Sunday, November 22, 2009

Security or Significance.. you tell me.

I've been entrenched in a great book called Effective Biblical Counseling by Dr. Larry Crabb. In January, both Will and I will go to Moody Bible Institute for a modular graduate level class in Pastoral Counseling. He is taking the class for credit, and I am a tagalong.

There is a ton of reading prior to the class, and I must admit: I love it!! I do not have the gift of compassion or mercy or any of those things. I am not very patient. And yet, God often uses me in counseling situations. Who wudda thunk? So, I asked Will one day, "Do you think I should get some training in counseling?" He thought it was a great idea.

I realize that reading a few books and taking ONE class does not qualify anyone to be a counselor, but it's more training than I have now--which is nothing. And God is always putting me into situations where I wish I had more counseling training. And as far as compassion and mercy go, well... God will have to supply those also.

So, here I am reading.. and reading. I'm not quite ready to put up a sign like Lucy on Peanuts "Psychiatrist 5 cents", but I am learning a lot about how my thinking is not aligning with biblical thinking, and how I have believed some lies, and for some reason, it is just hitting me the right way. Perhaps I just like the counseling jargon, or the way it is written.. or maybe the material is just.. good?

So, what am I learning? If I tell you, please don't neglect to buy the book and hear it from the real professional. I am just processing this information as it pertains to me. (yes, boring little me)

So, according to Crabb, we all have this huge need in our lives for security and significance. And when we feel upset about something, often one of these two areas are threatened. It was a very convenient time for me to be reading this, since I was upset about various things, so I decided to be my own counselor. (cost effective, eh?)

One thing that has been nagging at me for a while.. (And I hate to admit how lame my struggles are, but you guys will understand that I'm just a pathetic little organizing mommy with pathetic little struggles, OK?) is that...

We are going to be having Thanksgiving alone. Yup. that's it. It's just going to be the farkle family at home with NO GUESTS. Now most people would say, "yippee! stress free!" and yet, I was troubled. We've always had guests. Even in Panama, we had tons of people around our table. And then the nagging questions start: Is it that no one in this town likes my cooking? Is it because..??? and the anxiety starts.

Now you tell me: is it my security or significance being threatened here?

Well, it's certainly not my security. I have a home, a family and a turkey. I'm feeling secure alright. I've cooked many turkey dinners (alone)--with no help from outside guests. I already have the stuff.

No, it's definitely my significance. I want to think of myself as a hospitable woman. I take my role as a homemaker seriously. I am threatened by a "lack of company". I feel threatened in some way by this. And so, I sulk, wonder and worry. And I keep wondering: Lord, is there someone we've forgotten?

And while you are either laughing for the outrageousness of my fears or pitying me for having such a small world, I just want you to know that: just writing about this and figuring this out helps me a lot.

The end goal of Biblical counseling is to bring someone to right thinking and maturity in Christ. Obviously, this example proves that too much of my significance is all about seeing myself as a hospitable woman, rather than who I am in Christ. Hospitality is great, but we can't worship it. Nor can we value ourselves so highly or lowly as to think that all God is using us for is this ONE style of ministry. Maybe what we should be doing is fasting and praying that day, rather than eating anything at all.

And these thoughts have been what is making my home sing this week at Mom's the Word.


Mrs. Parunak said...

I TOTALLY understand! I think I would feel exactly the same way if we didn't have any guests at an event we usually have lots of people for.

Your Biblical counseling course sounds interesting. The whole security/significance thing makes a whole lot of sense. But I'm wondering how that's BIBLICAL counseling, and not just plain vanilla counseling. That idea's not in the Bible any place I can think of. What am I missing?

Jena Webber said...

Mrs. P: I am really new to this. My understanding is that Mr. Crabb takes an "integrated approach" to counseling. Some of the things he teaches are from observation of human behaviors (secular techniques). He goes on to say that our security and significance are in Christ and uses Bible verses. I never realized what a hotly debated topic this is until I started researching things. I am in the "information gathering" stage. Perhaps I should keep my mouth/ blog quiet until I learn more!

momstheword said...

This year we are just going to be our immediately family as well, but we've had many years with family and friends (and friends of friends) over for the holidays.

We have often looked around at our church to see if there is anyone who is not going "home" for the holidays and we will invite them over to ours.

Singles, college aged that aren't going home, widows, young families, senior citizens, there are lots of people that often can't go "home" for the holidays, or don't have a home or family to go to.

Our church has a family who has a ministry of opening their home for the holidays, as well. They just make an announcement at church, inviting anyone who would love to celebrate the holidays with their church family (or know of someone who would).

Thank you for linking up today.

The dB family said...

I'm glad you wrote your thoughts down. It's interesting because I struggle a lot with the significance aspect of who I am. I have a hard time remembering that I AM a child of God and that that is very significant!


Kathryn said...

Maybe this can be a year of less stress without guests & you can consider it a gift from the Lord? I know how difficult no guests for the holidays can be.

Having grown up in MT where many of the folks were "transplants" & our family always had other folks with whom to celebrate holidays, it was a shock to move to So Cal & find most of the folks i met here were multi-generational natives with plans (that usually didn't include others). It was hard to have no one to be with for the holidays & i still have some issues over that. But then, much of the time i was single, as well. My way of dealing with it was to work the holidays (i worked hospital) so that others could spend the time with family. How wonderful that you have your immediate family if no one else.

I don't mean to sound preachy. I do know the disappointment of not having guests.

I read Crabb in college (psych undergraduate in a Christian College). Don't remember a lot of his work, tho. You're right, "Biblical" counseling is a much debated thing.

I've frankly been rather negative about it since i had some - person (don't want to use the word i'm thinking) - tell me i was "demon possessed" at age 18 because i'd been suicidal.

This person was about as clueless as they get, & in general that has been my experience with most pastors or priests who try to do counseling.

But i also think that part of the reason some professional counseling is needed is because we have largely lost the art of truly listening & being empathetic with others.

Jena Webber said...

Kathryn, I always appreciate your heartfelt comments! As it is, I think we may have "drummed up" some guests, but I think my struggle is over. Life goes on, and I have plenty of friends.

As far as counseling goes, there are so many people who need help! And people do not want to listen anymore. Even if I can just learn how to be a better listener and more compassionate, it will be worth the time and study.

Jenny P. said...

I'm glad you've "drummed up" a few people for the holiday. It's always more fun to celebrate with people.

I'm planning to take a few classes through Moody this spring, myself. But I'm looking at the online not-for-credit rograms. Have you ever taken any? I'd love to hear your experiences if you have.