Counseling can take many different forms, and it can have many different goals and outcomes. There are a variety of modes and theories of counseling and therapy today. With all of these different styles and opinions, it can be hard to decide whether counseling is right for you, much less which type of counseling you should pursue. Christian counseling is about more than just health – it is about being able to worship God more authentically as you step into the healing and identity that the Lord has designed for your life.
A Story that Needs to Be Told
Our lives tell a story that has the potential to exude the glory of God. But in order to live a life bigger than ourselves we need to be able to read and interpret the story that God has given us. In his book To Be Told, Dan Allender writes, “So take seriously the story that God has given you to live. It’s time to read your own life, because your story is the one that could set us all ablaze.”
To Be Human is to Be in Relationship
Taking seriously our story requires that we live into the glory and the depravity that is part of being human, and living in a human world. God, the Trinity, lives and exists in relationship, and the Lord has created us in His image. Being created in the image of God includes living into relationship. When we are able to live fully into the relationships in our lives, we are able to gain greater understanding and experience of what it means to be in relation to God. But there are several things that can hinder our relationship with God, with ourselves, and with others.
Obstacles to Relationships
The harm, abuse, and neglect of others can alter the way we view God, ourselves, and our relationships. When we have suffered trauma, abuse, or neglect, we can begin to develop forms of self-protection that prevent us from living genuinely and authentically in relationship. Our self-protection is often necessary and valid, but when it becomes a way of living then we begin to disengage from true relationships that can offer healing.
Our own hyper-independence or neediness can also present an obstacle to our relationships. If we insist that we do not need anyone else for our journey in this life, then we are missing out on the complexity and beauty that God has placed within relationships. But likewise, if we are completely dependent on other people in order to maintain our equilibrium, then we are not stepping into growth in our relationship with God and with ourselves.
The enemy can also attempt to hinder the good relationships in our lives. God is for relationship, and darkness is not. Satan is intimidated by good relationships because he knows the beauty and healing that can come out of them. One of the first places that the enemy will strike is within relationships.
Christian Counseling to Grow in Relationship
Christian counseling can help to highlight the ways in which we can work on our relationships with both others and ourselves. This enables us to not only enter into healing but it also gives us the freedom to worship the Living God more fully and authentically. The therapeutic relationship is in itself a genuine relationship, and, as stated earlier, God has created us for relationship. Christian counseling provides a space in which you can wrestle through the common conflicts that arise in your relationships because they will most likely re-occur in the context of the therapeutic relationship. All of this functions as a way of allowing personal growth and development.
Are you still wondering whether Christian counseling is right for you? Ask yourself these three questions:
- Have I experienced deep hurt in trusted relationships in my life?
- Have I lost relationships that seemed great, and was I confused when they ended?
- Do I desire deeper, more meaningful relationships in my life?
If you have answered yes to any of these three questions, the chances are that there is a true, deep, and genuine desire inside of you that is aching for more of who God has created you to be. If that seems true for you, allow yourself the time and a place where you can explore this ache and see the new realities and relationships that it can lead you to.
“Hands Holding Seedling,” courtesy of adamr, ID 100308783, freedigitalphotos.netoto