My Broken Road to Grace: Post Thirteen (Are You Seeking the Advice of the Great Counselor?)
You Cannot Lie to the Counselor of Counselors.
Years ago when my wife and I were experiencing some marital problems we sought the advice of a counselor. Some years later, wifeless and still experiencing problems, I again sought help from a counselor alone. In both cases I would have to say that the experiences were to some extent positive and did actually in some ways at least, help me to deal more effectively with what I was going through.
Counselors, as I understand it are trained not to tell you what to do but to cause you to think as your explore the ends and outs of a problem and help you to essentially figure it out on your own. When I first began to go, I found this approach frustrating because I was looking for a quick fix. In other words, I wanted the counselor to ask me a few questions, then listen to what I had to say decipher it all and give me a immediate response as to what I should do and how to do it in order to correct all the negative issues, give me a clear cut blueprint to follow to avoid the prospect of them arising in the future and allow me to happily and healthily move on with my life.
This must be a fairly common problem among those seeking help as in both cases the initial sessions began with the respective counselor explaining in detail, first to my wife and me and then later to me alone that the sessions quite simply, would go nothing like that. What followed were a series of what I would categorize as difficult sessions in which I was forced to become very introspective, look deep into myself and face some aspects of my personality that I either did not know or did not want to know existed and had forced deep down inside me from as far back as childhood.
In those days, while it is a fact of which now I am not proud, I could be very manipulative and pretty quickly I devised or should say arrived at a plan to deal with those difficult sessions. In situations where the topic began to become to painful for me, I would simply divert the attention that was being focused there by in essence lying about my true feelings and in many cases simply brushing past the issue at hand with what my Daddy used to refer to as a "sugar coating."
In other words, I would say that something wasn't difficult for me when it in fact was or something didn't hurt when it in fact did but worst of all something didn't frighten me when it did in fact scare the living daylights out of me. It doesn't take a rocket scientist of course to quickly figure out that these actions did much to impede the process, making the counseling sessions in several cases pointless.
As I mentioned earlier my second experience with counseling was alone, the marriage we were hoping to salvage having crashed and burned undoubtedly without the possible benefit of having submitted myself in honesty to the effort of counseling and therefore not knowing or never really being able to, whether or not it could have worked. The outcome of my second series of sessions, culminating in much the same fashion, I think it is safe to say that in the spirit of the proverbial old adage "you get out of something what you put into it" certainly leaves me with the overwhelming feeling that the failures in both attempts where by in large my fault. While I cannot speak to whether or not my wife had approached the effort honestly, willing to put in the work in order to derive the benefit, what I can say is that I did not, thus my feeling of responsibility.
Despite the fact that I was really the one at fault for my attempts at seeking the help of a counselor having been ineffective. Yet and still I left the practice with a bad taste in my mouth. As we often do, rather than taking responsibility for my actions I sought for a place to refocus the blame. For years afterward, I took every opportunity to lambast the practice of attending counseling using words like pointless, useless, a colossal waste of time, etc. whenever the situation arose in conversation. God forbid someone should ask my advice directly when considering it, for in those cases, I thought it a personal mission to see to it the person not only didn't utilize the service but ran as fast as possible in the opposite direction.
Years later, having had a real life changing experience, those actions are some which I find the most regrettable. Today my attitude toward counseling, Christian based in particular, is much different and I believe that it can be a helpful tool in working through life's difficulties. There is however one major change in my thinking and that is this. Anyone, anywhere, who is experiencing difficulty and feels as if they could benefit from counseling should covenant to begin with the greatest counselor of all.
Psalm32:8 says:"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go and I will counsel you with my eye upon you." You see, years ago when I mislead my counselors they had no way of knowing that for sure, even if they had suspected that I was, it was something that could not be proven and as such debunked. That is simply not the case with God. You can lie to others, you can even lie to yourself if you choose but you simply cannot lie to Him. He will counsel you with His "eye" upon you, what does that mean. He sees you! He knows you and He will call you out when you aren't telling the truth. The Bible says that Has the hairs of our head numbered and knows the number of grains of sand on the beach. Do you not then think that He can and will know when you are being dishonest.
Counseling can be a good thing and God uses talented and dedicated men and women in that endeavor every day. If you feel as if you need it I strongly advise you to seek the help you desire and approach it with an open mind and a willingness to cooperate fully. Before you do however, the place to start is on your knees before the great counselor,honestly, laying your heart out before Him and asking for His blessing. In doing so, it will come reaping for you the maximum benefit and your efforts will not be in vain.