Admittedly, it’s been longer than 9 weeks since I started writing out these devotionals. Life happens and things like quiet time and bible study, far too often, get pushed to the side. One would think that I’d have figured out that self-preservation doesn’t work if I’m not actually taking care to preserve myself by way of keeping my sanity a priority, but…….
So, anyway. Here we are at Week 9. I’m wrapping up the third of my 4 intensives. This one has dealt with group counseling. And ya know, you just can’t get a feel for what counseling is going to be like until you do it – both the participation and the facilitation – and this week, I’ve done both.
What I’ve come away with has been pretty remarkable.
Before I begin with the reflection part, let me give some background. I have actually been enrolled in this class before. Last summer. However, when I signed up, the person on the other end of the phone did not tell me that a month would be enough time to get all the work done IF I was trying to take another intensive as well – which I was. So, after 3 weeks of trying to bust my tail to get all the work done, I decided that I needed to withdraw from both of the courses. I believe this was the Sovereign Hand of God leading this decision. My husband had just been sent away and the kids and I had just moved to our new residence. I was trying to unpack and wrap up work for 3 other classes I was taking. I was overwhelmed, stressed, emotional and – pretty much – just running on autopilot. All I was trying to do was push through to get the work done. I wasn’t really learning it. And my wounds were still so fresh that, had I come to the class last summer, I would not have been able to participate the way that I have this year. Everything would’ve been about me, and I would’ve brought the group atmosphere WAAAAAY down.
Now, for what I’ve learned. We just cannot go through life on our own. This is not really a new revelation. It’s something I’ve heard many times before. But what I realized this past week is that there is a life the group develops that is uniquely its own. Learning that – seeing it first hand – and pairing it with the knowledge that we have been designed to be in relationships, adds an element to group counseling that makes it very different from individual counseling. It’s a very rewarding experience, and I am thankful NOW that Liberty has required these intensives as part of their degree completion plans. My education would not have been complete without them.
But, what if we take this lesson beyond the scope of my classes and counseling. What if we extend it to the real world and how we do life here on this earth.
What if we were intentional about our relationships? What if we sought to be the best version of ourselves in all of our relationships instead of just letting things happen with whomever may cross out paths? What would our lives be like if we really prioritized the most important relationships in our lives? What might that look like? How would our relationships with our spouses, our children, our parents, our friends change?
What if we started by prioritizing our relationships with The Lord first?
What if we took the command to love him with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength seriously? Is it possible that the whole “loving our neighbors as ourselves” might be just a little easier? And even if it wasn’t, wouldn’t it make choosing to stick with those relationships a little easier? Because, then, we’d be staying for a different reason!
One thing we’d learn really quickly is just how much we truly value life. We’d see just how seriously we take the notion that ALL MEN are created in the image of God. You. Me. The homeless guy on the street. The sex offender. The terrorist. Yeah! All those folks! I am no better than my fellow man. BUT…by that same token, I am also no worse. And comparing myself to any standard other than that of Christ is holding myself up to a faulty measure, and I will come away with a warped sense of my own worth and yours.
I think I could probably go on, but I am going to try to put into practice some wise words I read earlier today:
Once you’ve made your point, stop talking.