Saturday, February 2, 2008

Rebuke in Love, and re-direction...

***Note for all those who read this post earlier…
Somehow when I was adding a new category to this post, when I hit save, all the original text disappeared. So I am retyping this from memory, and hoping I get most of it back in here…

Prior to yesterday’s counseling session, I sat in the office trying to relax, and journaled a prayer to God, asking Him to help focus me, and prepare my heart to hear what my counselor had to say. When I walked into her office and got settled, she asked me how my week had been. I read parts of my journal entries to her, from earlier in the week. She got this funny look on her face, and then cautioned me about journaling too much.

She read to me a verse from Ecclesiastes 7:18. Summarized, it talked about doing everything in moderation, and avoiding extremes. She said that journaling, in and of itself isn’t wrong, but if I do too much, I start over analyzing things and can start pulling myself down in decreasing spirals. That is what happened Wednesday afternoon. The journaling could become addictive, just like anything else can. When she first started talking about limiting my journaling time, I could feel myself resisting what she was saying. I started to feel like she was wanting to take something away from me. I think she sensed that, because she was gentle about what she was saying, and she didn’t crush my spirit. She said that she didn’t want me to stop, but only to limit it.

Ecc. 7:5 says, “It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than to hear the song of the fools.”

Rebuke seems like too strong a word to use for what my counselor did yesterday. But in reality, it was. She rebuked me for going overboard, but she did it gently and in love. It put a whole new spin on the conversation, and I felt my heart responding, and my spirit within me agreeing with what she was saying. I realized that for a while now my journaling had gotten away from prayers to God, to talking more about myself, my feelings, my thoughts.

When I got home that night, I read Ecc. chapter 7, just to get the context of the verses we had looked at in the office. There I came across the following verse, and it just seemed to apply directly to me, and my situation, the things I am going through.

“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other.” Ecc. 7:14

I felt like suddenly I was given permission to be happy (joyful as the KJV says) when things are going well. When my children cuddle me, or I can snuggle with Dave, or when my son looks up at me and says, “Mommy your hair is really pretty.” I can enjoy that. I don’t have to put on a gloomy face, but get down on the floor with the kids and play.

And God makes or allows the bad as well. The bad is there for our growth in perseverance, strength, character, hope. As Romans 8:28 says, “God works together all things for the good of those who love Christ.” It doesn’t mean we won’t see trouble. But He will be with us through it all. If only I can remember that in the midst of the trouble!

We had looked through Romans 8 where it talks about nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. So I read the whole chapter to get the context again. The first verse talks about how there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… because the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. Set me free. Whether I feel it or not, it is a fact.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:35 and 37
Nothing can separate me from Christ, even all the condemning thoughts that come at me. Through Christ, I am a conqueror… more than a conqueror. Also the reminder that God is for me, who can be against me. Lately I have been feeling that He has been against me. That He has hidden His face from me. I wrote in my journal today, and I will end with this…

“I think I had started to believe that You were against me, that You had hidden Your face from me. What a lie… You didn’t even spare Your own Son from a horrible death, so that we could all be with You. So now that Christ has died and risen - along with Him, You graciously give to us… and there is that word again. Grace.”

Praise God for His mercy, and for His using my counselor the way He did to re-direct my path. How He took me through several chapters of the bible to learn some new things last night, and rediscover truths I knew and forgot.

1 comment:

Paula V said...

Thanks for sharing this, Heather.

I, too, journalled a lot during my first year and during counseling. I had to chuckle when you said you read/share parts of your entries with her. I did that all the time. I journalled mostly on the things that were happening in my life and had some feelings with each incident. It wasn't pages of my feelings and thoughts but rather accounts of things that were done, said, happened. I literally had to go through it and summarize the things and then my counselor would maybe ask about how I felt with this or that. Looking back, I really felt like most of my sessions were just venting or releasing my feelings. I felt like she was a friend to whom I shared my life events. But not a lot of challenges or direction on what I should do or what God would think.

Thanks for sharing this. Makes me wonder if I should seek another counselor. I live in such a small rural town that I'd have to travel at least 45 minutes if not 60 just to go to a counselor. Then, my tendancy to share everything would kick in. It would almost be like I have to start over from scratch to give the counselor some background.

Oh well. God will lead and provide if this is something He deems I need to do.