For the first time in my life, I do not enjoy being a nurse. It hurts my heart to say that but I woke up last Tuesday and just didn’t want to do it anymore. And above all else, I do not enjoy being a nurse leader right now. I could spend hours discussing the reasons, who or what is to blame, but honestly those words would be in vain. We are in the midst of our 4th COVID surge and I want to give up. I’m tired of social media, people trying to politicize a medical crisis and I’m tired of coming up with Plan A, B, C...Z and no plan being good enough. This nurse leader is worn out and tired. I have found myself asking the following questions: what do you do when you lose the passion for what you love? How do you keep going forward when you have nothing left to give? Isn’t it someone else’s turn to do this? Am I in the wrong career? Why is this happening to us?
As I explored those thought provoking questions I came to a very important conclusion: It is not about me. It’s not about my ability or my feelings or even my passion. It’s about following God’s calling on your life. Where I am at this moment in time is not an accident. Over the last few weeks I’ve witnessed selfish behavior that has broken my heart. And I have to wonder as I contemplate turning my back on a career that God clearly has destined for me, does God think I’m selfish? He has put a calling on my life. This pandemic is not a surprise. The fact I’m an inexperienced nurse executive in this pandemic is not a surprise to Him. The fact I’m a mother to a medically complex, special needs infant while learning to be a nurse executive during a pandemic is not a surprise to Him. It’s not about me. It’s about Him. He called me to this place and my only job is to put one foot in front of the other and keep doing what He has called me to do. All of the requirements to do this job and serve His purpose, He will provide for me.
To all of the nurses (and other healthcare professionals!) out there struggling to connect to your purpose, remember it is not about YOU. It is about God. God has called us to this moment. We have to resist the urge to get caught up in our feelings because feelings betray and distract us. We have to stay grounded in our purpose to live out His Purpose. Where you are in this pandemic is not an accident.
I cannot help but feel a little like Moses, Joshua and Elijah. And not Moses at his best. I feel like Moses at his worst (well maybe not his worst. Moses murdered someone. I’m not quite there.) Maybe Moses at his not-so-best moments. That’s the Moses I’m talking about. The not-so-great Moses; that’s me. Not-so-great Moses wannabe. The moment God called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and he responded with NOT ME including all the best excuses not to go.
10 But Moses said, “No, Lord, don't send me. I have never been a good speaker, and I haven't become one since you began to speak to me. I am a poor speaker, slow and hesitant.” 11The Lord said to him, “Who gives man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or dumb? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? It is I, the Lord. 12 Now, go! I will help you to speak, and I will tell you what to say.”
13 But Moses answered, “No, Lord, please send someone else.”
Moses doesn’t win his case and ends up leading the Israelites out of Egypt. It is not easy and if you step back and read the entire book of Exodus, it reads a bit like a horror story. BUT God works through Moses.
When Moses handed off the journey to Joshua, Moses reminded Joshua that the Lord your God goes with you, He will never leave you nor forsake you. Moses repeated the instructions, be strong and courageous and do not be afraid, over and over again (at least 4-5 times!) when he explained to Joshua that he would be his successor (Deuteronomy 31). And again after Moses died, God told Joshua the same message - be strong and courageous, I’ve got this (he emphasized this message at least 7 times in Joshua 1). I have to wonder if everyone, including God, reminded Joshua to be strong and courageous and to remember God was with him because he watched the journey Moses brought the Israelites on to that point and was like “Heck no, I’m not doing this! Have you seen how hard the journey has been thus far?!?”.
And then I remember Elijah watched a sacrificial miracle performed on Mount Carmel and then defeated the prophets of Baal only to quickly fall afraid of Jezebel and run for his life (1 Kings 18, 19). Over the past 18 months I’ve watched God perform miracles from seeing an unlikely patient recover to somehow, someway giving us just enough equipment and staff to just get by with our patient load. And yet, I’m afraid for what our future holds. I want to run like Elijah.
Here is the takeaway for me. I am tired. My feelings weigh me down and make me feel unprepared and afraid to go on. But God will give me just the rest I need. I feel defeated but God will shine a light on little wins to keep me going. I feel out of resources but God will come through with just what we need. I know this because there hasn’t been a day in my life when He hasn’t been faithful.
This is not an accident. This is His purpose for my life right now. To Him be the Glory.
Strong, courageous and faithful,
Note: The opinions and feelings expressed in this blog are solely that of the author and does not in any way reflect the opinions of or represent any employer, organization or academic affiliation to whom the author may be associated with currently or in the past.
Just a few reflections about everything God is teaching me in this life...a journey deeper into His purpose for my life.