Joy for the Job


The Background

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted my career to be a wife and a mom. But, in the meantime, I knew I would go to college. While I love to learn, I didn’t have any plans or ideas for what I wanted to do. So I started taking business classes and a few general education classes. Halfway through my freshman year, I sat in my dad’s office crying and frustrated. I distinctly remember the words, “I have to find something else or I am going to quit school” coming out of my mouth. My dad, in his thoughtful wisdom, said, “Why don’t you look into some two-year degrees? There are many in the medical field that would allow you to work and make decent money.” And the search began.

I found occupational therapy (OT). As hard as it is to define the broad world of OT, does a pretty fantastic job: a

a form of therapy for those recuperating from physical or mental illness that encourages rehabilitation through the performance of activities required in daily life.

The more I researched occupational therapy, the happier I became. It is the perfect field for my vibrant personality. My outside-the-box way of viewing things. Always-thinking, ever-creating brain, and my love of people and seeing them accomplish their goals. One of my fears of working was that I would get stuck doing the same thing for many years, but OT is such a broad field that there is unlimited potential. Since I’ve been in the OT field, I’ve worked in several settings, including a psychiatric hospital, a nursing home, outpatient pediatrics, and school!

Currently, I work in a school district with kids in grades K-12. My days are a chaotic mix of fun toys, a million questions, occasionally cooking, laughter, creativity, and imagination (with some documentation thrown in).

Top 10 Reasons I’m Thankful for My Job

  1. I get to play with toys and other cool items (shout out to Legos, Bizzare Builder robots, and scented markers! – our current favorites).
  2. Kid giggles and tiny hands slipping into mine melt my heart daily!
  3. I have the opportunity to encourage teachers throughout my day. Whether writing notes or helping them out in a pinch, the opportunities abound!
  4. I get to use my creativity! As a person who is full of ideas, this is such a great outlet for me. I have the freedom to pretty much think up activities on a whim using whatever items I have available.
  5. I learn flexibility constantly. As a person who loves structure, it’s good to be almost constantly flexible and work around unexpected plans. Slowly, but surely, flexibility is becoming second nature to me.
  6. I promote independence and problem-solving! I’m always trying to get my kids (or anyone that I’m working with) to be as independent as possible.
  7. I get to speak to kids lives. I get to encourage them, teach them, and build trusting relationships with them.
  8. Get a full picture of child-like qualities. As I see and experience the ways kids think, process, question, trust, and wonder, I am reminded and challenged to keep a child-like perspective in my walk with Jesus. I’ve learned that He can handle the hard questions I throw at Him. And that He wants my trust. But that my unbelief doesn’t stop Him from caring and loving me. I’ve learned to take delight and wonder in everyday things – the sunrise, funky tea mugs, wildflowers.
  9. Every day is different. Even if I am working with the same kids, we are always switching things up. I never know what I’m walking into on a given day. Between student meltdowns, fire alarms, theme days (i.e. dress like your favorite character day), etc. Each day looks different!
  10. I learn to celebrate small victories. Some of my kids, they aren’t making huge advancements every day, so we focus on celebrating the small victories: “You used nice words instead of screaming when you felt upset, I am so proud of you for making that decision!” Celebrating small victories has brought so much joy into all areas of my life!

While there are still days when I’d rather stay in bed, every day I wake up thankful that I get to do a job so meaningful to me.

My Advice

The biggest thing I’ve learned is that no matter what I do, I need to do it for Jesus. One of my favorite verses is Colossians 3:23-24, which states:

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”

It helps me keep who I’m really serving in perspective as I go about my day.

I recently heard this quote from Martin Luther:

The Christian shoemaker does his duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship.

This is our mandate. What it takes to show the love of Jesus in our lives. Not spouting platitudes or wearing a cross necklace, but by living well. Excellence and a job well-done speak multitudes to people about your character. No matter what your job is, who you work with, or who you encounter throughout your day, LIVE WELL.