Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Working with people... 3/2/2010

My job consists of two main components:

A) paper work to cover ourselves and liability.


B) working with people.

I will talk about the ins and outs of paperwork another day.  So does working with people mean that I am a people person.  Well yes, you have to be a people person for this job.  When you are working with families there is a level of interpersonal connections one needs to master with each client before true trust and groundwork can be laid.  If I can't empathize for my clients, and heck even my coworkers, I will ultimately not be able to do my job.  Sometimes empathy can seem a bit fake at first.  Sometimes I have tell myself, "Babs, in order for this client to accept your guidance, they have feel that you understand them, and in essence you have to."  There is very little room for generalizations in this stage.  Each client has a story to tell, and it is very meaningful and important to them.  If I go into my job, and I don't validate their feelings, then its going to be a tug of war.

However, I'm not perfect and there are days and even weeks (like this past 1.5 weeks) that I just don't feel like negotiating with anyone.  In a utopia society, I would be able to do all of the people to people interactions I want, and defer the negotiating, directing of visitations, and paperwork to a detail oriented coworker.  This probably won't happen in my life time, and mind you I'm only 8ish months on the job, my first job ever... thats a long time.
I could tell that I was not on my game with God these past few days, because there were more than a few times that those choice words were spoken under my breath, and even more times where I down right, stubbornly refused to want to negotiate.

Today though, I seem to be a bit more able to comprehend God's love and guidance.
So, in the book of James, (which a great book to learn and memorize in chunks) he talks about character a lot.
My dear brothers, take not of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to be angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.  Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. James 1:19-21.
Such a small chunk of scripture, so much ooey goodness.  Every time I felt angry this past week, I just felt a total lack of love for my clients.  I was cursing (not at them) when something didn't go right.  I was unable to listen to them objectively.  Its not the righteousness that God or I for that matter want to display in this job.  I started this job wanting to be radical in how I love my clients and their families.  I yearn for God's presence in all that I do. 

The more I allow myself to stubbornly get angry the more immature in my job I feel.  So moral filth that I'm going to throw away to begin with is cursing.  Cursing does not do anyone any good, its not professional, and it makes me feel ickier when I do it.  Also, the more I do it the more likely its going to slip out into an awkward situation.  Lastly, and most importantly... cursing my clients is like treating them less human.  Like I don't respect them.  Its not showing God's love to them.  Does God curse under his breath when he's working on my life?  There are a lot of times when he's more than a little less amused at my antics.

Second Thought, 1 peter, although I haven't read it like James, this verse when meditated on is so touching.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.  Instead, it whould be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which of great worth in God's sight. 1 Peter 3:3-4.

Once again, meditate on this scripture let it speak to you.  I want a quiet and gentle spirit, because its true... those qualities are unfading.  Gold will tarnish and fibers will disentegrate.  When I work with the people I come across in my job, whats going to be more valuable to them?  Would they rather a case manager who looks fashionable? or a case manager who will sit with them in the ugliest of situations and just be there, an unfading beautiful presence.  This just in (random though whilst writing this), we can't see God.  He's gentle and quiet, yet to so many he's unfading and beautiful.

In our culture beauty if synomous with worth.  When I think about this verse I usually start it with "your beauty {and worth}..."  Does that make the beauty Peter is talking about even more meaningful?  For me, beauty has become vain and shallow, I don't really connect with it because, I've always looked inside for my beauty (there are times where this falters of course).  But when I think of beauty in line with worth, it makes it more potent to me.
God, today help me to be quiet and gentle with the people I work with.  Quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to be angry.  I've been struggling with these values a lot lately, help me to focus on you then because it is clear that I cannot do this on my own.  Help me be radical in all that I do.

There's your daily cup of Joe,

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