends.
- She spent more time in bed “resting” because she was always tired. When she looked back, she recalls it more accurately as, a form of escape.
- A loss in her desire to be around family and friends after work.
- A general loss of interest.
- Racing Thoughts. Subconsciously, it was all in an effort to not fail in “the call.” She now knows her identity was wrapped up in her call and not Christ.
- A loss of joy
- She frequently missed church due to fatigue.
- She used to love to worship God but noticed herself standing silently during worship on the Sundays she did attend church.
- She was no longer able to be blessed when she read her Bible because she had a hard time focusing on anything other than her job. Remember her racing thoughts?
She eventually left her job (her call) for another career after less than 3 years. That woman was me!
Since then, I’ve learned a lot.
First and foremost, I learned God cares about me! I learned my identity cannot be in what I do for Him. I came to realize that I moved into my call before I was healed enough from past hurts. None the less God used it.
I was hustling for my worth on a subconscious level. This hustling I speak of stemmed from my unmet desires and emotional needs that were crying out for attention. Here’s the thing, when we hustle for our worth, we conform, perform, subconsciously promote ourselves and vie for position. I did all of the above to feel like I was enough, to feel significant, to have some sense of achievement. I needed to prove the words of my biological father wrong when he said "you’ll never amount to anything.”
I’ve since moved back into my true call and it doesn’t consume or define me. Today, I am a faith and life coach helping those with emotional pain or need to make a transition in their lives. God used everything I experienced to help others. If you can relate to my story, don’t deny your need. Jesus Christ paid an extremely high price for your life and wellbeing.
Use this short assessment to see if your call is changing you. Be brutally honest with yourself or ask a trusted friend if they have noticed any changes in your life.
Is my world is becoming smaller?
- Am I less interested in activities that I used to enjoy?
- Am I more fatigued or exhausted?
- Am I less involved with friends and family?
Am I denying or medicating my stress and the emotional pain it causes by:
- Drinking more?
- Taking extra or stronger anxiety medications?
- Sleeping more?
- Watching TV more?
- Mindlessly scrolling social media looking for something to make you feel alive?
Am I more:
Am I less:
Don’t let your call become your identity. Reach out to me, I can help. I have a deck of cards and a journal to use as a ministry tool or for yourself. Cut Cards and The Cut Through Tough Emotions Journal help you navigate through tough emotions to be able to connect deeply with the Father in prayer.
Pittsburgh Transformation Center