By, Kellie Langdon
"According as his divine power hath given unto us
all things that pertain unto life and godliness,
through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:"
2 Peter 1:3
How’s it going? How are you? What’s new?
You hear those questions every Sunday at church, don’t you? Has there been a time when your chest tightened after hearing one of those questions? Maybe you wanted to answer honestly that it isn’t going well, that you’re not ok, and that the new things aren’t good. But you replied, “Great! Doing well! Not much!”
Making this auto-reply a habit in Christian relationships can lead you down a lonely, frustrating path. Bottling up your struggles only leads to problems worse than the original struggles. It can lead you to the point where you might take severe action like filing for divorce or leaving a church—all without seeking godly counsel.
In my experience with Christian women, I see many who really need wise, godly friends willing to ask questions, take time, and point them to the Word of God. I believe that we Christian ladies need discipling and counseling relationships—when an older believer teaches a younger believer biblical principles and how to walk with Jesus.
I’ve been privileged the last few years to attend training in Biblical counseling. My husband and I get to soak in wisdom from medical doctors, Ph.D.’s, seminary professors, teachers, authors, pastors, etc., who are experienced biblical counselors.
As I sat in my mildly uncomfortable pew chair at the training conference, I thought, “I know there is a great need for this. I see it in my church weekly (whether the issues are domestic violence, addictions, communication in marriage, depression). Why, when we’re Christians, we have God’s word, we have the Holy Spirit, we have the church, we have the grace of God, do we (I) desperately need counseling?”
Are we all trying to make it alone in the Christian life? Are we scared of real friendship? Are we scared of accountability? Are we embarrassed about our problems? Are we embarrassed that we don’t know how to deal with our problems through scripture?
The answer I came up with is two-fold: our view of relationships, and our view of Scripture.
First, we have this sin issue of pride. We don’t want anyone to know that we don’t have it all together. We don’t want to confess our sin to anyone besides God. We are afraid for the ugly side of our past to come out. We have very few real friendships.
Second, many of us have a low view of Scripture. Maybe you believe, like many others, that there are issues in life that are outside the scope of scripture. May I challenge you to look at the verse at the beginning. It tells us that the scripture holds all we need for life, our eternal future; and godliness, our present condition. Life and godliness pretty much covers it all, right? Maybe the Bible doesn’t talk about chemotherapy as a source of depression, but the Bible has a whole lot to say about depression itself. Maybe the Bible doesn’t explicitly say how to deal with a homosexual child, but it has a lot to say about sexual sin and faithful parenting. Maybe the Bible doesn’t say anything about internet pornography, but it has a lot to say about lust and adultery. Maybe the Bible doesn’t specifically address drug addiction, but it has a lot to say about idolatry.
The Bible is sufficient to address our heart issues. Maybe you need a counselor or pastor who is experienced and equipped to walk with you through your heart issues. What I want you to grasp is that the Bible is sufficient and that the Holy Spirit will teach and sanctify you through the Word.
Can I encourage you in two ways?
First, if you are struggling, ask a godly friend for some devoted time to talk. (Take a tissue box with you and maybe mascara for afterward.) Maybe what you need is to simply build a real friendship in which you can talk and pray together and be accountable to someone. Or perhaps, after a conversation, your friend will encourage you to seek formal Biblical counseling. But at least start talking instead of bottling up your thoughts and feelings. If you do seek counseling, ask your pastor to help you locate a counselor with a Biblical philosophy, or visit biblicalcounseling.com to find a certified counselor in your area.
Second, if you have a heart for counseling, seek training. For me, counseling has been dropped in my lap through local church ministry, and I desperately need training. There are several ways to get affordable training to sharpen your skills. Visit the Association of Christian Biblical Counselors’ website (biblicalcounseling.com) for help. Some excellent resources are The Biblical Counseling Guide for Women by John D. and Janie Street and Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling Women by Patricia A. Miller.
(Note: If you are in a physically dangerous situation such as risk of overdose, domestic violence, or suicidal thoughts, please get police or institutional help immediately. Get out of the danger, then take the time to get the counseling help you need.)