I’ve just finished my Biblical Counseling 801 course. It’s a semester of Master’s level content crammed into one week and can be really exhausting. I vividly remember at some point early in the course thinking about how squishy the whole thing seemed – people talking about feelings and such. It was a little phony to me with an artificial “community” that very few people seemed ready to admit in their quest to say they were practicing “counseling in community.”
I had been trying to not just go through the motions on the course – in fact this is how I asked people to pray for me. As a “resume builder”, the easiest thing in the world for me to do with this counseling program is to do just enough to get a piece of paper on the wall when I’m done and not really see how God wants to work on me for my good or someone else’s. Sometime on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning I realized something, and I attribute it to the prayers of God’s people on my behalf.
Sometimes feeling “squishy” is just compassion.
I’ve never been a super compassionate person and that’s not to say I’m mean or coldhearted. I’m just blind and inept at it more than I’d like to be. But it hit me that the word “compassion” is really “co-passion” or to be passionate about what someone else is. It’s not about me in the first place, so my reaction to the squishy-ness is actually irrelevant. In fact, not fighting against my sort of “emotional distancing” is one reason I’ve not been as compassionate as I should have been in the past. I’ve been convincing myself that distance made me more objective, which might be good in some cases but certainly not in all of them. I need to be much more agile in how I relate to people’s griefs and struggles which often require a soul connection more than a theologically correct answer and wisdom infused game plan.
Pray for me to grow in this area now that I see the need.