by Shane Fookes, MA MDiv, Registered Counseling Associate
People and their stories fascinate me. It’s one of the primary reasons I’m a counselor.
I’m particularly drawn to people who are seeking God while navigating loss – whether loss of a relationship, a job, a dream; people going through death, divorce, an empty nest, or retirement. In whatever form it takes, loss is difficult and painful; it’s also a normal part of life. All things come to an end. We just don’t know when or how or why, which often adds to the pain and confusion.
Golfer Tiger Woods recently reflected on the potential end of his career after a string of injuries and nearly dying in a car wreck. If you know anything about his story, you know he was king of the golf world for many years, seemingly other-worldly in his talent…at least until his body started to fail him. First one surgery, then another. For several years he resisted loss through sheer willpower, incredible stamina, and the vast resources he could throw at doctors, trainers, nutritionists, coaches, and others. And he was successful at staving off physical decline…for a while. More recently though, a very different Tiger Woods has emerged, one who’s coming to terms with loss and seemingly maturing through the losses.
We can experience loss even when life is successful.
Another well-known sports star, Tom Brady, the reigning Super Bowl quarterback, was once interviewed on the news program 60 minutes. And at one point in the interview, a lament seemed to bubble up out of nowhere and he blurted out: “Why do I have [all these] Super Bowl rings, and still think there’s something greater out there for me? … I reached my goal, my dream, my life….[and] I think: ‘God, there’s gotta be more than this….’”
The experience of loss is not limited to athletes, nor is it unique to our place and time. I enjoy reading military history and have long been fascinated with Alexander the Great. Alexander was arguably the greatest military commander in all human history. He conquered all the known world and then became utterly despondent. Why? He had no more worlds to conquer. He died shortly thereafter.
Now, you may be thinking, “Wow, Merry Christmas to you too, Shane! So glad I clicked on your post!” Well like I said, I hear many stories of loss. And here’s what I know to be true: loss is even more poignant and painful during the holiday season. Though loss is never easy to navigate, it’s all the more difficult during this season of the year when everyone else seems all cheery and merry.
I specifically invite you to consider the setting and characters in the Christmas story.
When Jesus arrived on the scene that first Christmas, he was born into a time of tremendous loss on a national scale. He was born into a people living under the fist of an oppressive foreign power and experiencing severe economic, political, religious, and cultural distress. This was a people who carried in their cultural DNA a promise from God that they would be great because they were His chosen people. Yet their reality didn’t match the promise. They were collectively wondering, “Where is this God? Does he care that we’re suffering? Sure doesn’t seem like it. After all, we haven’t heard a thing from him for 400 years.”
The story of Jesus that began on that first Christmas is called “the gospel,” which means good news. Jesus was born into collective cultural loss and he was called Immanuel, which meant, “God with us.” So, one aspect of the gospel is that in Jesus, God draws near to you when you experience loss. He is with you in your weaknesses. He is with you in your struggles. He is with you in your pain.
Consider Online Christian Therapy in Oregon
Our Clackamas and Beaverton-based counselors are excited to work with you, wherever you are in Oregon. Your relationships can thrive again. 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 Beaverton 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 this Christmas
Other Mental Health Services at Life Discovery Counseling in Oregon
If you are in Clackamas, Happy Valley, Damascus, Hillsboro, or Beaverton, 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!
About the Author
Shane Fookes is a graduate of Western Seminary’s Counseling program and a Registerred Counseling Associate. He served as a pastor for 17 years and is still involved in leading churches. He writes about marriage and relationship issues, anxiety, depression, and spiritual development.