This month marks the 11th year since I started blogging on HisGlory SM. With every post (over 300 of them to date), my goal has been:
- To “pass forward” some of the lessons God has taught me in the 40+ years I have walked with Him.
- To share some of the insights I have gained while helping people in the Counseling Room.
What inspired this post was a phone call from my daughter Amy. I could hear the excitement in her voice when she said that a friend she grew up with had recently contacted her with questions about the Bible. As they talked, seeking to bridge the gap of two decades since their last conversation, Amy sensed that her friend might need some caring beyond a regular Bible study, so she called me to ask about how I minister to Clients in the Counseling Room.*
I have to confess, Amy’s call (and her friends possible need) opened the door to my heart in a BIG way. I have thought and prayed about this question for many years:
Can the work done in the Counseling Room–that of helping Clients look at themselves and their problems from God’s perspective– be duplicated while helping in everyday relationships?
The answer is a resounding, YES!
In fact, as I look at Scripture,
it is an absolute MUST!
I have found that when people are willing to look to God by reading, praying and applying what the Bible teaches, remarkable things happen as He ministers within each heart. The goal of Counseling at His Glory SM is to help Clients look at their problems and themselves from God’s perspective–to become what I call,biblical problem-solvers. To accomplish this, I developed a two-pronged approach:
- Individual Sessions–Designed to build the faith of Clients by listening to and encouraging them. The key is to bring God into the “counseling conversation,”–reading appropriate passages of Scripture to talk about, apply and resolve their problems.
- Journey Notes Praise Journaling— Designed to worked on between Sessions as a kind of a one-on-one meeting with God. I never read personal entries but I do ask Clients to share in a Session what God is teaching them in their Journey Notes.**
Basis for Helping:
“Therefore, encourage one another
and build each other up . . . .“
I Thessalonians 5:11
The instruction to encourage and to build each other up is sprinkled throughout Scripture. The following is the general guideline I sent to encourage Amy as she helps her friend:
- Establish a time and a place for your meeting where there will be minimal distractions. With busy lives you might have to be creative. (Amy’s friend actually lives a state away from her so they are going to set up their meetings by phone.)
- Limit your time to one hour. Better to address problems in smaller chunks with the appropriate Scripture to broaden perspectives. (Problem-solving can be exhausting!)
- Open with Prayer–bringing God in from the outset:
- Thank God for meeting with the two of you and for the the life of the person you’re seeking to help.
- Ask Him to“direct the path” of your conversation during your time together– inviting God’s Spirit and His Word to lead the way.
- Also, ask Him to help you ask “good questions” so that the answers given that will be helpful to your understanding and also to the one you are seeking to encourage.
- Begin by asking a general question—“So, how can I help you?” or “What would you like to talk about?” (The main thing is to get THEM to tell their story so you can LISTEN and ASK MORE QUESTIONS as the Lord raises them in your mind.) As you listen, ask God to give you wisdom in understanding the problem so that you will have an idea as to what Scripture passage might be helpful. When they’re finished talking, thank them for sharing their story. Speak to their hurt/ disappointment/ frustration —while seeking to identify (at least in part) with what they have shared. (This may sound a bit awkward at first, but following His lead gets easier as you gain experience.)
- Now it’s time to bring God into your discussion:
- Open to a passage of Scripture that will lend a helpful yet challenging perspective. (I recommend Jeremiah 17:5-10 because it talks about how the choices we make are influenced by who or what we trust in.***
- Make sure BOTH of you have a Bible because you’re going to ask your friend to read the passage aloud.***
- After they finish reading ask, “What stands out (or what is God saying) to you in the passage that applies to your life?”
- Allow them to process what they have read and then wait for them to respond.
- Thank them for sharing their heart/ insights and then add what you see– especially as the passage applies to them but it can also speak to life in general. This can be a good time to share a personal story or insight about God. (I find that most people appreciate and benefit from my willingness to share past struggles or difficult lessons learned.) But the main thing is to keep God centerstage (not you) as the One who helped you ultimately to discover blessing from Him.
- Close in prayer with BOTH of you praying–your friend first! I call this, “Sealing the deal,” pointing out that after meeting with God “it would be rude for either of us to not at least thank Him for meeting with us!” Some Clients are hesitant at first, mustering a quick “Thanks God,” but they soon become more comfortable talking to God as it becomes part your routine.
Meaningful relationships often require hard work and sacrifice.
Even so, with God in the “mix” as our “third strand”, relationships are essential! The wisdom of Solomon affirms this exceedingly well:
“Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
All to His Glory!
*Amy sensed her friend needed a more personalized approach to the Bible, helping her talk TO God about her problems and seek His perspective. To grow in their relationship with Him is the goal for every Client at HisGlory SM.
**The process of Journey Notes Praise Journaling was designed to help breakup the negativity that accompanies depression and other issues. Clients who enter into the process generally make greater progress working through their problems than those who do not.
***I will be posting some of the passages God has used to minister to the hearts of Clients–there are many– so stay tuned!