Christian Counseling in Columbia, SC
You want God’s Word and His ways to dictate how you address your life whether it is depression, anxiety, grief, career, marriage, or parenting.
There are some big decisions to make and you want to know what God’s will is. You’re afraid you will miss what God wants for you.
An ache of sadness and emptiness hits your heart every time you are reminded of the relationship you use to have with God. You miss feeling close to Him.
You feel ashamed and unworthy to seek God. You keep making promises with God “I’ll never do this again” only to find yourself doing it again.
You struggle to believe that God is good and that He cares for you. All the suffering and pain around and within you make it extremely difficult to believe that God loves you.
You want Jesus to be the center of your life. But in your present situation you’re not sure how that looks like.
What is Christian Counseling?
Christian Counseling addresses the pain of being unwhole and incomplete in our broken world marred by our own sin and the sin of others. Christian counseling addresses our relationship with God, others, ourself, and creation.
We hear “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6)…
Yet we find ourselves worrying about our performance, our image, our circumstances, and how we come across to others. As we swirl around in our anxieties we struggle to orient our heart towards God.
We hear “why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God” (Ps. 42:5)…
Yet we feel depressed about our failures, mistakes, and circumstances that we feel stuck in. It’s hard to have hope that things can get better.
We hear “be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger…Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice” (Eph. 4:26, 31).
Yet we feel resentful. What hurt us has not been fully addressed and we stew in anger.
We hear “all this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18)…
Yet we experience conflict, strife, and disconnection with others. We get stuck in a negative pattern and aren’t sure how to reconcile with someone that hurt us.
Our experience sometimes conflicts with Scripture.
The sin that dwells within us disconnects us from the life God intends and we want…
“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me” (Rom. 7:15-20).
Our relationship with the world, God, others, and ourselves is not the way it’s supposed to be. We live counter to the way we were designed.
Something is missing. We are incomplete. Not whole.
The Bible refers to wholeness, everything that is right and as it should be, as Shalom.
Shalom or peace means that nothing is missing.
Shalom is not merely the absence of conflict, it is restoring wholeness; restoring how things ought to be.
Shalom is taking what is broken and restoring it to wholeness with God, with others, with creation, and with ourselves.
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Col. 1:19-20).
Jesus came to reconcile all things together. To gather all the parts broken and scattered. To restore wholeness.
He is the Prince of Shalom (Isa. 9:6) who in Isaiah 61:1-3:
Bring good news to the poor
Bind up the brokenhearted
Proclaim freedom for the captives
Release from darkness for the prisoners
Comfort all who mourn
Provide for those who grieve in Zion
Bestow a crown of beauty instead of ashes
Give oil of gladness instead of mourning
Create a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid (Jn. 14:27).
Shalom happens in the process of securely connecting with God, others, creation, and ourselves.
We are Created for Connection
In the beginning, God created the universe with the planets, stars, every living organism, and the first human, He declared it all as good.
One thing however was not good. Sin had not entered the world and the world was not yet cursed, but God said something was not right.
“Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him’” (Gen. 2:18).
Why would God say that it is not good for man to be alone when everything was perfect?
Man had all his basic needs met:
A purpose in managing and flourishing God’s creation.
Security in living in the safest most abundant place in the universe, the garden of Eden.
Full access to a loving perfect Father as he was not yet separated from God because of sin.
Yet God said it was not good for man to be alone.
God created humans to be in secure loving relationships with one another.
The mystery of the trinitarian God, is three person in one: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. God always existed in community and relationship in Himself. The triune God created humans to be connected with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and each other.
However, after God put humans in relationship with one another they were deceived by Satan.
God’s character was called into question. The doubted God’s goodness, love, and care for them.
So they chose their own way because they thought God was holding out on them.
The rebellion gave birth to shame and guilt, and as a result, they were disconnected from each other and from God. Adam and Eve’s view of self and other changed. They felt naked, exposed, and ashamed. So they hid from each other behind loincloths and hid from God among the trees in the garden.
The fruits of our mistrust of God is still here today. Pain and shame causes us to hide and disconnect from God, each other, and self. We are scared to be vulnerable. And without vulnerability there is no intimacy and connection.
The good news, or Gospel, in the Bible is that Christ died on the cross for our sin in our place, and resurrected. He took the consequences and shame of our sin so that we can have Shalom with God, each other, ourselves, and creation. Instead of fearing rejection and abandonment, we can be comforted by God’s acceptance and love that is secure, consistent, and unending. We can have a loving and satisfying relationship with God.
