In the early 2000s, I had my first job at my home church as a youth intern. It was a transitional season in my life. The youth pastor was leaving and the worship leader would be the interim. My friends were all going off to college while I attended a community college. I struggled to be a youth intern in this really emotional season of my life. The job didn't last long. A job I was really excited to get. I hastily quit the youth intern position.
One of the youth leaders a psychologist reached out to me following this and was concerned about my quitting abruptly and offered me counseling for free. I had never been in a counselors office up until that point in my life. So I did it.
It was a great gift to me then and now. Because it disarmed all the baggage that surrounds counseling.
I found myself able to talk about the transitions happening in my life, my struggles, and it gave me a path that was hopeful and not hopeless.
I journeyed with this counselor for the next few years of my life. And some of those years I didn’t feel like being a pastor anymore. More often I wanted to quit and do something else. But he was the one person that always kept me on the path.
One of the main things that counseling has taught me that I learned slowly is not waiting too long till it is too late. This is something that I think we all do…
I quit a lot of jobs in my early 20s. A lot. When I would get stressed and anxious about a job. I quit. I gave up.
What he taught me is the idea of processing before you act and not making rash decisions without talking through it with someone. I learned this the hard way.
Last year before I knew anything about Storied Church… or knew that it would become a reality. I found a counselor. Somebody that I could talk to about my family, community, church life. Someone that would help me process and identify areas of my life that needed addressing.
The greatest part of this work for me has been believing in myself. Because really I came into his office beat up by church life. I didn’t realize how wounded I was and all the baggage I was carrying. I didn’t believe I had the capacity to do this work. I thought I was an imposter. I was pretending to be someone I wasn't.
Having a counselor to journey alongside me has been a great gift to me. And I really can’t imagine a life without someone to help guide my life in a positive direction. It’s not a one time shot… but someone that walks with you regularly.
I don’t shy back from telling people I have a counselor. Most people’s reaction is “why do you need a counselor? What’s wrong?”. The truth is that nothing has to be “wrong” or feel “wrong” to be in counseling. It can also be about being healthier mentally and working on the blindspots in own lives that we don’t realize exist.
If there is an inkling of an idea that this would be good for you. Then do it. Not later but now. We as a church have great resources that could guide you to someone in our community.