JulieLeung.com: a life told in tidepools

pictures and stories from the water’s edge

JulieLeung.com: a life told in tidepools header image 2

Counseling: me?!

December 11th, 2003 · No Comments

Tania blogged a few weeks ago about her experience with counseling . It reminded me how I have been wanting to write about my own experience that started this summer.

I confess I had an arrogant attitude. Sure, counseling was a good thing. A great thing. Very helpful. Lots of other people could get help from counseling. But I didn’t need any. After all, I thought I knew all my problems and that I had dealt with most of them well. Some major events in my childhood shaped me, some of them very obvious, like my parents divorce, my brother’s cancer, and as I grew up, I began to grow out of them, or so I thought. I felt I was pretty aware of my issues and dealing well with them. I wrote essays about them in high school, scribbling through my feelings. When Ted and I started dating, I laid them all out on the table. Through my college years, I confronted some of my fears and with the help of friends and mentors, I thought I had defeated them. Finis. Gone from my life.

Whoa, was I surprised this summer when God opened the door to my heart and showed me what was inside! I needed help. I had no idea how much I needed help! I thought I was fine but instead I had built my world on a false foundation. What I thought was truth was something I had created for myself. The way I viewed reality was wrong. So my counseling began…

It wasn’t something I was seeking to do. My heart happened to be ready and in the right place, and the right people appeared in my life to help me deal with the hurt. I wasn’t expecting or planning it, but boy, am I grateful! An experienced counselor who we knew, happened to be visiting us at the time, and spent hours working with me. Then later a friend continued the work, in her own style, a different way.

It’s amazing to me how God carves our hearts. How He allows us to shape our souls. And how He is always willing to soften the clay and make a new shape.

I should explain how my counseling sessions were. Intense and few. I only did three meetings with the first, and maybe half a dozen with my second. The sessions mostly consisted of lots of listening – to me and to God, by the counselor and me together. Lots of prayer. Lots of patience. Lots of tears. We’d walk back into old memories, wherever the Lord lead, and discover how my reactions had hardened me. How I had chosen to respond to painful situations had shaped me, making me fearful or angry. I had taken feelings and made them fact, thinking they were truth, creating ways to see myself and my life. Here I thought I was walking free when really I was carrying around with me lots of heavy things from the past, like a big backpack. Looking back now, it almost seems silly to recall all the mountains I’d made from molehills. Lots of repenting and renouncing. Taking a stand against myself, what I had said or vowed in the past. Lots of looking for Jesus right there in the painful memory. Feeling His arms around me, comforting, in the middle of all my emotions. And finding hope in Him.

The best illustration that comes to my mind, is remembering what life was like for me before I got glasses. I was five years old and I remember looking out the window of our car, as we were driving around at night, and believing that streetlights were just supposed to be blurry, like stars with lots of streaks and streams around them. Once I got glasses, I could see better. I hadn’t realized all I was missing. Lights at night were no longer big fuzzy blurs. I could even see other things out the window, besides just the streaks of the streetlights. So it has been for me with counseling, like getting glasses – but it’s even better than a lens I take off and on, it’s more as if I could get my vision fixed forever.

Tags: journal