Connection with God
The central theme of Scripture is that through Jesus, God is pursuing closeness with us.
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15-16a)
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing” (Luke 13:34)
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18).
“That is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:19).
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zeph. 3:17).
God’s heart is for us to enjoy an intimate loving connection with Him.
“Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God. And people who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It’s a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel.”
― John Piper
Connection with Others
God not only wants us to be reconnected to Himself, He also wants us to be reconnected with others and to help others reconnect with Him.
“God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18-19).
God doesn’t even want us to worship Him until we seek reconciliation with someone we have conflict with.
“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matt. 5:23).
In 1 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul tells Christians that we are different parts of a body. Like an arm cannot function alone but needs the rest of the body so we need each other. Christians cannot survive alone. We need each other to thrive.
“Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need” (Acts 4:32-35).
The early disciples and followers of Jesus lived interdependently. They took care of each other just like they were family.
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Eph. 2:13-18).
There are 100 “one and other” verses in the New Testament and that reveals God’s emphasis on us to live connected to one another in love and unity.
If Jesus can break the dividing wall of hostility the Jews and Gentiles had then He can break down any wall that separates us today whether you are liberal or conservative, white or black, Clemson fans or Carolina fans. Jesus unifies us.
Through Jesus we can accept, welcome, and embrace someone different than us.
People who have no earthly reason to be together become family with one another through being adopted by God the Father. Jesus Himself is our peace and mediator.
God’s love is agape, unconditional. He loves us in our good and our bad, our beautiful and our ugly, expecting nothing in return.
Experiencing loving acceptance and affection from another person that knows our flaws helps us believe God’s acceptance and affection towards us.
“To be known and not loved is our greatest fear.
But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God”
― Tim Keller
Connection with Self
Sometimes it’s difficult to be honest with ourselves.
How do you view yourself and others?
If you made space to be quiet and still what would come to mind?
I’m a failure.
I’m an imposter.
I’m not enough.
I’m too much.
I can’t depend and count on anyone.
Nobody’s there for me.
I’m all on my own.
I’m an outsider
I don’t belong
If they really knew me they wouldn’t accept me.
These messages can lurk in the background of our lives. Left unchecked they can lead to feelings of shame, loneliness, and despair.
What do we do with these painful thoughts?
We cope with our pain by disconnecting.
Distract. Ignore. Numb.
How do we do that?
Preoccupy our mind with information.
Work a lot.
Fill our schedule with activities.
Escape into another world through entertainment.
Create another reality with social media.
Use substances that numb or alter the mind.
Distract ourselves with social interactions.
Keep busy so there is no space for silence and reflection.
These things can help us feel good for awhile but eventually those messages creep back into our lives and we are left feeling anxious and depressed.
Distracting, ignoring, and numbing ourselves is like treating a broken back with only painkillers. The pain is gone temporarily but the problem is never fully healed and resolved.
We can’t address the parts of ourselves that we disconnect with.
What we hide from ourselves we hide from God.
And the parts of ourselves that we hide from God are also hidden from His loving healing presence.
The book of Psalms in Scripture our filled with the Psalmists expressing what they were thinking and feeling even when it wasn’t always “theologically correct”.
Something shifts in the Psalmist as he embraces his thoughts and feelings honestly and shares it with God. He gains perspective, comfort, and hope.
We can’t bring to God the parts of ourselves that we are disconnected from. God forgives, heals, and touches the parts of ourselves that we acknowledge and embrace.
When we bring all the parts of ourselves to God, we experience the loving presence of God in a deep and profound way. The more we experience the love of God in the areas we want to disconnect from, the more safe we feel in reconnecting with the areas of our lives we want to hide from.
“Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes and gives birth to the other.”
― John Calvin
The more we know and connect with ourselves, the more we know and connect with God.
The more we know and connect with God, the more we know and connect with ourselves.
Jesus is the whole human we were made to be, but have failed to be.
Through embracing His wholeness and perfection we can accept our brokenness and imperfection.
Reconnecting with God, Others, and Self through Christian Counseling
Christian counseling helps you experience shalom, peace, through building, deepening, and strengthening your relationship with God, others, creation, and self.
As a Christian counselor, I offer a gentle, supportive, and safe presence for you to explore your connection with God, others, and yourself.
Want to learn more about what this journey looks like? I would love to be your guide.
Issues Addressed Within Christian Counseling
Christian Individual Counseling
Christian Pre-Marital Counseling
Christian Martial Counseling
Christian Family Counseling
Christian Grief and Loss Counseling