Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."

Friday, May 22, 2020

The struggle

Today I'm struggling.
February 2012 – Reaching Hurting Women Ministries
Photo from Reaching hurting women ministries

I'm so over the top tired.

This whole COVID-19 situation has created lots of extra work at my job.  Lots of missives coming out every week from LA county DPH (dept of public health), from CMS (Center for Medicare & Medicaid), and the CDC.  Lots of time trying to figure out what they mean to me operationally for our facility and then working with our director of staff development  to determine how to train everyone on these changes.  Typically staff training prep and execution are among my favorite things, but I just feel exhausted.

Of course this is on top of an already challenging job of running a skilled nursing facility (SNF) with a special treatment program for schizophrenics.

My people are tired.  They've been working hard to absorb all the changes.  We have to wear these masks and goggles and that's exhausting; especially given that a large portion of our facility is outside.  On the good side it's like a park with all the big trees and grass; I've always adored these grounds.  But it's warm and the mask & goggles feel awkward and hot.  It sounds so minor but I can see it taking a toll on folks, and know it does me too.

I'm the administrator.  I'm the leader.  I've got to be positive, unafraid, confident and give encouragement to everyone else.  Make sure that I take care of my people.

It's not like I'm alone.  I've got some great leaders on my team who have really worked together with me to try to make things good for staff.

I recognize that I have so much to be thankful for.

We have not had anyone come down with COVID-19 symptoms (I say it this way because my guess is that if you tested all of the patients and our staff you'd find several of us have the virus but no symptoms).  My heart goes out to the traditional SNFs who are serving the elderly and have COVID-19 running rampant through their buildings and people dying.  Those are the people I'm praying for.  Those are the people who have a right to be tired.

But, even so, I still feel how I feel.  I can't guilt myself into feeling any better.  I read something from Brian Morykon with Renovare that struck true for me.   Morykon said:

"When I feel down, I’ll often compare my situation to others who currently have it much worse or historical worst case scenarios. My self pep talk goes something like this: “Get over it.”

This works about as well as you’d imagine.

While a strong dose of perspective is sometimes just the thing we need, author Fil Anderson notes that it is rarely healthy to “get over it”—things pushed down eventually come out sideways. We must instead enter into it and pass through it.  And to do that, “it” has to be clearly named."

This resonated for me.

Then my second thought was - but what is it?  What's actually making me feel so above and beyond overwhelmed and exhausted?

My first thoughts leap to what a poor woman of faith I am.  That I'm not making enough time to spend time in God's presence and that's why I'm so exhausted.

Now, it certainly is true that I will benefit from more time with God.  More time of spiritual nourishment so my soul can be strengthened for those tasks set before me.  I truly believe that God wants to use me right where I am and that I'm where I'm supposed to be.  But the guilt and self put downs are rarely helpful.

I don't get to bed at a reasonable time at night.  Partially 'cuz I'm afraid to go to bed - I've a history of tossing and turning. Partially 'cuz I stay up late reading fiction or watching TV and the conscious thoughts are about fun - I want fun in my life, this vicarious living out something energetic and fun calls to me. There's something disturbingly unwholesome in this whole dynamic but I don't know exactly how to fix it.  I guess, going forward, I will just make myself stop everything - reading, Youtube, TV-within 7.5hrs of when I need to get up the next day.  I can just sit for 30 minutes with my thoughts if I want to .....I'll try that and see what happens.

Maybe my it is a group of things that when all put together make it seem like "too much".  The work demands & sleep issues mentioned above combined with my own deepest fears of inadequacy.  Can I really do this, really be enough, really give my staff what they need and be the leader that can make things good here?  Of course not.  I know that God has me here, but it's only through Him that I'll ever pull this off.

Right now, I'm not even good at praying.  But I thank You God that You've give me Your Holy Spirit to live within me.  I thank You that Your Word tells me that the Holy Spirit prays with words that can't be expressed. Oh Father, I need You.  I need Your encouragement, hope, strength, wisdom and joy...

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