Counseling for Spiritual Development: Faith in the Storm
We can all recall times in our life when our faith was tested and we fell to our knees and asked, “Why is this happening to me?”
The reality is, we are offered two choices when something goes awry, 1) let our frustration turn to anger and steal our joy, or 2) get on our knees and ask God to use this situation for good.
- Maybe your bills are behind, and you feel completely defeated.
- Maybe your best friend just told you she is moving 2,000 miles away.
- Maybe you felt so certain of your career calling and now that calling feels so foreign.
- Maybe your parents are now in an assisted living facility or have asked to move in with you to help with long-term care.
- Maybe your spouse is deployed or is a first responder struggling with PTSD.
- Maybe you have a child with special needs and feel so tired and overwhelmed, you do not know where to turn.
- Maybe you have been battling thoughts of depression but are so overwhelmed and filled with guilt, you do not know how to ask for help.
- Maybe you are the parent of a newborn trying to figure out how to function with no sleep, emotions are overwhelming and foreign, and have an unfinished to-do list that could reach the moon.
- Maybe you are feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders and feel like you are succumbing to the darkness and do not know how to let the light back in.
Take a long, deep breath. Put your hand over your heart and remember that God created you. He created you, loves you, and wants the very best for you.
As you walk through whatever obstacles are on your current journey, take to heart these reminders of God’s plans for you:
God’s Word says He will not abandon you.
Isaiah 41:10 reminds us, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
- You might feel alone in the waiting room as you await test results.
- You might feel alone as you hear the words, “You experienced a miscarriage.”
- You might feel alone if your spouse is struggling with PTSD.
- You might feel alone as you long for that pregnancy test to finally read “positive.”
- You might feel alone as you walk the entryway to knock on the door to have a long overdue conversation with someone you have been distant from/angry with.
- You might feel alone in the shower as the tears stream down your face after a terrible bout of depression.
- You might feel alone as you sit with a pile of overdue bills, wondering how in the world things are going to be okay.
Rest assured, dear one – you are not alone.
- God is in the waiting room, ready to hold your hand.
- God is present for the awkward and uncomfortable conversations, ready to set the tone and soften hearts.
- God is with you while your spouse is deployed, ready to give you a peace that comes only from Him.
- God is with you as you battle anxiety, ready to comfort you and strengthen your faith and dependence on Him.
- God is with you during the middle-of-the-night rocking and feeding sessions with a newborn, ready to give you the strength to endure another sleepless night.
- God is ready to comfort you during those moments of defeat.
- God is ever-present through every season and feeling that we endure.
Affirmations for faith
Write these down and memorize them as a reminder that God is right there with you through this tiring season:
- I can take things one step at a time. (Matthew 6:34)
- I know God’s love and spirit will guide me through this uncomfortable season. (John 16:13)
- I am thankful for the gift of today. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
- I know that God loves and cherishes me. (Isaiah 54:10)
- I believe in God’s endless possibilities for me. (Luke 1:37)
- I am open and willing to receive all the ways God wants to bless and teach me. (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
We must arm ourselves with God’s Word to build faith.
If there is one thing that we can be certain of, it is that Satan wants us to feel defeated. He wants us to wallow in the guilt and frustrations that come our way and make us feel inferior. He wants us to feel depleted, alone, and insignificant.
1 Peter 5:8 reminds us, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
- You are not alone.
- You are not too broken.
- You are not damaged goods.
- You are not too weak.
- You are worthy of love.
- You are special, unique, and beautiful!
When Satan tries to whisper lies, you need to be dressed in your “spiritual armor.” Spending time in God’s Word, memorizing Scripture, having community with other believers, and spending time talking to God are all powerful weapons to stand up and ward off the lies Satan tries to tell you.
If this feels overwhelming, take baby steps.
Read the Bible.
Download a Bible app and start by looking at the verse of the day. There are unique plans you can search by topic (anxiety, depression, hope, healing, etc.). This is a wonderful and guided way to get in the Word without feeling too overwhelmed with where to start.
Find an accountability partner.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” It is essential to have other believers to encourage us, pray for/with us, and walk alongside us in life. The world is dark, and we need to find rays of sunshine wherever we can. Serve with your accountability partner. Have in-depth and authentic conversations where emotional barriers are torn down. Attend a Bible study together.
Try the “one step” mindset.
When life and circumstances feel overwhelming, take the one step approach. Take things one day at a time. Approach the person you feel distant from with one conversation. Start tackling your debt one bill at a time. Start trying to reconnect with your spouse one intentional moment at a time. Chase your God-given passions by simply taking the first step – sign up for the class, sign up to serve, or start writing a book by just sitting down for one hour at a time.
Address the things you have been ignoring.
I think we all have a desire to simply “leave things alone” and from there, the problems will disappear. While God does have perfect timing for our life and circumstances, we must trust Him with the process by surrendering our worries to Him. We must choose healing for our past wounds.
The baggage from your past can range from unhealthy habits and coping mechanisms, to negative self-talk, to enduring the pain and shame from trauma. You do not have to walk this road alone. Do not let Satan tell you that the things that have happened to you are keeping you from following God’s beautiful purpose for your life.
Moving forward in faith.
You can begin this new journey of moving forward instead of hiding your past.
Start journaling. Write down the things you are thankful for, looking forward to, and the things that have been holding you down and trying to steal your joy. You might find that writing it down really helps you process your thoughts and reset your focus.
Remember that you are not alone. God is with you, and He puts people in your path to help you move forward in your faith and healing journey. Today is the perfect time to schedule a counseling session with a counselor at our office who wants to help encourage and equip you to move forward with a faith that can withstand the storms of life.
Find the glimmers of hope. No matter what storm you are facing right now, look for the glimmers of hope – the meal that someone drops off, the kindness of a random stranger, the timeliness of a message at church, the anonymous gift card that is left in your mailbox. Find the glimmers and try to send some glimmers to those around you.
“Woman with Lamp”, Courtesy of Guilherme Stecanella, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “My Cup Runneth Over”, Courtesy of Jon Tyson, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Reading the Bible”, Courtesy of Timothy Eberly, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Woman With Bible”, Courtesy of Joel Muniz, Unsplash.com, CC0 License