“[A]nd his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
It’s Christmas time, and Isaiah’s words are playing on the radio. Jesus is called Wonderful. Counsellor. The mighty—
Hold up, there. Counsellor?
It’s 2020. To be perfectly honest, I’m on a wait list for a therapist. I know that counselors and therapists are not, strictly speaking, the same, but I’m searching for guidance and insight wherever I can find it.
And there it is! Here He is! HE can be my counselor, right now. No wait required.
I just read a book about therapeutic process*, and I can see it now: my finest hours of prayer resemble therapy. Jesus really IS wonderful, counsellor. Remove the comma, and He is a wonderful counselor.
- We are “unreliable narrators.” We don’t see our lives clearly enough to spin honest and hopeful stories, so we run to God.
- Sometimes prayer is hard because we have to share all the ugly parts of ourselves in a situation where we’d prefer to present the best. In prayer, “you’ll be asked to be both accountable and vulnerable.”
- God will “be supportive, but [His] support is for your growth.” He’ll “understand your perspective but not necessarily to endorse it.”
- The most important factor in [prayer] is connecting with God, or “feeling felt.”
- You may experience what Carl Rogers called “unconditional positive regard.”
- You will know firsthand “how it feels to be exquisitely seen.“
- You might experience what it feels like to “sit with someone who is grieving” (as the sitter, or as the griever).
- Honest, open, consistent prayer results in greater “emotional sobriety,” the ability to regulate ones emotions without self-medicating (in any bad-habit manner).
These descriptions come from therapist and author Lori Gottlieb. She’s talking about working with certified therapists, but I see heavy overlap in God’s healing methods. If this is what we can expect from mortals, think of what He can do for us!
I’m going to stay on the waitlist for a therapist, but you can be certain that I will be tapping into the Divine resource that is already here.
I pray because, as Gottlieb said, “Everyone deserves to hear someone say, ‘I believe in you. I can see possibilities that you might not see quite yet. I imagine that something different can happen… Let’s edit your story‘.”
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* The quotes in this post come from Lori Gottlieb’s memoir, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. Lori is a therapist and has also seen a therapist, so her perspective was broad and insightful. Expect peppery language and mild sexual references. I thought it was fun and page-turning. The book answered many of my questions, and I consequently feel better prepared to find and create therapeutic relationships in my life.