SG...do I need to go to counseling?
I may have drifted way too far out, but as long as I can see the pier I'm going to be ok. My interpretation of Caleb Yang's, "See the Pier."
Walk through the main entrance of my church, take a left to start down a short corridor about 15-20 feet, and the first door on your right is my dad’s old office. A placard with his name still appears on the door and will be there until someone else takes up the office as their own. Recently I was asked if I would be ok if the church began to clean up the office, and I was happy to say yes. It is time that it was used for God’s work again.
In the middle of the long office was a large dark oval table for larger meetings. I’d sat there for so many Bible studies with him and others. Half a dozen bookshelves surrounded the table with books in English and Korean lining the shelves. No book was there for show only, but had been read and referenced, some missing their book jackets from repeat reads. From Bibles to commentaries to Christian best sellers to books on counseling and healing, the rows of colorful books gave a warmth to the walls which otherwise would be bare off-white cinder blocks.
In addition to the large table, one corner of the room had a sofa and two chairs surrounding a smaller coffee table graced with Voice of the Martyrs magazines and other Korean newsletters. It was here that many generations of people came to sit with my dad and mom to talk about their personal problems. From the pulpit in the sanctuary he was a pastor who preached and led a congregation, but for those who struggled with their marriages, families, and personal mental health his office was a place to talk and be listened to not by their pastor but a counselor
Coming across several people who have been dealing with different stresses and anxieties…even dealing with my own moments of dread and fear…I have wondered whose sofa we could sit on to talk to someone? My wife has asked me if I should contact a counselor/therapist to help grieve and work out sources of anxiety, but I haven’t done that yet.
For some the idea of therapy seems like an admission that I’ve failed in life: I have drifted so far off a healthy course of living I need someone to help make sense of my situation. But I’m not that bad yet, right? We are never quite bad enough in our own eyes.
For so long I was ok to try to sustain myself or go talk to my dad if I had to. He was someone I believed knew me well, but more so, more than any one else, when he counseled he let me just talk it out and was never in a rush. He wasn’t following a process; he just cared.
My wife has filled that role for me now. Talking to her the last few years has been a real blessing to me. Available, empathetic, and a great listener, she has reminded me of the ways I have experienced God in the past or the lessons we learned over the years. I know some don’t have a spouse to talk to or many times our problems are with our spouse, so who do I talk to then if I can’t talk to her each time?
Well, I need to talk to God, but what if my problem is with God?
This is what I’m going to try to trust—that God isn’t in a rush with me, he isn’t following a “process,” and he cares for me more than anyone I’ve met or I’m going to meet on this earth.
Yet, sometimes we do need others to help us be reminded of who God truly is to us individually. Maybe that’s a parent, pastor, spouse, friend, fellow church member… maybe even a counselor or a therapist. I’ve wanted to shut so many people out and bear so much alone. I still want to do that now, but I’m admitting I need someone (or more) to listen without an agenda and show me there is a better way than the way I see the world…a different way to see what’s God’s doing around me. For some that needs to be someone you don’t know now, but you will meet. And if that’s a counselor or therapist you may pay them to listen and that’s ok, but anyone we choose to listen to our broken heart I pray they are patient, kind, and help us see we haven’t drifted so far offshore that we can’t swim back. I see the pier. I see the cross.
Do you need to talk to someone about what’s going on in your heart and mind, but been avoiding it? What’s held you back? Share your thoughts with us.
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