It’s Day 8/9 of being back to blogging and in yesterday morning’s work prayer meeting a wise organizational leader reminded us to keep calm and practice self-care. In social service/ministry, we often deal with trauma. And trauma is vicarious. It can transfer from those we serve onto us. If we’re not careful, it can infect us and make us physically, emotionally, relationally and spiritually sick too. Keeping calm and practicing self-care is the key to preventing this in our work/ministry lives.
What I’ve found, however, is that those of us who are nurturers often find it a challenge to provide ourselves with the same level of care we generously lavish on others. This was evident in the meeting when those of us who were dealing with the death (a huge D or challenge!) of a young woman and mother kept voicing concern over how it impacted everyone else. But when the group circled up around the two of us who worked closely with her and knew her best –– both of us women –– the depth of our pent-up pain manifested itself in tears that once released refused to be staunched despite the box of tissue we wept through. So why were we selfish with ourselves about our need to grieve and weep? It’s only natural that the loss of someone we tried so hard to save is devastating. In fact, when Lazarus died before Jesus could arrive to save him, the Bible tells us, “Jesus wept.” – John 11:35 (NIV).
Becoming completely vested in someone else involves experiencing their triumphs and their tragedies. In that sense, exposure to trauma is an occupational hazard. But its vicarious effects can be mitigated by acknowledging the myriad emotions we experience through being a part of another human’s life when the outcome is not what we hoped it would be. Sometimes the work still results in a world of hurt. And when we’re hurting, it’s not only ok to give ourselves some TLC, it’s necessary because we can’t help others heal if we won’t do it for ourselves.
So if you’re anything like me and are at work on purpose to serve others –– on the home front or in the workplace –– and sometimes feel your world is spinning out of control, I hope you’ll be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic, keep calm and practice self-care.
It’s Day 276 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project (I’m just picking up where I left off before extreme computer and internet issues preventing me from blogging) and an encounter during this time reminded me of how it pays to pay it forward.
I’ve been facing some Ds –– personal challenges that can negatively impact professional performance –– and had an opportunity to work at a friend’s family owned business to supplement my income. I served as administrative support and created work orders for customers. Sometimes the issues were minor and could wait. Other times, they were major emergencies. Always they were handled with caring customer service. In turn, though the company does no advertising or marketing, satisfied customers pay it forward in glowing recommendations and referrals.
Whether it’s fitting in one more customer who can’t wait a day or going above and beyond the call of duty to help someone who is literally in way over their head with an issue, meeting the needs of others is the theme that runs consistently through the pipes of this plumbing business! This was the case with a client I referred to them while director of a life coaching program. The business exceeded all expectations and delivered a result –– free of charge –– that caused the city to pick up the astronomical bill for Andrea, a truly deserving lady. In turn she’s gone out of her way to give to others in ways that are extraordinary. And she keeps getting showered with extravagent BLESSINGS. A few years ago she struggled to make ends meet. Now, because her needs were met (disastrous plumbing issue resolved, healing in relationships, some financial freedom, a new home and career) she’s meeting the needs of others. Andrea is experiencing how it pays to pay it forward.
As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose believer, I believe the Bible when it says, “And my God will meet all your needs.” (Phil. 4:19). I also believe He often does it through others. When that happens, there’s reciprocity. His children bless others and are in turn blessed.
How about you? Do you know someone who has a need today? On the homefront or in the workplace? Why not step out in faith, be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose, and meet it. If you do, I promise you’ll find out what my friend’s business and Andrea know. It truly does pay off to pay it forward.