As I reached over to unbuckle my seatbelt, my friend grab my arm gently and looked straight into my eyes.
Lisa, have you thought about you and Stephen going for counseling together?
I laughed out loud, as while my husband was super supportive of doing whatever it takes for me to become emotionally healthy and whole, he was never one to embrace the process of counseling. However, I told her to give me the number of her counselor and I’d mention it to him. To my great surprise, Stephen said yes to the idea of counseling, and so I booked an appointment for the following week.
Honestly, we were desperate.
Our church was in the middle of a mess. Our school community was in a mess. Our extended family was walking through some really intense challenges. No matter where we turned, we had no one to turn to but each other and God. Yes, God is sufficient to meet all our needs in Christ Jesus, but He also made the body of Christ to depend upon one another in a time of weakness (Philippians 4:19, 1 Corinthians 12). In our case, however, the body was just as weak as we were.
Over the weeks that followed, we talked with our counselor about the dynamics of our crazy life and the pressure on our marriage. In the process, he began to pinpoint some issues from each of our childhoods that were impacting our response to what we were going through. Oh there were trust issues, for sure — a natural side-effect of being children of divorce. There were fear issues as well, and conflict-avoidance all over the place. He joked at one point that I could write a book about every kind of dysfunction and relationship issue, to which I respond, “No thanks. I have no desire to write such a book. I’d just like these issues to go away.” Ironically, that was a year before I began working on Meet the New You, which actually unpacks how I moved through the healing process through applying Scriptures to everyday life.
Needless to say, if I could find the magic pill to make our issues go away, I'd share it with everyone! Unfortunately, we can’t sweep our pain under the proverbial carpet. We can't box up our issues and send off them off to never-never land. So, what can we do when life feels like it’s too much?
5 Steps for Finding Hope & Help
From my experience, there are five ways to find hope and help, if we’re willing to admit we need a dose of both in the first place:
1. Don’t Give Up Praying
I know it sounds trite, but it’s essential no matter what. Grab a journal to make it feel active and empty your heart before God. Read through the Psalms to help you find words if you can’t form them yourself.
2. Open the Word Daily
Take five minutes (or more, if you’ve got it) to read Scripture. Even if it isn’t “speaking to you,” it’s getting into your mind and soul. The Holy Spirit will draw on it when you need it later on. Put into place the Starting Point technique to make this effort effortless. If you don't even know where to begin in Scripture, you might want to download 40 Prayers to Calm an Anxious Heart.
3. Talk with Your Doctor
It’s quite possible that how you feel emotionally is a result of your health situation. Maybe your hormones are out of whack. Maybe you're deficient in an essential vitamin or mineral, which is making you feel fatigued and cloudy. Maybe the emotional burden upon you is bringing on a bout of depression. Don’t be afraid to pursue medical treatment while seeking the Lord’s care for your mind, heart, and soul.
4. Consider Connecting with a Christian Counselor or Life Coach
I once said to a loved one that counseling isn’t a life-long commitment. It’s a tool to help you reconcile the past so that you can live to the fullest in the present. Sometimes, healing from past or present wounds simply needs the safety-net of a professional who understands how the heart and minds works, and can direct you in how to move forward. If money is an obstacle, ask a counselor if they will using a sliding scale or accept insurance. Once the healing is well underway, life coaching can provide short-term support and focused encouragement to move forward,
5. Confide in a Trustworthy, Praying Friend
God did not intend for us to go through life alone. We are part of the body of Christ and will need to lean on friends during trying times. Pick up the phone or schedule a coffee date to share with a trustworthy friend what you’re going through and ask her for prayer support. Knowing there is someone in your corner will be a source of relief to you.
Finding hope and help is a process, my friend. The first step is really admitting you need it and not being afraid to seek it out. God's best for you is not found in living overwhelmed, anxious, worried, afraid, or defeated. That's a by-product of the burdens and wounds heaped upon your shoulders. Regardless of how they got there, God is big enough to carry them for you and lift your head with His tender hand.
So will you turn to Him for help, asking Him which steps you need to take towards finding hope again?
Psalm 3:3 (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)
You, Lord Jehovah, are my helper and my honor, and the lifter of my head.
Abiding in Him,
If you are struggling with anxiety and worry, and want to focus your mind on Scripture, grab this free download, 40 Verses to Calm an Anxious Heart. If you want to know more about my story of transformation, and what happened after that season in counseling, check out Meet the New You. While it's not my memoir, I share lessons learned and tools to help you embrace real life change.