Being a healthcare worker has been difficult the past two years. We were told by the world that we were essential, so we needed to show up. We were supposed to show up even if we were scared we could get the virus or bring it home to our families. We were essential, but we had to work with fewer resources than ever before. We were hailed as superheroes, but we were also scared to lose our jobs as we watched coworkers get laid off when certain departments got shut down. We were told we were essential, but we felt disposable, replaceable, and as if our voices didn’t matter. This was the story of almost every healthcare worker in 2020 and 2021.
It was one of the toughest seasons in my career. There were days I wished I could take a break from it all for the sake of my mental health. There were moments of regret that I chose the health care field. I felt anything but essential.
But one day, I walked into work and saw a new face in the clinic.
We had a physical therapy student who was starting her clinical rotation with us, so I introduced myself as I walked past her to go to my office. Her clinical instructor found me at lunch break and said, “You have to meet my student. She knows you. In fact, you’re the reason she chose to be a physical therapist.” I was puzzled. She continued, “You didn’t recognize her? When she was a teenager, she came to you for physical therapy and the way you made her feel was why she chose this as her career. She is so excited that she crossed paths with you again!”
I held back tears.
There are special moments in life when God will use people to remind you of who He has made you to be. This was one of those moments for me. He reminded me in a very dark season of doubt and disappointment that I am essential because I have influence.
Friend, can I remind you of the same truth? You are essential. You may not feel like it. Your platform or job may not lead you to believe it. But you are essential because you have influence — far greater than you realize.
Honestly, I didn’t remember this student as a patient because I’ve been doing this work for over eleven years. But the seed I sowed, the words I spoke, the care I provided for her as a young teenager changed the course of her future, even though I had no idea.
I believe there are people like her in your life. It could be a Sunday school student, a coworker, neighbor, classmate, or a stranger who reads your words on the internet who has been impacted by you though you may not be aware. There is always someone who needs to see your kindness, hear your story, or read your words. You are not replaceable or disposable. You matter more than you know.
I showed up for that teenage patient like I do for all my patients — prepared to serve, educate, and treat in the area I am called to. That made me essential in her life. Your circumstances may seem hopeless, your platform may be small, your job may feel mundane, but when we are faithful to what we’re called to do, we are essential to someone. And that person is essential to another.
We don’t always get to see the end of the story or see the ripple effect of our lives. But if we did, we would see that we are indeed indispensable. We need to realize that truth about ourselves so that we can live our lives with purpose and influence the world around us.
So don’t quit what God has called you to do when it gets hard and dark. Instead, let your light shine.
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