If you don’t know, one of the hats I wear is chaplain of Powell County EMS located in Stanton, KY (this is where Shiloh, the church I serve, is located). Every month I’m writing a devotional to share with the crews. This is the one I wrote for January; I shared it with a few friends and it was suggested that I post it here. So, here it is! February’s will be written this coming week and I will post it here as soon as it’s finished. – Jonathan
From the Chaplain:
Devotion – New Year 2016 Edition
Did you make a resolution for 2016? Some stats I found online indicate that about 44% of us will make resolutions but very few of us will keep them. The tradition of making promises at the beginning of the new year goes all the way back to the Babylonians making promises to return things they had borrowed and to repay debts. If you made a resolution, you are in some numerous and even ancient company!
Hopefully one of your plans in 2016 is to take better care of yourself and your family. I know all too well how tough it is to practice self-care, especially working in EMS. Self-care is essential, I would even say it’s as essential as keeping up with our own medical conditions. In order to be good providers, we simply have to make taking care of ourselves a priority. Last semester, I took a class in seminary that spent a decent portion of time talking to us, a room full of mostly future pastors, about the importance of caring for ourselves. In scripture, God looked at rest for our bodies and souls with great importance.
We know about the fifth commandment where God instructed the Israelites to work for six days and rest on the Sabbath because God rested on the seventh day. We also see God’s concern for Elijah’s physical wellbeing in 1 Kings 9 when he sent an angel to look after his needs. There are some ways that we can ensure that we are caring for our needs adequately. Doing so ensures that we are better care providers, better for our families and better for ourselves. We also honor God by taking the time to care for ourselves. Her are a few simple ways we can do just that:
• Do the basics. Things like eating right, getting enough exercise, getting annual physicals as well as regular vision and dental care contribute much to our overall wellbeing. It’s vital to make taking care of our health needs one of our highest priorities.
• Rest. This is difficult to do in our fields as we often work more than one job or at least work 24 and are off 48 and all of that in addition to family commitments. Simply, we must make time to rest our bodies. God did not tell us to rest one day a week just because He felt like it. He knows that we have our limits. Lack of bodily rest can not only impact our physical health but also our mental health. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation contributes to depression and suicidal ideations. Making time for rest is vital.
• Use your vacation time! I cannot stress this enough: If you have vacation time, take it. Take time off to do things you enjoy, travel, or simply hang around the house and rest. Working for extended periods of time without adequate time off to recharge is detrimental to your health and performance as an EMS provider. Lack of time off also leads to burn out. Take time off at regular intervals. It’s one of the best things you can do for yourself.
• Don’t neglect your spiritual life. Again, the EMS lifestyle is not always conducive to being able to read scripture or attend worship on a regular basis. When you are able to attend worship, I certainly encourage you to do so. When I have had to be away from church for a long time, going back to a community where I am loved and where God is praised was always such a huge relief. It is also possible to study scripture anytime using such things as the Bible app, which is available for free on your phone or tablet. From there you can access a variety of translations, reading plans and devotions. There are even EMS devotionals! If you are interested, I would be happy to make recommendations so please don’t hesitate to contact me. On a similar note: If there is enough interest, I will be happy to figure out a way for there to be a short time of worship on Sundays at the station.
These are but a few ways where we can begin 2016 on the right foot: By taking care of ourselves.
As always, if you need help with anything do not hesitate to ask for it. Part of my job is make myself available to you anytime you have spiritual concerns or just need someone to talk to after a bad call. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can help you in any way. Remember: You are loved and you are never alone.
May God bless you and keep you. May He cause His light to shine upon you now and always.
Grace and peace,
Jonathan Tullos, NRP
Chaplain, Powell County EMS