I recently completed three days of intense training which included discussions of trauma, death, and suicide. Good training will reach you and stay with you. I continue to process the training and lessons.
Here are a few brief lessons from the training:
Firstly, communication is vitally important. It may be that you have experienced an especially challenging and difficult day with things seen, heard, or otherwise encountered. I used to think that not all jobs are stressful. I was wrong. Any job and/or circumstance can be made stressful by the conditions, people, and our reactions. What you do with that stress, frustration, anxiety, and anger is the big question.
Why do I emphasize communication? Communication is the key to the rest of your day. What you say/do when you get home can be the difference between being in a happy and rewarding relationship or being alone.
Put another way, when you are stressed, communicate that fact in a gentle way with the people who love you. Share that you have had a bad day which has you in a bad mood. This tells the people that love you, especially children, that you are not mad at them.
Another lesson from this training is to know and remember that you are important. You make a difference. Your life is meaningful. It may not always seem that way, but it is true. There is only one you and no one does you better than you. That does not mean that you cannot improve, we can all improve. It just means that the world is better for your presence in it.
This leads me to another lesson. It seems that in this world in which we live it is okay to talk about diets, exercise, and physical fitness. It is okay to talk about losing weight and getting back into shape. I too have changed my diet. I am trying a simple lifestyle change through a combination of fewer carbs, smaller portions, and more exercise. It is easier said than done as carbs are found in nearly everything.
While talking about diet and physical fitness is emphasized, talking about spiritual fitness is less so. Yet spiritual fitness is also vitally important. You cannot be and do everything. Giving your stresses to God, who cares for you, is key. God cares about you and loves you. Know that!
Last lesson: we seldom talk about our mental health. The past two years have been extremely stressful. Self-care includes talking with trained and experienced counselors. There are many counselors in Interior Alaska. Alcohol and drugs are not counselors and will not heal you.
I hope you will take these lessons on communication, self-worth, and wellness (physical, nutritional, spiritual, and mental) to heart for your sake and those around you. Life is short, take it seriously, communicate, seek help as needed, and you will move forward.
“Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7
Rev. Stephen Reed is the Pastor at St. Paul Church on Farmers Loop next to Mushers Hall and the Chaplain for Police and Fire.
Insight is sponsored by the Tanana Valley Christian Conference
Printed in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner's Faith Section on July 23, 2021
Married 26 years, 2 kids, 1 cat and 1 dog. Ordained & Chaplain for 20 years. Ministry philosophy - we're all in this together and Jesus leads the way. Hobbies: working in the woodshed, teaching, and competitive shooting