The Life We Live Without God Is Riddled With Lies and Unending Problems:
As if life were some masquerade party, we painstakingly make sure to trudge or march around with our ‘Everything is fine’ masks. Why is the environment we maintain within the confines of our homes the opposite of what we put on display for the world to see? Why is it so important for us to look as ‘normal’ or as ‘Godly’ as possible for others to see? Why do we feel the need to constantly maintain our exterior facade of superficial values and attractiveness at all costs? Why are we constantly looking to people to validate our worthiness? Is it because we have been so used to being told how to think, what to feel, who we are supposed to be and how we ought to behave that we no longer know how to look at ourselves for who we really are?
We live everyday life in constant delusion of trying to be what society expected of us and becoming miserable about our failure in doing so. The cycle goes on and we desperately grope for ‘Something’ to anchor our unstable personality so as to bring some sort of order in our life. The elusive ‘Something’ evades us yet again but we trudge on and life brings with it an event, a circumstance or a situation which has a high probability of being a consequence of certain choices we made in the past. Our everyday-life struggle is mostly dealing with and overcoming the consequences of the poor choices we made which is a result of our constant attempt to meet our ‘Personal Needs’. These undesirable consequences of our daily struggle become our ‘Personal Problems’. And when it comes to dealing with our ‘Personal Problems’, the easy ways we usually chose are denial, ignorance and suppression although they never lead to the answers we seek. These are instinctively our ways of protecting ourselves but factually, they just disguise our true feelings and morphed them into something entirely different and eventually manifest themselves outwardly in our behaviour or character or even to physical sickness which confused and appalled us even more! We often end up without any sense of direction and sometimes our very existence become pointless. Still, with our survival mode in full swing, some of us braved through our ‘Personal Problems’ by sheer willpower or ego or pride, some became hardened, some resort to Agnosticism out of total confusion and denial, some choose solace in something that dulls their reality and destroys them eventually (such as drugs, alcohol and pornography and/or sex), some pretend through it, some became depressed and some even resort to taking their own lives.
Counselling- The Unwarranted Stigma:
It is interesting to note how we don’t think it is a shame but the right thing to do to consult doctors and even spend thousands and lakhs of Rupees for our physical ailments, not mentioning the time, energy and money we invested for the beautification and maintenance of our appearances and our bodies respectively. But when it comes to our emotional and spiritual wellbeing, we consider it a shame, a disgrace, a sign of weakness to even consider seeing a Counsellor when we are in need of emotional and spiritual help. If only we’d understand that many of our physical sickness/ailments are the manifestation of our mental and spiritual sickness! There is even a term for it. It is called psychosomatic illness or psychosomatic disorder!
Counselling (one on one or group) is worth advocating as an effective way to restore brokenness, to achieve clarity, to change perspective on various/certain confusions and issues about life and God. Sadly our Society is alarmingly misinformed about what counselling really is by associating it with ‘weakness’ or Mental Disorder or ‘sinfulness’, which is not totally wrong in itself; however, the whole attitude becomes unbiblical and nothing less than Sin when we shame and condemn weakness and the need to seek help for it
( 2 Corinthians 12:9
– But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
– James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.).
It has been researched and proven using human intellect that Human Beings have an inexplicable thirst and deep longing for ‘something’ that is carnally woven into our very being. The Bible not only acknowledges it but tells us what that ‘something’ is.
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled
 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.  Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.
No wonder the world is flooded with innumerable religions and philosophies in various and multiple forms which emerge from the search for the elusive ‘something’. That Something, if I must, is the fellowship we once had with God, one that was broken in Eden. Yes, the very one that has been restored through Jesus Christ, our Saviour. But because of The Fall, the restoration of the perfect fellowship with God will have to wait until our day of glorification when God makes everything new again. For now, our lives in this world will be often flawed and needy because we live in a condemned world where Satan’s constant mission (John 10:10 ; Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms) is to make the worst out of us and to tear us as far away as possible from God’s Love and Grace. This situation might sound grim but no it is not, because Jesus said in John 10:10 that He came so that we can have abundant life and in Jeremiah 29:11, God declares His plans to give us prosperity, hope and a future. Yes, all that while we are in this life!
We are indeed privileged and highly favoured to have the ever loving and merciful God on our side. God made sure He provided us our Emotional and Spiritual Needs ( Personal Needs) by various means such as The Book, sermons, fellowship, worship, epiphanies, songs, poems, life’s experiences and in recent years, a new professional help in the form of Biblical Counselling.
Our Unmet Needs are the source of all our Personal Problems:
Now that we’ve got to the whole point of writing this article, let’s delve right to it. The aim of Biblical Counselling is to help steer people along the lines of Biblical principles towards regaining confidence and empowering them to function to their full potential as God intended for His children to be. To put things into a new perspective that aligned with the counsellor’s perspective, let’s get our attention back to where we earlier stated that human beings have deep longings which arose out of the broken fellowship that we have with God. These ‘Deep Longings’ or crucial ‘Personal Needs’ may be summed up in three categories :
1)Security- the sense of belonging or being unconditionally loved
2) Significance- a sense of value or worth
3) Self Worth- the sense of purpose or that one’s life really counts.
