Confronting “what’s going on”…
As Morgan* enters the counseling room and sits down, I immediately notice her face is drawn and tight. Something really intense is going on inside her mind.
Her intake form said she was a sales representative at a large computer software firm. She was on her way up the corporate ladder, and everything was going well for her in her career. But not in her personal life.
After an opening prayer, I ask “What’s going on?” I usually start with an open-ended question so my clients can decide where THEY want to start.
“I was looking at my boyfriend’s phone, and I discovered he is talking to several women on social media. A couple of them I know, but the others I don’t.”
I asked when this all started and she said,
“He has been talking to them for at least a couple of months and has been privately texting them as well.”
Morgan said she confronted her boyfriend, Addison*, whom she had dated for about a year and a half, and asked him about the women.
“He first got incensed because I was looking through his phone. Later, he said they were just fellow students from graduate school, and they were ‘just talking.’”
But Morgan told me that she knew by his texts and emojis that it was much deeper than that. When I asked Morgan how she was feeling about this…
“Lonely, afraid, and angry just about sums it up, Dr. Craig.”
Jesus must have felt lonely, afraid, and angry…
… many times during his ministry. We see that explicitly in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before his crucifixion.
There were no fears of a girlfriend cheating on him, of course, but the feeling of loss was enormous. It was the loss of all he knew as a human being… his friends and his family… and the fear of how he would physically feel when crucified on the cross.
He didn’t have a pity-party. He didn’t try to blame others (even when there was plenty to go around). He didn’t start drinking wine to escape from his painful thoughts. He didn’t look for revenge.
During his ministry, Jesus knew who he was. He was confident in his belief that he would obey God and be a kind and stable man instead of anxious and worried. He decided he would be truthful and treat others as he wanted them to treat him.
Many times during his ministry, he faced angry men who refused to believe who he was and tried to trick him into answering questions they could use against him.
Remaining secure and stable in the face of adversity…
Jesus didn’t lie. He didn’t try to change the subject. He didn’t belittle them. He didn’t run away.
What did he do? He often answered their questions with his own. He stated clearly his point of view. He was honest and open with no hidden agendas.
He forgave them. He spoke to them in a kind but assertive voice. He allowed them to be who they were. He did not use bad language. He was patient and kind.
In fact, he was the absolute model of a secure and stable individual.
When you come to me for help…
You’ll open up in response to my opening question: “What is going on?”
I will carefully listen to what you are thinking as you talk. I want to know what you are thinking, because your thoughts almost always indicate what you are feeling.
If you can change you’re thinking, you can change your feelings. We often need to change what we think about, because we’ve been stirring up thoughts in our brain that lead to bad and sometimes dangerous feelings – like the feeling of revenge.
Those thoughts might not be the best ones for modeling Jesus’s self-assuredness and stability in the face of hard truths.
As Morgan and I dug deeper, I asked her what kind of ‘role’ she was playing in the relationship. She admitted that she had not been her best around Derek* – that she, too, had been talking to men on social media. And she added that she was prone to anger outbursts and controlling behavior.
Morgan and I had a lot to work on to help her become the kind of woman that God wants her to be.
Shifting from worry and blame to a plan of action…
As your counselor, I will ask you questions, and together we will begin to formulate a plan for change.
I use the Bible extensively when we look at the kind of person we want to be when we grow up. And growing up for an adult means becoming mature in the way we think and behave.
Ready for a more joyful life?
There’s no better time than now to discover who you are in Christ. I would be honored to join you as you start this journey.
Some of the work will be hard, and you will realize truths about yourself that may be difficult to accept.
But there is joy on the other side of the hard work – joy in your life, family, and relationships. Call me today, and let’s talk more about how I can help: (916) 769-4673.
*Names changed to preserve client confidentiality.