December 11, 2013

Choose Joy

There are many times when I am not joyful in my job. In fact, there are days that I would rather yank the covers over my head and drown myself in sleep deeeeeep into the afternoon than go visit kids and families in their homes and then have to write case notes about it. Anybody feel me?

But that's a normal day in the life of a social worker.

To be technical, I am not a true "social worker." A social worker usually has a degree in the field and pursues licensure. I, on the other hand, have a rogue BA in Youth Ministry and am pursuing an MDiv. I actually stumbled upon (ha, ha...God's ways are perfect) mental health work over 8 years ago when I first started seminary. It was the only job I could obtain at the time that worked with teen girls (my fave population) in a capacity as close to "vocational ministry" as I could get. And these years spent in the mental/behavioral health field have proved invaluable for getting hands-on experience with crisis issues that face the youth in our churches today! 

So what do I do, exactly? In short, I work with youth and families that are struggling. I facilitate a program called "wraparound" that is an evidence-based practice used with families in order to "wrap" all the supports "around" a youth who is in some sort of crisis. The program works to build up that child's strengths and address his/her needs through community-based supports so that eventually the family can move on from our agency successfully. I also provide services to families by teaching life skills and habilitation (mainly things like anger management, social skills, parenting, etc.) and assist with a therapy group for rehabilitating juvenile sexual offenders. Whew! When I read that back to myself just now, it seems like a lot...but c'est la vie!

So this week has already proved to be a jammed-packed one - and it's flying by at near-blender puree speed! And yes, it has already been full of unexpected issues (like having to deflect and evade some aggression - fun, fun!). But the week has also been full of blessings. For I have had the opportunity to train, reprove, correct, encourage, praise, honor, and comfort others. 

So while I sometimes detest a lot of the trials and trappings that come with my job, there are good days...and good weeks. And any time I have the opportunity to minister to a family and witness through word and deed to the people that I serve, I praise God for that!

If your days sometimes end up like mine...hours spent driving, hours spent in trainings, hours spent completing seemingly endless amounts of documentation...I get it. NOT thrilling (in the least!). But we can take heart in the fact that those times are foreordained by our Lord. And even if we are not "feeling it," we should long to rejoice in the days that HE has made. In short - to choose joy.

"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24 (ESV)

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