I’ve been pondering a maxim that I read in a fiction novel this week (yes, I read fiction, too). The wise teacher was instructing his students on a life principle.
“You know what to do. You just don’t want to do it.”
I think this describes a lot of people that come in for counseling. Perhaps they are hoping that there is an alternative to facing the hard stuff. Or they need someone with an authoritative voice to help them face the truth. Or they are hoping that the counselor will confront their partner instead of having to do it themselves.
Yes, it is true that sometimes people need help breaking denial. They may have a big old blind spot that needs to be exposed. This is especially true for people with a more serious disorder. But for many this is not the case. It is simply that the needed change is painful, complicated, or difficult.
I see two main areas that are pretty common.
- I need to stop drinking.
- I need to let go of an affair or other sexual behavior outside of marriage.
- I have to deal with my anger
- I have a problem with lying.
- I have a spending or other addiction.
- I need to move out of my parent’s house
- I need to let go of a relationship that is destructive.
- I need to find a job or look for another job.
- I need to move forward with a marriage commitment
- I need to get my finances in order, but it means having to reduce my lifestyle
Both of those lists could get much longer. And let me say, it takes courage to do those things. Being coached through them often makes the process easier, or at least more doable. That is one reason why we love the AA method of using sponsors. Sponsors are able to strengthen and encourage us when we are weak. They are a gift.
I remember times in my life where I have had to face both moral and practical issues. They really are not fun. Deciding to allocate money to a retirement account meant reducing my available spending money. Admitting I was a people pleaser and needed to set appropriate boundaries was, and still is painful for me. Even before I entered counseling I knew many of the things that needed changing – but I needed help doing them. My pride, my fear, and my family issues got in the way.
God tells us that He is available to be a 24/7 resource. His word stands as a promise to us. We can always reach out to Him when we are weak.
God is our refuge and our strength:
An ever present help in times of trouble.