Counseling

Counseling

  • Confession of a Recovering Perfectionist

    We live in a world of polarizing opposites and pendulum-style decision making. But is there another option?

    We live in a world of polarizing opposites and pendulum-style decision making. But is there another option?

  • When I Don't Feel Motivated

    We all have it. I’ve had it recently. Those days, weeks, or months when we just feel blah. Yet Jesus came to give life - abundant life; should that make a difference in how I think and act?

    We all have it. I’ve had it recently. Those days, weeks, or months when we just feel blah. Yet Jesus came to give life - abundant life; should that make a difference in how I think and act?

  • A Prescription for Anxiety

    I think most believers know that worrying is a sin. Most people could probably give you a list of reasons for why you should not worry. However, like so many principles in the Christian life, the issue comes down to one simple question: how? How are we to stop worrying? What prescription, process, or path will help us actively stop worry in its tracks and turn worry into peace?

     

    This message is all about the prescription Paul gives for turning worry into prayer and anxiety into peace. This is not only a prescription to treat worries that keep popping up in our minds, but also a preventative prescription to keep anxiety from coming back.

  • Handling Offenses God's Way

    Some lessons are easy to learn but hard to master. One that has been a constant help for me is to “pick my battles.” Some people think that every time someone upsets them they should make a formal accusation and, at all costs, win their argument. But God's Word has great principles for conflict resolution that fly in the face of those argumentative instincts.

    Matthew 18:15-17 (NLT)
    If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.
    The Matthew 18 principle is a fantastic method for dealing with conflict. From it we learn that we should not gossip about an offense, rather, we should approach the offender one-on-one and address the problem with humility.

    But some Christians have interpreted this principle as their personal excuse to take up an offense with anything that bothers them. This is especially true in marriage where, the longer a couple is married, the more simple annoyances can fester into serious conflicts. Issues which would have seemed insignificant while dating, for instance, leaving crumbs on the table, neglecting to replace the toilet paper, or (cue gasp) neglecting to lower the toilet seat, can become category-five storms after years of pent up frustration.

    Picking your battles means learning to deal with these annoyances while not blowing them out of proportion. We have to learn when to take up our sword and when to simply let an offense slide. Proverbs 19:11 says, “A person’s wisdom makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense (NET).”

    The word for “overlook” literally means to “pass over.” In other words, it is glorious for us to “pass over” the offense of someone else. Like a runner clearing hurdles on a set path, we should seek to jump over the hurdles of minor annoyances inevitable when dealing with people.

    When a runner clears a hurdle, he does not look back to examine, reflect, or complain about the hurdle. He continues to run with his focus straight ahead. If we cannot “pass over” an offense and keep from looking back, the offense must be addressed acording to the Matthew 18 principle. Here's a graphic to outline the process:
    Handling Offenses Gods Way


  • 10 Negative Thoughts and Scripture to Correct Them

    This week in The Bridge (our Adult Bible Fellowship at church) I taught from Phil. 4:4-9 about stopping negative thinking, turning worries into prayer requests, thinking instead about positive things, and doing what we know we ought to do from Scripture. Today I'm posting 10 negative thoughts and the Scriptures that correct them. Perhaps you have some to add; I would love to see them in the comments below.

    #1 - When you think "no one loves me" God says "I love you so much I sacrificed everything for you." - Rom 5:8

    #2 - When you think "I'll never forgive myself" God says "there is no condemnation in Christ, I forgive you." - Rom 8:1; 1 John 1:9

    #3 - When you think "I am completely alone" God says "I will never fail you and I will never abandon you." Heb 13:5

    #4 - When you think "I just cannot go on" God says "My grace is what you need, My power works through your weakness." - 1 Cor 12:9

    #5 - When you think "I'll never be smart enough" God says "ask and I will give you wisdom generously." - James 1:5

    #6 - When you think "I just can't do it." God says "You can do all things through me." - Phil 4:13

    #7 - When you think "I don't know where to go in life" God says "Trust me with all your heart and I will guide you." - Prov 3:5-6

    #8 - When you think "This is impossible!" God says "All things are possible with Me." - Luke 18:27

    #9 - When you think "How am I ever going to make ends meet?" God says "I will supply all your NEEDS." - Phil 4:19

    #10 - When you think "I'm so worried and frustrated all the time" God says "cast your cares on Me." - 1 Pet 5:7
  • When You Are Absolutely Miserable

    Ever feel that way? Ever feel like everything is going wrong at once? 
     
