A few years ago, I was going through a hard time in my life. I felt hopeless in many ways, even though I knew I was really a very blessed person. For some reason, I was unable to cope with my life the way I had in years past.
For a long time, I tried to ignore the problem. I tried to convince myself that I would get better if I just kept going. I kept doing my day to day activities, but without the usual heart I had previously approached them with. I felt like I was doing everything on auto pilot, and I knew that was not the way it was supposed to be.
I had grown up with the idea that:
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord…” Colossians 3:23(NIV).
The idea of doing things not at 100% seemed like a failure to me. However, I didn’t know what to do about it. I tried reading the Word and talking to God about how I felt, but I kept feeling the same way. Eventually, I decided I needed some professional help.
I turned to the church first, but their counseling case load was very heavy. Since my health insurance did cover some mental health, I found a counselor who was in the insurance’s network. I did not know anything about her except that her office was close to where I lived and she had time available for me.
The first time I went to her we covered the basics: insurance paperwork, family history forms, what her method was like and the basic reason that I was there. She seemed nice and I had hope that maybe the next visit we could get down to business and I could be ‘cured’ of whatever was bothering me.
After two more visits I knew she was not going to be of any help to me. I found myself defending my beliefs to her right and left. What good could she do me if I had to explain not only what I was thinking but why I was thinking it? Frustrated and very annoyed, I went back to square one.
Looking online for more help that was in my insurance network, I finally ran across a counselor who claimed to be a faith-based counselor. Leery of running across another person who I had to argue with, I delved deeper into his background and did a little research. He was, indeed, a Christian counselor with good reviews. I was very happy to find one that was in my insurance network and he was also pretty close to my home as well.
During this time, even more things piled up on my plate. A death in the family, major illness, and the cancellation of a long awaited vacation all seemed to add to my grief. I felt unable to handle even the most minor of changes, and only made it from one day to the next by the grace of God.
Finally, I forced myself to contact him and make an appointment. Let me just tell you that it was a breath of fresh air. It wasn’t so much what he did – it was what he didn’t do. He didn’t want to talk about my past or my family history. He didn’t make me fill out forms or circle symptoms. Instead, he just talked to me like a normal person. Not only that, but when I shared my thoughts or my reasoning he understood what I was saying.
Since I had grown up in a Christian home, I knew a lot of Bible verses. Indeed, I knew what the Lord said about almost every subject, so that was not what I needed to hear. Thankfully, he didn’t try to bang the Bible on my head. After a few minutes he knew that I knew. What he did do, however, was remind me of some verses I had forgotten and explain some concepts that had been twisted in my mind.
In my mind, the Word had gotten twisted up with my own negative thinking. Instead of reminding myself of all the times the Lord has told us to “Fear not” and promised us peace and protection, all I could remember were the verses:
“The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12: 47-48 (NIV).
I was punishing myself for not doing enough, not being perfect enough, and not living up to God’s and anyone else’s standards. The counselor reminded me of the verse:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jerimiah 29:11 (NIV).
Another thing I was doing was letting others control me through guilt. They could see that I was feeling bad about myself and they started to use that to control me. Whenever I did something that was not in line with their way of thinking or their needs, I was ‘out of the will of God’ or ‘being selfish’. They used my own sense of unworthiness to get their needs met without regard to my feelings.
At first, the whole concept seemed beyond my understanding. I could see what he was saying, of course, but I could not tell how to discern the truth from my mind’s warped thinking and the misuse of my thinking by those around me.
Finally, through many sessions, I was able to understand what God’s voice was and what thoughts were my own insecurities and fears. I learned to draw better boundaries with others and take time to recharge my own batteries and be with the Lord. It really helped me to be reminded that even Jesus needed to get away from the crowds:
“Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16 (NIV).
I think we can all forget how important it is to:
“Be still, and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10 (NIV).
Getting away from the chaos around us and connecting with God is so vital. However, sometimes you also need a godly ear to listen to you and direct you that way as well.
Christian counseling has been very helpful in my life during my difficult times. It can sometimes be hard to open up to your friends and family, but having a godly person offer you advice that is biblical is so important. If you don’t have someone you can confide in,try to find a Christian counselor who can help you get through your difficulties and find your way back to God’s peace that passes all understanding.
Ken Myers is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.
Take it to the next level with these resources:
- American Association of Christian Counselors
- Christian Counseling Resource Center
- Intentional Marriage by Crystal Brothers
- The Irresistable Husband by Jason Gratehouse
- My Hubby Lovin’ Pinterest Board which includes everything from date night ideas to relationship builders and more.
This post is the 2nd of 12 in the 144 Plan to a Memorable Marriage. To learn more about the 144 Plan or catch up on a missed post, check out the complete 144 Plan Training Log.
Where there is no guidance, a nation shall fall, but there is safety in an abundance of counsel. (Proverbs 11:14)