C IS FOR COUNSELING
@ I T S R A C H E L J O H N S O N
C O U N S E L I N G
( whispers, gasping, hushed comments commence )
Like much of the American Church, I have always held the stigma & understanding in my mind... that to be going to counseling, you have to be tragically broken and an utter disaster.
Mental health is important, and so undervalued.
I will forever advocate for it. And I will loudly advocate for it in a setting where Jesus is the center of it all.
I've shared bits and pieces of my motherhood journey. Struggling with PPD and debilitating PPA, miscarriage, battling some health issues post kiddos ( yeah, even 3 years later ) , and overall just in a season ( read: multiple years ) where I was not handling life well.
And over time, I became sort of numb to these struggle and these things that just waged war in my life. A friend suggested I see a biblical counselor and I literally brushed it off.
Because there are so many lies and falsehoods about counseling that circle in our culture and our churches and our upbringings:
-that it means you failed.
-that you don't truly depend on God
-that your belief in God is not strong enough
-that your prayer life is lacking or not existent.
-something is wrong with you
-the holy spirit isn't working in your life
-you lack discipline or willpower
-your struggles are a result of your sin in a context of punishment.
-you're fine and your just acting crazy
-that your moral standards are garbage and you've reached a new level of low.
(this list is ridiculous and could go on for a long time)
The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to go. Not because I was expecting to be 'fixed' or 'healed' or 'better', rather, so I could process life with someone outside for perspective, and insight and wisdom.
Why settle for a mediocre life, when it could be incredible.
Why fall into the narrative that counseling is not for you, when it could actually really help you.
Why walk in pride and stubbornness when you could be standing in freedom.
I'm not here to tell you that counseling is a breezy walk in the park.
counseling is hard-- but not for the reasons you think.
It's hard because it costs you.
It costs you your time, your energy, your money.
But the sweet exchange that meets this cost--is freedom.
It's sitting with someone who knows God and knows He is working in your life when maybe you can't see it. When the fog is too thick to see past your hand & you don't know how to step forward.
It's a safe place to be heard, and to soak in the truth.
It's a place to stand in agreement and not in defeat.
Jesus didn't do what he did so we could pretend to be okay & have our crap together.
Counseling doesn't eliminate the questions or challenges we have, but helps us process and understand and can point us in a better direction.
Counseling doesn't heal you. But God will work in it and though this person to help you reach freedom through prayer and discussion. Only grace from the Lord has the power to free us from things. And I'm slowly learning to dance in that grace ( thanks Jess Connolly for sharing that term, because I LOVE IT.)
I've been seeing a biblical counselor for a while now. And it's radically changed how I process things. There are situations and things Ive experienced lately, that at one point would have left me in a dark, ugly place. But I'm learning to walk these things out differently in light of God, and His glorious grace and it's a GOOD thing.
My biggest prayer is for this to be a normal conversation we have. In our churches, in our homes and in our circles. That the walls of stigmas and stereotypes would crumble and that we can see this avenue of growth and healing for what it is. I want to gently encourage you, if you're in that super icky tough spot where you just can't even get out of bed. I so understand & I will hold space for you while you are here.
I'm also here to cheer you on. If you've thought about seeking counseling, do it! Don't listen to the negative stigmas and stereotypes in our culture. Being free in the name of Jesus is a good thing, and I deeply desire those who are struggling to know what that is like. That you CAN feel better, and there IS healing. You won't regret spending time and energy processing with and learning from someone who walks closely and quietly with Lord and wants the same for you in the name of freedom and liberty. There is power in cultivating a life of learning and growing our knowledge and understanding of who God is and who we are in him. That's what its all about, friends.
*if you would like to talk, I am here. please do not hesitate to reach out if you want to share your experience, or if you have questions or if you just want to stand in agreement. I'm here friends!