Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Where do you find your identity?

A couple days ago I was asked to give some insight into how I integrate my faith with medicine and my job. This is something I've always thought about but have never put down on paper. After pondering on it awhile here are some of my thoughts on the matter...see what you think. Do you agree? Disagree? 

Q: How can you honor God through your work itself?

A: I think the most important way I can honor God is recognizing my identity is in Christ, not in my job or in the work I do. Since my identity is found in Christ as his image bearer, my job is to reflect who Christ is.  What does this look like? It means I strive to do my job with integrity and honesty. I try to be above reproach in my job, working diligently, humbly, and with perseverance, doing my job without mumbling or grumbling, all to the glory of God. In my line of work, this can be very hard to do at times… actually most of the time, and is impossible to do without Christ. I don’t have to rely on my strength or will power to do it, I know that my identity is in Christ so whatever gets thrown at me or said toward me I can respond in a manner honoring and glorifying to God. It also means when I fail, I don’t despair and I can admit my failings and fall even more desperately into dependence on God, knowing that I need more of Him.

Q: Who can you love through your job?

A: My primary mission is with my co-workers as I have developed relationships with them and do life with them on a regular basis at work and outside of work. My job gives me a great avenue to reflect Christ’s love. In my job, I can’t necessarily openly evangelize and witness, but I can share my faith in the way I interact with my co-workers and how I respond to situations, whether it involves another co-worker or a patient. Those around me watch my response and actions I take. Am I living the walk I talk? When a co-worker is talking badly about another co-worker, do I join in or do I stand up for them and say something positive? My second mission is with my patients. Loving the unlovable at times is so hard and challenging. When I work with an unlovable patient, do I love them and treat them with respect, even though they probably don’t deserve it? These are questions that run through my head all the time. Am I reflecting Christ’s love? Or am I living under the fear of man and worried about what they will think of me? Or do I try and enact my own justice? God challenges me in this area everyday and I have grown from it. I should live under the fear of God, not the fear of man. It requires fighting against my own fleshly response to not dish it back to them when they verbally abuse me, spit in my face and throw stuff at me. This is Christ in me…reflecting God’s image does not come from inside me but through me. How many times was Christ made fun of, scoffed at, spit at, etc.? What was His response? In the flesh? Or in the Spirit? I am more than ever reminded of how much I need to find my identity in Him, not in what I do or the job I have. My co-workers see this and know this isn’t “normal”. I’ve actually been asked “why are you so nice to them”? “You need to work on that…you shouldn’t take that abuse”. My reply, it’s not me. It’s my faith.

Q: What can you do because of your job?

A: I have a unique and special job since it gives me the opportunity to be in the middle of suffering, life, death, sickness, abuse, hurt, etc. on a daily basis. I meet people in some of their most vulnerable, painful times of their life. I have a unique role to serve these patients in their most dire time of need. The opportunity to speak into their lives, serve them, pray for them, love them, challenge them, and listen to them is amazing and so rewarding. Don’t get me wrong, it is also so challenging…heart breaking…frustrating…stressful…and devastating at times. BUT ultimately my hope is in Christ. He knows ALL. He understands ALL. ALL has a perfect purpose in His Story. Knowing this is what helps me get through the hurt, stress, pain and trauma I see and deal with on a frequent basis. Do I fail all the time? Yes. Do I get annoyed? Do I get upset? Of course. I just realize I need even more help from my Savior. I have hope. I have a greater purpose in life…yes I want to be a great emergency nurse and do the best job I can do, but I also know if my job goes away it won’t change who I am. I am child of God and that’s my identity and my purpose is to serve, love, and bring glory to my God. 

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