We live in a fast paced world. Technology has allowed for people to get information at a faster rate, communicate with people in several different forms all around the world, and most people are able to obtain services they desire at a quicker pace. One of the main issues that most counselors (me included) run into when working with people is that the people want to know, “How long is it going to take for me to get over this problem?” Most services people receive nowadays have a definite time that can be given to when the job will be complete. Even most medical conditions can be treated and given a time when the problem should not exist anymore.
I often tell the people I work with that my job would be much easier if I could just take an x-ray to figure out the main problem with someone. Also, it would be easier if there was the almighty quick-fix for mental health and emotional problems. But, we know that this does not exist for the challenges in life that God gives us. Waiting patiently on the Lord and depending on Him is a challenge for most people and a concept very difficult to understand.
When I first began as a counselor, I often wanted to find the quick fix for people and I was often the one who felt impatient if someone came in week after week and was still struggling to understand their suffering. I have learned a great lesson as I have gained experience in working with others; God’s timing is different than ours. Also, God’s plans for our lives are greater than anything we could imagine. Being obedient to God and trusting that he will pull us out of our troubles is essential for every Christian believer. As a Christian counselor, I know that I have a responsibility to communicate this to people I help.
I want to share a story about a client who recently humbled me to be more patient with the process of helping another person. He is a young boy who I have seen for a long time on a weekly basis. He comes from a troubled home and has been through many traumatic events in his life. This boy has presented over the past 2 years as very angry and avoidant of discussion during therapy. I have prayed for him and his family over the time I have worked with him but have often felt very discouraged by the lack of progress that I thought I should be seeing. His family continued to bring him on a weekly basis and was more patient than I was with the process.
Lately, God has been working in both of us during our therapy sessions, as I have seen a dramatic shift in his behaviors and willingness to open up. Recently, God revealed a scripture to me, Romans 15:4-5, ”For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus.” This scripture has served as a great reminder for me to be obedient to God’s word and just be present with others while showing Christ-like love. This approach allowed me to stop trying to force success and change with this young boy and allowed for greater results ultimately to occur.
I encourage all of you who read this to remember that change does not always occur as fast as we would like, but God’s timing and Will is always better than what we could create for ourselves.
In 1 Peter 1:6-7, it states, “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
Tagline: Michael Linn, M.Ed., is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is the director of Safe Harbor Christian Counseling of South Central PA with office locations in Altoona, Carlisle, Chambersburg, Fairfield, and Gettysburg. Please visit http://www.safeharbor1.com for more information or call 717-264-0614 to make an appointment.