This past Saturday, March 24th, I spoke at a donor banquet to generate support for a wonderful counseling agency. Shepherds Fold is a Biblical-based counseling ministry whose goal is to assist clients in getting the help they need. Their services are funded through the donations of churches, businesses, and private individuals who recognize the need to provide Biblical based counseling to those who do not necessarily have the means to pay for such help. They work with marriages, parenting, depression, anxiety, and emotional issues. My message focused on the many lessons God taught me through the pastors, professional counselors and godly lay counselors He provided at the time of my greatest need. God used the Bible and the wisdom of the Great Counselor, the Holy Spirit, to impart to me the tools I needed to make a positive change.
Do you ever wonder what difference, if any, professional counseling can make? After all, isn’t God our counselor? Isn’t God enough? Why do we need to talk to anyone else about our problems? Writing for Psychology Today, psychiatrist, Dr. David Sack argues,
We may have great insight into our own thought and behavioral patterns and problems. We may possess many of the skills to manage them on our own. We may even effectively use those skills to counsel others. Still, there may be times when we need help – and the sooner we get it, the faster we can get back to enjoying life.
Five signs help identify when and if it’s time to seek therapy:
The loss of someone or something important
Feelings of uncontrollable sadness, anger or hopelessness?
The use of abused drugs, alcohol, food or sex to cope?
A recent or past traumatic event
No longer finding joy or satisfaction in the things that once brought joy?
All of this bolded information is credited to:
(https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/where-science-meets-the-steps/201303/5-signs-its-time-seek-therapy, David Sack, M.D., accessed 3/16/18).
There are many times when only someone who is removed from the situation can objectively see the root of the problem. Having some emotional and relational distance from the specific circumstance, godly counselors possess the clarity to discern the Spirit’s wisdom and guide those who are struggling to healthier lifestyles and patterns of thought. These are the critical times when counselors, pastors, friends, and others can offer hands that minister, words that comfort, or simply a warm embrace.
As Christians, God calls us to emulate Christ in our attitude, our actions, and our motives. God created us in His likeness. At the core of God’s nature is His love. He cared for us so much that He sent His one and only Son to die for us so that we might be able to live in fellowship with Him. He cares. We too must care; we must take care of those who are sick, dying, hungry, lost, orphaned, and widowed. When we take care of those in need, He goes so far as to say that we have cared for Him.
Caring for others then becomes an honor, our sacred service to God. When we have surrendered our will and personal desires to him, sought the Spirit’s will through Scripture and godly counsel, taken into account providential circumstances, prayed and meditated, we must then act in faith believing God will guide and direct us even though the path may not be crystal clear. As we counsel others, we must be very cautious not to try to persuade or manipulate through guilt or coercion. We must allow the Holy Spirit to convict, convince and convert. God is the righteous Judge who knows the heart of each of us frail and flawed human beings. It is our great privilege to be His hands, His feet and His arms. James encouraged new believers to put their faith into action. True faith will produce loving action toward others. We can serve in many ways, but ultimately life and death is in the hands of the One who knit us together and counted out our days before even one of them had taken place.
I cannot stress enough, the integral part that counselors played in my recovery.Through prayer, meditation on Scripture, the support of innumerable friends and family and biblical counseling, I learned to approach God in humility. As I was counseled, I learned to counsel others with fear and trembling, always aware of my human tendency to judge rather than extend grace. The counsel I received led me to test my own preconceived ideas and inadequate wisdom in the light of God’s perfect knowledge and unsurpassable wisdom.
Shepherds Fold is one of the many counseling centers you can go to for help. http://shepherdsfold.net/
If you are hurting, reach out.