by Shane Fookes, MA LPC Intern
Why do people seek Christian counseling?
People seek counseling because they are experiencing some kind of mental, emotional, and/or relational distress. Something in their life feels overwhelming and out of control.
An unexpected source of distress for many of us is the physical, mental, and emotional clutter in our lives. We live in a time and place in which we’re surrounded by myriad options and choices. Social media constantly confronts us with an idealized picture of the lives of our “friends,” and we find ourselves lacking. Since we are tribal creatures we are deeply affected when others important to us flaunt their latest purchase or experience. Pervasive advertisements then bombard us with the solution to our problem at a “low, low price available for a short time only.” In our consumption-driven culture, the call to get more stuff and do more things is as pervasive as the air we breathe. Even if we don’t set out to accumulate more stuff and get more done, it’s nearly impossible to avoid when it’s seemingly the only solution available to assuage our distress.
More! Faster! Sooner!
At some level, we know the pace and volume are not sustainable. Yet, like proverbial lemmings, we continue to follow the herd over the cliff to our demise.
Those who turn to Jesus and the church for help easily get trapped in the same cultural miasma. Only now, religious demands and performance are added onto all the other pressures. Yet, we have these amazing words from Jesus found in Matthew 11 offering a sharp contrast:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Real rest. Unforced rhythms of grace. Live freely and lightly. This is what we’re longing to experience. But how do we learn these unforced rhythms of grace? I’d like to offer a place to start:
Be mindful. Slow down. Simplify.
Jesus modeled living fully present in the moment. He never hurried because he knew who he was and what he lived for. And he practiced a simple lifestyle. You can do the same. Mindfulness is an orientation toward life that keeps you present. Regularly practiced, it helps slow down the freneticism both around you and within you. Over time, you develop an awareness of your internal world – your thoughts, urges, emotions, and desires. This can move you from merely reacting to internal and external stimuli to acting according to your freely chosen values, including following Jesus and His ways. Simplicity is key to mindfulness.
Simplicity is a tangible practice or discipline that can help you pursue what matters most to you.
It can help you deliberately challenge the spirit of our age that saturates us with “buy something” and “do something” messages. For example, one simple practice is “pause before you buy.” Whenever you experience the urge to buy something, you pause and ask, “What am I looking for with this purchase?” With big purchases, you choose to wait at least 24 hours. Regularly practiced, this will begin to expose what’s motivating you.
You will discover how often you want to purchase something not because you need it, but because you are experiencing something physically, mentally, emotionally, or relationally distressing (even if only mildly so). This simple practice can then be combined with your ability developed through mindfulness to “check-in” with your true needs and values. If you’d like to learn more about practicing simplicity, the writing of Richard Foster is a good place to start.
Advertisers and social media companies are adept at manipulating you by creating needs and crises and then offering products to fulfill those needs and manage those crises. Mindfulness and simplicity practices counteract these efforts and empower you to live, as Jesus offered, freely and lightly.
Consider Online Therapy in Oregon for Christian Counseling
Our Clackamas and Hillsboro-based counselors are excited to work with you, wherever you are in Oregon. You can find simplicity in your life. We can help you get back on track in a way that aligns with your faith and values. When you are ready to start online Christian counseling in Oregon, follow these simple steps:
- Learn about our therapy team in Hillsboro and our caring counselors in Clackamas
- Schedule an appointment with your preferred therapist, or contact us with questions
- Feel more connected to the important people in your life
Other Mental Health Services at Life Discovery Counseling in Oregon
If you are in Clackamas, Happy Valley, Damascus, or Hillsboro, we can help you in person at one of our comfortable therapy clinics. Christian counseling is the cornerstone of our approach to therapy. Not only do we see adults, but children in counseling too. We also work with depression treatment, anxiety therapy, trauma therapy and PTSD treatment, relationship issues, marriage problems, and postpartum counseling. No matter where you are in the state, we can provide the support you need with online therapy in Oregon. Once you’re ready to start, we’re ready to meet you. Let’s connect!