In the past I have considered writing on this and even felt like I should write after a church service once upon a time. I am not one to write to a pastor but like to know that they read the letters, e-mails, etc. that come across their desk. A lot of it is probably silly stuff about the song service or the colors of the church remodel that someone is not crazy about. Landon said something really funny the other day or at least I thought so. He likes singing through the first two faster worship type songs but on the third song he said his legs hurt so bad he feels like he needs to go to the hospital~lol! I digress;)
Anyway, in most of the churches I have attended over the past 15 or more years the pastor might mention counseling or seeing a psychiatrist during their sermon. It is usually a pretty general statement or may go into a little more detail. My experience has been that the general consensus or opinion is that there are some who may need that sort of thing due to a chemical imbalance or temporarily during a stressful time such as a loss, divorce, or other stressful event. However, the general feeling I get is that most Christians don't need this sort of help. Really? I love the women's bible study at our church and the word is taught and nothing is held back. You really "bulk up" in the word and take lots of notes and I have reviewed these many times. The lady that teaches every week will readily tell you that she does not like to counsel people and it is flat out funny the way she talks about it. She really doesn't like to sit and hear people's stories particularly if they do not heed her "advice" or if they have no desire to change and plan on continuing to do the same. She says that is not her calling or gift. However, she did pray for me and sang over me during bible study one day and that was one of the most precious times in my journey.
There are hurting people in the church just like there are hurting people outside the walls of the church. Just because someone attends or belongs to a church does not mean they have it all together. When someone is ready to receive help and is asking for Godly counsel we are to be His hands and feet. It is very difficult to admit to needing help but it is refreshing to receive counsel and feedback from others and to make healthy adjustments along the way. This can be a painful process but I also see so much beauty in finding a trusting and open relationship where you feel safe enough to let your guard down and to work until change comes. When one receives insight it is life changing! Thus, the value of the relationship and working things out with a trusting individual, mentor, friend, or counselor. A consistent, trustworthy person who provides unconditional positive regard as well as accountability makes all the difference! The most important factor is that the person must not feel judged or shamed.
The truth is that many people experience stressful periods at some time in their life whether it be from unresolved childhood issues, chemical/hormonal issues, medical problems, or any number of problems which stem from "stinkin thinkin"~Lol! Funny but true. We bring on a lot of problems on ourselves by the way we think. Our perception or view of the world and others has a profound affect on our relationships with others and our quality of life. It took a lot for me to see a counselor. It was almost comical and he asked "So how hard was it for you to come in here?" Even though that was my field I still needed the help of another to help me see clearly during that time. I am grateful for having someone who was trained and who knew and understood what I was going through. There were also many friends, family and several strong spiritual mentors during that time who helped me overcome! I hope to write more about my experiences in hope that it may help others.
Many come from families where they did not learn healthy communication skills or just basic "people skills" in relationships. Many enter marriage and parenting with so much baggage that can easily be guarded while attending church a couple times a week. It is hard to know someone unless you have seen them in many different situations over an extended period of time. All is can say is that God leads us not by our head but by our gut as Pastor Reggie says. If there is something in your Spirit that does not sit right with you then the Holy Spirit is letting you know something is not right. There are many wounded and many in need of healing and restoration. I hope this is not a discouraging post but rather a reminder that many around us are in need of help. There is sometimes much shame and embarrassment that keeps someone from requesting such help. Sadly, the cycle continues. Sometimes it is broken and more than not it comes with looking at the next generation and wanting more.