For the past six months to a year, I have had the privilege and sometimes the trying exercise of coaching some friends and dear people at various stages of their lives to overcome lifelong challenges. Some have gone through tremendous pain in their past, others are still walking out the gruesome details of abandonment, rejection and abuse to this day. Whatever the case, so far, I have not sat with a single individual with whom I couldn't relate to in some way or another. I believe that just like joy, pain is universal and it transcends age, race, geography and religious beliefs. We all suffer in one way or another, therefore there is a tremendous need for compassion and understanding.
I have experienced huge breakthroughs with individuals, the ones that stick to the process, refuse to lie about what is in their hearts and understand my role in helping them cross this frightening bridge, to get to the other side. I have watched a sobbing, petrified face totally relax at eased in the presence of God when prayed for. I've seen the question: “why?” sweetly answered in a way that only God can answer it. And I have seen change, that beautiful goal that seems unattainable in the midst of our sadness. I believe in counseling, I know it works but I could not do it on my own.
Christians, devout, praying, church going “believers” can sometimes be the hardest clients. I now realize why my counselor had to trudge through some deep religious and incorrect conclusions that I had attached myself to by way of some well-meaning person teaching on a doctrine but not understanding that Jesus came to alleviate us from being chained to the doctrinal mindset. It was only at the end of my attachment to what I thought God wanted from me or expected out of my life, was I able to see clearly that His greatest expectation was for me to come to Him with everything that pained me and to simply lay it all at His feet. That seemed too simple to me at first. I was hell bent on doing penance for my sins and then torturing myself with feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing. I could only accept love the hard way, well-earned and paid for by shame and grief. I couldn't lift my head in the presence of God and call myself daughter. It was just too much to fathom that He truly wanted me. I grieved on the inside for most of my life until the day I could not breathe in my own poisonous venom anymore. I had to start listening to my counselor. She was taking the time to painstakingly dissect my issues and pray over them one by one, something I was too weak to do at the time. I had to trust her words and trust that God would silence anything that wasn't of Him. Most of my counselors have been Christians. I’m not biased but I do find the common ground quite helpful.
After I left counseling, I entered into a rest with God that is still present to this day. He changed my entire perspective of my walk with Him. He took away my desire to please people. He gave me a beautiful wilderness experience in which I could roam freely, feel openly and cry often. He never left me in the wilderness alone, for that I’m grateful.
I emerged back into the “world” with a sense of knowing that beyond a shadow of a doubt, I am a child divinely loved by God. Nothing can take that from me and much has tried.
Recently, I began to doubt my ability to translate such understanding to those that I counsel because it seems that so many of us “Christians” love to learn the hard way. We struggle to accept Abba’s gentle hand when He wants to escort us to higher ground and often, we bite the messenger who feels compelled to share his grace.
I've come to the conclusion that it is true that not all will enter into God’s rest. I also understand that my role in the process of helping other’s become whole will often be challenged by the enemy’s schemes to keep them bound. I accept the fact that some will say that my message is too strong or my delivery too intense. To that I say: You must know your calling and the one that called you. I’m here for people who are at the edge of life’s cliff, who desperately want to jump and have one foot dangling, as the small rocks of life begin to fall to the ground below… because I've been there. I will grab your hand in prayer and the grip will be of one who does not want to witness your death but to celebrate your living. We will talk, cry, laugh and poke fun at ourselves, until the pain is gone. Eventually, because there is a God in heaven, the pain does leave. That is my role as a counselor/survivor of the desire to die too soon.
I am not passive. I cannot pretend not to see the obvious and it hard for me to leave a person on the cliff once they've called for help.
Understand that once you've sought out counseling, someone (other than yourself) has become invested in you. Someone is praying for you. Someone is carrying you in their heart. Please take the process seriously. Please don’t duck in and out of sessions with a casual mindset or treat the counseling room like an E.R. Please come ready to invest in your own life and to let the truth be the only thing that you speak. There is nothing worse than counseling a lying spirit afraid to face the truth.
If you are seeking help for any reason, ask yourself this question: How far will I go, how much am I willing to do, to become whole, united in mind and connected in spirit? Once you answer that question honestly then you will know whether or not to begin with a counselor.
An invested counselor, life coach or mentor’s deepest desire should be to help the people that we used to be because we know without question, that wholeness is possible for all those who truly want it.