Practicing Peace in Stress
I really wanted to learn the process of the hotline. I did a lot of case management jobs in the Netherlands but had no experience with a hotline. God definitely answered that desire because in the last 3 months I have received plenty of calls (sometimes more than ‘usual’), and I also experienced some unique situations.
My first call lasted 8 hours, from the moment the call came in until the moment I finished debriefing over the phone with the exit team. I was so nervous, but thank God for Laurie who coached me through it all!
In those 8 hours I was on the phone with the victim, I was talking to Laurie, talking to the police officer and talking the the victim’s friend. As I was trying to figure out what was going on I had to ask myself some questions: was this friend really just a friend, was she ready to exit, was she exiting right now? After finally being able to text the exit team, I waited nervously for them to respond. They responded, and I gave them the right information, called the victim back and….. she changed her plans. She wanted to go to Houston herself, call me when she gets there and then do the exit. Sure no problem right? So I was back on the phone, texting with the exit team, transitional home, Laurie and the victim. She finally made it to the home that evening, and 8 hours later I was able to lay down my phone.
Since then I have received numerous calls and most have lead to exiting the industry (yay!!). I thought the challenge would be the culture and language barrier, and while that is still an issue sometimes, I soon discovered the bigger challenge was on a spiritual and emotional level. I noticed that during those days I felt more emotional and stressed.
At first I thought the timing of my stress was random, but then I soon realized it was always during my ‘on call’ days. I realized that when I receive a hotline call I am literally helping someone with their first step from bondage and darkness to freedom, and I can only imagine how much is going on spiritually. As a ‘feeler’ I felt a lot of those things in addition to the stress of the job and a new city.
After an honest consideration of quitting, I realized I just needed to be more prepared and it could actually be an opportunity to practice peace in the stress. To connect with the Holy Spirit and let Him help me and invite God’s presence within each call, I started asking people to pray for me during my ‘on call days’. I minimized my activities on those days’ and filled them with time with the Lord, exercise and resting so that I could focus and have space, and I can definitely say that things have changed. I have experienced so much more peace and confidence. There is still so much I am learning and while I am still challenged in a lot of ways,I am growing, and I am thankful for this peace!