    I did this week. Monday I came down with something really nasty. I had a painful swollen throat, fever, and numerous other symptoms I will leave to your imagination. 

    Yesterday, everything got worse. When I woke up, I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t eat either. As I prepared to leave for a trip to the doctor, my knee froze in a bent position due to some previous sports injuries so I couldn’t extend my leg to walk. This has only happened three or four times in the last several years, but it is incredibly painful.

    I needed to get to the doctor so I crawled to the front door and, after checking to make sure no neighbors were watching, I got into a football crouch and waddled to the car. Yes, I’m sure it looked hilarious. On my way to the doctor I called ahead about a dozen times to see if they could bring out crutches or a wheel chair but there was no response. 

    Fortunately, I was able to reach another clinic where I was met with a wheelchair, tested, and given prescriptions. 
    Then the car wouldn’t start – it wouldn’t even turn over. Just to recap: I can’t walk, I’m in a lot of pain, I feel miserable and feverish, my throat is swollen, I can’t eat, I can barely drink but it’s painful, … and the car won’t start. Awesome. Oh, and I can’t take the meds yet because I need to drive home!

    I was absolutely miserable.

    Ever feel that way?

    There are two ways to respond. We can get angry and bitter for the way we feel, or we can trust God to do what is best. Given those options, I’m sure it is obvious what I’m going to say next: Trust God to do what is best!

    How predictable. We both know that is the right answer. But even if we are trusting God to do what is best, what are we really trusting Him for? Who determines what is best?

    We tend to think we know what is best. The best thing for me is to get better and be able to walk again today, right? We’ll come back to that in minute.

    This isn’t the first time I’ve been hit by a “perfect storm” of calamities. Each time I’m reminded of Job. Job was a faithful follower to God and a wealthy man with a great family. He lost everything when Satan, with God’s permission, tested Job’s faith. While Job struggled with God over his problems, he remained faithful and was eventually rewarded. God removed Job’s problems and blessed him with more wealth and a large family in his earthly life. 

    We assume that what is “best” is for God to resolve our problems in this earthly life. 

    What if that is simply not best? What if God decides that the most beneficial thing for His glory and the best way to reach more people for His kingdom is for our problems to continue?

    What if God decides that He can better use me in a wheel chair? What if I have to live with awful pains and aches all over my body for the rest of my life? These are experiences that Satan and his demons will use to test our faith, just as they did to Job thousands of years ago. Not that our problems are necessarily caused by evil forces, but they are used as a means to turn the faithful into the bitter.

    James 1:2-4 says:

    My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything.


    When you feel absolutely miserable, don’t let evil forces get you down. Trust that God will do what is best. But remember, what is best in God’s eyes may not seem best in yours. He may choose to remove your problem. Or He may react like he did toward the Apostle Paul.

    2 Corinthians 12:7b-10 says:

    A thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to trouble me – so that I would not become arrogant. I asked the Lord three times about this, that it would depart from me. But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me.  Therefore I am content with weaknesses, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.


    There is nothing wrong with asking God to remove a problem from our lives. But we should be aware that God may choose to leave it in place, and this is no reason to become bitter toward God. Our weakness will point to His strength. We may be more useful to God because of our problems.

    Praise God that the car started with a jump from one of our trip staff. When I returned home last night, after nothing but prayer, I could straighten my leg and walk into the house. My other symptoms are still present, but I expect they will disappear within a few days thanks to the medicine.

    Even if they don’t, I trust God to do what is best. Not just for me, but for His glory and kingdom.