“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”Proverbs 11:14
“God has a purpose behind every problem. He uses circumstances to develop our character. In fact, he depends more on circumstances to make us like Jesus than he depends on our reading the Bible.”Rick Warren
People tell me all the time how strong I am. If you need an update, these past 2 months hit me like a mac truck driving 75 MPH down I-85 with no brakes. I was grieved with the unexpected loss of friends and family. I started taking masters classes at college and I wasn’t prepared for the change. My sweet puppy was diagnosed with cancer and my family made the gut wrenching decision to end her pain. And still, a few other events made these months trying. Every turn left me shattered, devastated, and feeling broken. But all I kept hearing from those around me was how strong I am. This was the best compliment I could have received. Especially of late. And to be completely honest, I know it might sound strange, I feel strong. Physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. I probably sound delusional considering the events of the past few months. How can I feel so strong when everything around me is literally crumbling? Drum roll please. A therapist.
I have this weird thing called anxiety that controls me (and others) sometimes. If I don’t have control of the situation, I get anxious. If I’m planning an event and things start to crumble, I get anxious. All of a sudden, I’m doing everything in my power to fix the situation, even if it means hurting someone in the way. That’s the anxiety controlling me. If my mom drives too close to the yellow lines in the middle of the road, my heart starts pounding and my palms get sweaty. If she lingers close to the line for too long, I ask with a shaky, elevated, and disrespectful voice, ‘mom, please can you move over in the lane?’ That’s my anxiety controlling me to control others around me. And that’s not all. These are just two examples I experienced recently. The list goes on.
Y’all, let’s be honest. Life is hard. It’s a whirlwind. Not everything is easy peasy lemon squeezey. I’m 21 years old. I don’t know everything. I have a few tricks up my sleeve, but they don’t cure all. I had hit a wall. I felt like I was crumbling. My anxiety was controlling me more and more; I had less control over my anxiety than ever before. I’d tried breathing exercises, I’d tried reading books, I’d tried a lot of different things. And sometimes it worked! Breathing helps temporarily, not long term. So as soon as I thought about the situation again, the anxiety came back. I needed long term solutions I wasn’t able to provide myself. It seems daunting, you might think it makes you appear weak, and it’s not a society accepted answer. But what’s comforting is that I’m not the first person to struggle with this. It’s been happening for thousands of years. And the Bible addresses a solution to needing help beyond yourself.
Proverbs clearly tells us that where there is no guidance, a people falls. I didn’t have any guidance on how to deal with this anxiety and stress, so I was falling. Thankfully, the verse doesn’t end there. There’s hope! It goes on to say that with an abundance of counselors, there is safety. I see this as a spiritual, emotional, and mental safety net. It’s not a physical safety net in the sense that if you’re a clumsy person who falls and skins their knee all the time, this will no longer be an issue. No. This is a different kind of safety net. One that goes deeper than physical dangers. There is safety in receiving guidance from someone other than yourself. When I’m in the middle of an anxiety attack, it feels like the end. I think my heart could just beat right out of my chest and run away. But when I seek guidance in handling these situations, there is safety in having someone point out, it’s not the end, despite how it feels. There is safety in having someone walk you through the situation from an outside perspective. There is safety in knowing you’re not the only person rooting for yourself. Let me repeat this. There is safety in seeking wise counseling. When life hits you with a curve ball, it can feel everything but safe. Sometimes all you need is someone to point that safety out to you, remind you that you really are ok, to catch you in that safety net, and get you on your feet. There is no reason, biblical or otherwise, why we should have to do life alone. We aren’t called to worship alone. We are called to worship together with other believers. Colossians 3:16 says WHEN you come together, not if you come together but WHEN. Look up Hebrews 10:24-25 which talks about not neglecting to meet together. And a favorite that gets quoted a lot in Christian circles – Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” The scripture references are boundless! The take away – you should have someone to go through life with, to constantly remind you of that safety.
My therapist is a Christian therapist. So in our sessions, she continually points everything back to the Lord and scripture. We celebrate small accomplishes the Lord has lavished on me and we look at Biblical ways to combat the setbacks. We’re working on becoming more and more like Christ and less and less like human Anna. When I’m filled with more Christ than I am Anna, I can take the punches of this world because I know someone bigger than me has control. Jesus so clearly knew the power and control of His father. He didn’t always like the situations He was put in, but He knew his father had complete control and therefore was able to roll with the punches. That’s what I want for my life. I want to be ~ f l e x i b l e ~ like I’ve never been before. These mac trucks that keep repeatedly hitting me aren’t for nothing. They are developing my character. You don’t just become like Jesus overnight with one prayer. It’s like the diamond analogy. Diamonds are put under a lot of pressure and stress in order to be beautiful. It might feel as if you’re under a lot of pressure and stress, too, but very shortly, you will shine. But make the decision to develop that character to one of Jesus’s character. Human character isn’t anything special. But Jesus’s character is the acme of characters. Y’all he’s the ultimate roller with the punches. He was tested and tried for 40 straight days and 40 straight nights and he still rolled. Talk about a perfect character role model!
If we wanna be like Jesus, we gotta be willing to be pressed and stressed. But don’t lose sight of the purpose God has for this trying season. Remember, there is a purpose. It’s to build character. And building character only helps you later in life. It doesn’t harm, it helps. Life doesn’t get any easier, sorry to burst your bubble. So developing a noble character now is of uber importance in handling bigger things down the road. If you’re losing sight and feeling shattered, devastated, or hopeless, and you’ve tried all you can try, seek counseling. I was falling and didn’t know what else I could do. So I sought counseling from a therapist. And I know I’m safe. My therapist constantly reminds me of the safety net, even when I can’t see it. But I also know this problem season is creating in me a character more like Jesus’s. And that is worth every penny and every tear and every ‘oh you go to therapy?’ question. Y’ALL THERE AIN’T NOTHING WRONG WITH SEEING A THERAPIST. I will scream that at the top of my lungs every single day if I have to. I hate the stigma. Why is there so much shame for wanting to get help? Why does wanting to make yourself stronger with the help of a third party make you look weak? I pinky promise you I am not weak. And I pinky promise you, you are not weak either, therapy or no therapy. But if you are tired of trying to do this life on your own, seek counsel. You will not regret it. You’ll feel safe again and your future self will thank you for the character you’re producing through the problem situations.
Lastly, I have seen so many improvements and benefits from seeing a therapist on a weekly basis over the past 6 months, that if you’re considering therapy, but you have reservations, I hope this encourages you to seek your options. No, not everyone needs a therapist!! If you want to see one, but you’re hesitant, maybe you’re afraid what your parents or s/o will say, blame it on me! Tell them how much I love therapy and you just wanted to see what all the hype is about. Please, if you want to talk to someone, do it. I don’t want to see anyone falling blindly. It’s terrifying. You need to be reminded there’s a safety net and that God loves you, wants the best for you, and will provide the answers for you, sometimes through another person!! So girl, let’s talk therapy!