Wise Counsel

For many years I had people come to my office for counseling. I was never much a counselor of note. I had no specific training or expertise. There was nothing special about my technique.

The only qualification I had was a couple of theology degrees and years of experience loving people at their worst and enjoying them at their best. That and having to learn how to listen, something I struggle with even now.

Please know there is a lot of distance between worst and best behaviors and problems. Not to mention the varied and sometimes crazy and embarrassing topics and subjects you might be asked to shed some light on.

I wasn’t always the most sympathetic listener. More than once I wanted to look at whomever was gracing me with their presence and say something along the lines of “You are wasting my time and yours with this? You need to get a life. At least let me give you a swift kick in the backside for a reality check.”

  • Believe me. I didn’t want to know about your ED meds. I didn’t want to know about how you finally came to the decision to talk to your doctor. I didn’t want to know how they helped you. (Not kidding about this, I promise)
  • Believe me. I could not fix her. If I could have, I’d probably have started with you. But I could not fix you. At least I couldn’t do it and avoid jail at the same time.

Maybe you are laughing; maybe you are not. But, surrounded by the four walls of my office, I have heard some weird and wacky stuff.

Which leads me to believe all of us have a certain capacity for the weird and wacky. But then I digress.

I find myself these days on the other side of the desk wrestling with emotions and frustration I’d rather not. And no, I haven’t embarrassed myself with something weird or wacky.

Yet.

Knock on wood…

Earlier this week a counselor told me I needed to be easier on myself, I needed to have more patience with where I’ve been and where I am going. I get that. I have always been harder on myself than anybody else would be.

At the same time, I think that would be much easier to do if it wasn’t so open-ended. If I knew I just had to be patient for another month or two, that I could do.

So.

How do you let go and trust?  How do you just live in the moment?

Those are things I want to do, but I am not wired to do them easily.

Jesus teaches us not to worry, but that is easier said than done.

I guess I am like the guy who once told Jesus, “I believe. Help me with my unbelief.”

Except my words would be, “I trust you God. Help me where my trust has faded.”

Les Ferguson, Jr.

8 thoughts on “Wise Counsel

  1. Les, I enjoy reading ALL your posts and greatly benefit from them. Have to say, your posts of late remind me of the Les I used to know. And, that’s a GOOD thing. 🙂 Whether it’s apparent to you or not, healing has begun… 🙂

  2. You are not alone in this. Actually, you vocalize our feelings better than any of us.

    So hard letting go of the past, when it keeps getting slapped up into our faces by the Enemy.

  3. Have you tried mindfulness meditation? I highly recommend checking out the book, Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn

    Kabat-Zinn’s book outlines the Buddhist technique of “mindfulness”: a method of living fully in the moment without judgment. Cultivating a non-judging attitude toward what comes up in the mind may help you not be so hard on yourself.

    Amazon.com Review
    In his follow-up to Full Catastrophe Living–a book in which he presented basic meditation techniques as a way of reducing stress and healing from illness–here Jon Kabat-Zinn goes much more deeply into the practice of meditation for its own sake. To Kabat-Zinn, meditation is important because it brings about a state of “mindfulness,” a condition of “being” rather than “doing” during which you pay attention to the moment rather than the past, the future, or the multitudinous distractions of modern life. In brief, rather poetic chapters, he describes different meditative practices and what they can do for the practitioner. The idea that meditation is “spiritual” is often confusing to people, Kabat-Zinn writes; he prefers to think of it as what you might call a workout for your consciousness. This book makes learning meditation remarkably easy (although practicing it is not). But it also makes it seem infinitely appealing. –Ben Kallen –This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

  4. Learning to be content right where we are is a difficult process Les. And reading that Paul was content in jail is not all that helpful. We each have to learn contentment at our own pace and in our own circumstances. That said, I feel that I am more content with our health limitations (i.e. Ann’s wheelchair) than I was a few years ago. And, I hate to admit this, maybe contentment is one of the truest measures of how much we trust God.

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