Essentially, we struggle everyday to fulfill the needs mentioned above. And needs are strong motivators. How and up to what extent these needs are met will determine the state of our spirit and our psyche. Every ‘Personal Problem’ therefore arose out of unmet ‘Personal Need(s)’. What I am trying to say is, the more we let God meet our personal needs and upto what extent, the more we’ll feel fulfilled and that deep longing satiated. So, when we have our crucial needs met in God, only then can we function to our full potential as God intended us to be. However, most of the time we try to fulfill our crucial needs through self management and self efforts in material things and other people. And that, my brethren, is when and where almost all of our personal problem arose. Having said that, we can now come to an understanding that fulfilling our crucial personal needs in God, through Christ is very important in order to grow towards achieving our overall well-being and His Likeness.
We know that we can’t control a lot of things, we can’t solve some of our problems, we can’t change certain circumstances. But we must also understand that, as Christians, we can choose to change the way we think. The ‘Freedom to Choose’ that God equip each one of us with since the beginning of our time is something so amazingly sculpted and securely protected into our very being that even God Himself wouldn’t encroach on it. The Devil has no access to it either but he will influence it by tweaking our soft spots and our weaknesses. Exercising our freewill to change the way we think is not only biblical (Ephesians 4:23 ; Romans 12:2) but is also key to changing our attitude and behaviours so as to be able to grow closer to God.
Let me bluntly say that it really is okay not to be okay. It is okay to be weak, hurt, tired, confused, heartbroken, rejected, afraid, bitter and what not. As living breathing beings, we sometimes forgot to allow ourselves to feel and to be in touch with our emotions. Feelings makes us human. Only when we bring ourselves to accept who we are just as we are and put off all our falsehood (Ephesians 4:25) and be honest with our feelings just like our Saviour (John 11:35), then only, can we enter into the Grace and Love of God. Simply put, we must accept that we are weak and present ourselves humbly with all our flaws and sorrows to God, just as we are, so that He can continue to work in us (2 Corinthians 12:9).
What a Counselling Session is all about- Acceptance without Judgement:
Sometimes, we need a different perspective on our lives and the personal problems that come with it so as to be able to overcome them or sort them out or deal with them. We may need someone to tell us that we are loved, that we matter, that we are strong, that we can do the things we got to do and even help us understand why we do the things we do. We may also need someone to understand, feel and even cry with us out of empathy. Sometimes, we may need someone to listen without judging, patronizing and unwanted advice. At one time, we may need a slight steer in the right direction or a motivation to do the right things. At other times we may need someone to affirm our behaviour or encourage us to choose the better option or help clarify our confusion over some physical, emotional and spiritual conundrum by helping us to express our pent up emotions if and when necessary and showing us the possible consequences of the choices we made or are about to make. In short, counsellors help us to see possibilities that we might have missed in our agonies and resentments.
The counselling session is where all these things took place and more. It is an environment where healing and restoration is initiated and/or took place. Believe me, I was a broken counselee with no sense of direction and purpose in my life. Three sessions of several hours each led me to my healing and consequent restoration before I became a Counsellor. I had to be healed first so that I can help people to heal. It is not strange that I strongly advocate counselling despite the stigma attached to it.
A Christian counselling session, if I must, is a place where the counselee is the ‘star’ of the session. A session with a God-fearing counsellor is bound to be an effective one. Even if they have been trained to do such work, they rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit and not on their expertise so that the conflict in the counselee can be dealt with effectively. The session usually start with prayer and/or ends with prayer according to the situation and emotional condition of the counselee. Then the explorations begins with the counsellor guiding, urging and affirming the counselee to express themselves. We all know how difficult it is to open up hidden wounds and sores and be vulnerable even to ourselves, not to mention opening up to others. But opening up is key to be able to deal with any of our problems. To acknowledge our problems and weaknesses is the first step to change and contrary to popular belief, is also a sign of bravery rather than cowardice. Secondly, to further admit that we need help dealing with it makes us accept our limitations and vulnerability which is a sign of a responsible and mature person (Christian) . And lastly, to actually put our thoughts into action and taking the trouble to see a counsellor shows the willingness to change and transform which is a courageous and wonderful thing because God reveals Himself only when we are come humbly before Him and are willing to listen to Him and not ourselves. The counsellor, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit helps us in such a way that we become more aware of who we really are without His Grace and who we really are within His Grace. Next, we move on to what we can choose to do to initiate the change. Then, the counsellor helps us to commit to maintain the change in alignment with biblical principles (Deuteronomy 31:6, 2 Chronicles 15:7, Psalm 31:24) and to learn to trust in God and His Words to the best of our abilities. These are essentially what happens during a Christian counselling session(s). That too, in the most non-judgemental, non-condemnation and non-threatening way possible with the assurance of a 100 percent confidentiality.
Now that we’ve come to learn what Counselling is, may I suggest that you no longer deprive yourself of clarity, relief and healing from your undealt problems and issues? Yes, the one that you cannot forgive yourself or them for. Yes, that incident or person which still makes you afraid, angry, regretful or overwhelms you with vengeful attitude. Maybe, you feel uncomfortable and even panicky with your life without any apparent reason at no particular time. Believe me there is a reason(s) why you feel the way you feel or behave the way you behave. So, can I suggest that you make the effort to see a trustworthy counsellor if you haven’t done anything about them or have done some things to sort them out and it had not worked?
Finally, consider the fact that you belong to such times when Counselling started making headway into our society. Maybe it is possible that Counselling is the means God is providing for you to be you and consequently be healed. You never know.
– Chingngaihlian Tunglut