Tag Archives: counsel

Starting Over at 43…

It’s been a long time since I have posted, and much has happened. I have finally found a wonderful church who has been a very important part of my healing. For that I am grateful. I am currently in counseling with a certified therapist on staff at the church. Sadly, my marriage is ending after 23 years. My husband and I had been discussing separation, but I still had hope that things could work out. However, a circumstance arose that I believe was God’s way of showing me that my marriage is over for good.

The revelation of this issue in my marriage was a serious blow to my heart. I was, and still am devastated. My marriage had been through situations before, but none had affected me as much as this time. I asked my counselor why. Her response was that while I still had hope, this last issue was the thing that told me there is no hope left. I see that things will not change with my husband. It is a great loss, and there is a grieving process I will go through.

My emotions have been all over the place. I can go from angry to sad to being okay all in the course of one day. What I am learning right now is that it is absolutely okay to have what some would deem ‘negative emotions’ considering what I am going through. Personally, I despise the word ‘negative’ being put in front of emotions. Sadness, anger, depression…those are all considered negative.

I am also learning that it is okay to recognize that ‘today I am feeling…’. I spent years trying to fight these ‘negative emotions’. I have tried denying them, replacing them, wearing a mask, and outright lying. The only thing that got me was feeling even worse, both physically and mentally. I am learning to say ‘it’s okay that I feel…’ but to not let that feeling prevent me from doing what needs to be done. I find that accepting these emotions is far more freeing that trying to deny or stifle them.

Being transparent is important, so let me share with you something I did in the midst of this anger I have. I got so angry one evening that I threw a water bottle across the room at the wall. I don’t usually do that, but this was also before he discussion I had with my counselor about being okay with my emotions. Was it the best way to deal with my anger? Nope. I know that. But I had been told for so long that ‘anger’ was bad. So I kept stuffing and stuffing and denying it until it exploded. I went to church the next day and told someone what had happened. She didn’t scold me, or beat me over the head with scripture. She held my hand and said “I’ve been there. I understand, and I am sorry your are hurting.” Words such as those were more healing than any scripture on anger could have ever been at that time.

To make matters worse, I’m broke. Before my husband left, he was the main breadwinner. I’m only going to be working on an as needed basis, even though I recently told my boss I am ready for more hours. (I took a few weeks off until my husband moved out due to stress as I also work in an extremely stressful environment). My boss ended up hiring someone else. You know what? I admitted today, to myself, that yes, I am frustrated. It’s okay. By admitting my emotion, I was able to get up and do my dishes and a few other things, instead of sitting here, fighting and pleading for God to take the emotion away.
Being able to admit how I am feeling has been a very freeing thing for me. I am human, I have emotions, and it’s okay.

Negative Emotions…the New Taboo

no feelingsToday I want to address something I see quite often in Christianity as of late. The subject is our negative emotions. I come across posts almost daily that tell us to ignore how we feel if it seems to be a ‘bad’ feeling such as anger, depression, hurt, etc. I have been trying to wrap my brain around this and I can’t. There are hundreds of instances in the Bible that talk about our emotions. I did a web search about scriptures on emotions, and the first two pages were all about controlling our emotions. I do not disagree that controlling them is a good thing, there are many scriptures that state we should. But I was looking for actual scriptures that showed people in the Bible showing emotion!

Matthew 21:12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER’; but you are making it a ROBBERS’ DEN.” NASB Jesus overturned the tables. He called them robbers and thieves. I think we can all assume He wasn’t smiling when He did it. He didn’t pat them on the head and say “Oh, it’s okay.” He got angry! Anger can be justified.

John 11:35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.  Jesus wept and was deeply moved. His friend had died, and I believe he had also wept over their unbelief. ESV  There is obviously a time and place for negative emotions.

 Luke 22:44 “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” ESV This is an actual medical condition in which someone feels such great agony it causes their blood vessels to burst and their sweat mixes with blood. In Matthew 26:38 it says  Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”ESV.  Jesus felt such sorrow, it felt like death to Him.

So why, when someone comes to us with their sorrow, their anger, their sadness, do we not validate them? “You shouldn’t feel like that” is one of the most hurtful things you can say to someone. They may have every right to feel that way! Are we trying to produce christian drones who walk around with no feelings? Why? So others will think we have it all together? That is not living an honest life. It is not living in reality. Can our emotions be misdirected? Yes. However negative emotions are our internal warning system that something is wrong. If we want people to come to know Christ, they need to know they can come angry, depressed, hurt, scared, or with any other emotion they might be experiencing at the time. Can God heal them and help them work through it? Absolutely! I will leave you with this…

Ecclesiastes 3: 1There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: 2A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, 6a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

God gave you your emotions. Never be ashamed of them. No one has the right to tell you how you can or cannot feel.

Spiritual Schizophrenia

voicesProverbs 11:14- Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.

The bible often tells us to seek the counsel of the godly. I do not dispute this in any way shape or form. Lately I have been seeking counsel on certain areas of my own life. However, the problem I am finding is that it seems the more people you ask, the more answers you get, and every single one of them could be different. So we then have to wade through what we hear, and search the Word to see if the advice we are given lines up with it. That also can create a problem because we must take in the whole counsel of God. One person’s solution may be different from another as God does not deal with every person in the same manner.

What ends up happening is we have all these voices bouncing around in our head, and we end up more confused that before we sought out help. Sometimes we are afraid if we don’t take one person’s advice they will get angry with us. I believe there must come a time when the only counsel we seek must come from God alone. His Holy Spirit is the ultimate counselor. He is the one who truly knows the entirety of the situation, the people involved, what will work and what won’t. He also knows our hearts, and sometimes what we want is someone to agree with our choice, even if it’s the wrong one, so we feel better about making said choice. God, though, will never send us down the wrong path.

There have been times in my life where I thought I heard God speak and answer through another, but those situations didn’t turn out the way I had hoped. Was their counsel wrong? Maybe. There have been times I thought I heard God directly and the same thing happened. Did I hear God wrong? Probably. But it’s okay, God can take the detours and put us back on the right path. He’s good that way! I now know that while counsel is good and biblical, at this time in my life I need to hear God alone. It doesn’t mean I will not continue worshiping at church or not ask others opinions or advice, however I will limit who I seek advice from and I will absolutely make sure I spend more time alone with God, His word and His Spirit when seeking guidance. In the end, He’s the one I will answer to. Not man.

(Note- In no way am I discounting the seriousness of actual schizophrenia, but this term came to mind as I was contemplating this article)

Proverbs 11:14

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