Most days I actually feel like this dog at my new job.
You know the saying “God will never give you more than you can handle?” I used to quote it and actually believe it until I was in situations where it was very apparent I couldn’t handle it. I truly believe God WILL give us more than we can handle because when we come through on the other side it’s not because of our skill or efforts but because of Him. It has been the story of my life for the last two years and the best stories come out of it 🙂 .
My new role is definitely the biggest one I’ve ever held. In my past communication positions, I’ve always been part of a communications team. Although I had some significant responsibilities, no major decisions were left to me and I didn’t have much input into planning or the overall strategy. I saw the plan for the year and was given a certain part of it to execute. At this job, I’m the only communications person. Eek! My direct report is to the CEO which means that everyone looks to me for advice and strategy when it comes to media, communications and public relations. I’m also managing my own budget, mentoring volunteers (which I’ve done previously), putting forward business cases for projects and strategizing for the organisation. I’m so used to that responsibility being on someone else sometimes I forget why people are asking me all these questions. LOL! Plus there is the day-to-day things including supporting other co-workers on projects, managing the website and social media accounts, managing graphic design requests, organising the quarterly newsletter and writing for the e-newsletter, and assisting on grant writing, award applications and whatever else comes across my desk. I am the go-to person and it’s a bit scary.
This is probably the hardest job I’ve ever had in all respects from the workload to the emotional and mental toll. I don’t have a background in the health sector so I felt I was even further behind when I started. I realised shortly after I started that what I knew about HIV was very different from the reality of people living with HIV. I literally had to throw out everything I knew, leave all judgments and preconceived ideas at the door and just listen to people’s stories. I’m so thankful that Australia has a health care system where antiretroviral medication (drugs that suppress HIV in one’s system to ‘undetectable’ so the risk of transmission is almost zero) are accessible and affordable. If someone is diagnosed with the virus it can be managed. What makes this virus so challenging is the stigma that surrounds it.
There are some confronting issues in regards to HIV transmission that haven’t been easy for me to deal with personally. The most common way of transmission is through sex and more than half of new transmissions are among men who have sex with men. Women are often overlooked as a priority population, injecting drug users are also seeing steady numbers and new cases are starting to rise within the transgender community. This is not a black or white issue. It’s complex. People are complex and my organisation work alongside all types of people living with, or affected by the virus regardless of gender, sexuallity, race and we even support family members.
I’ve always wondered why this job, why this sector, why me? LOL! I didn’t think I was ready to be in a environment like this and as a Christian there are aspects of my job that confront my beliefs and it’s not easy!
I’m reminded of Joshua when he just took over after Moses died. The Israelites were not able to enter the promised land due to their lack of faith and disobedience. I mean granted, if I was in that situation I can’t say with absolute certainty that I wouldn’t be looking at God saying, “where’s the land flowing of milk and honey?!” But unbelief leads to disobedience and the Israelites didn’t truly believe that God would take them through to where he said because what their current situation didn’t line up with what God said. Their lack of faith cost them the promises God had for them. Now, when Joshua (only him and Caleb remained faithful and God said would enter the promised land) took over once Moses died, God gave him clear instructions that Joshua would lead the people into the promised land and everywhere they set foot would be given to them. Then God said,
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 ESV
Obedience and faith. That’s all God wants. If he says go, just go and trust that He knows what he’s doing. We never see the entire picture so we can’t base our decisions often on just what’s in front of us. I don’t have to worry about planning on how to save souls or change people. LOL! God does that. All I do is stay surrendered and ask, “Ok God. What’s the plan for today?”
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where I am or who I’m with, I get to share the good news of Jesus and the Gospel. Sometimes it’s a bit intimidating. I mean Christianity or the Gospel isn’t exactly popular nowadays but I’m learning to be free from people bondage. And Jesus goes meets people where they are at so that’s what I get the privilege to do. Plus my coworkers are a riot! LOL! I’ve cultivated so many inside jokes with everyone and if anyone ever feels cold, my office is always a sauna with the heat on so there’s always someone sitting in there 🙂 .
I have my days though. It’s not always a cakewalk and I get stressed, overwhelmed and just plain tired. But the light shines brighter the darker the space and any place that doesn’t have Jesus is the perfect place to be.