The title of this post is from an old hymn on the Christian life, Blessed Assurance, by Fanny Crosby (1820-1913).
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God, Born of his spirit, washed in his blood.
This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long.
Perfect submission, perfect delight, Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above, Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
This is my story,……
Perfect submission, all is at rest; I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above, Filled with his goodness, lost in his love.
This is my story,……
The process of making His story our story, and vice versa, of meshing our lives’ stories with Christ’s, is a lifelong one. It seems that there are critical points along the way, points where corrective adjustments are made in the trajectory of our journey designed to bring us more into alignment with Christ. Those corrections can be very jarring.
I awoke early this a.m. thinking about counseling, specifically, my relationship with my own counselor of 10 years who recently retired (though she has promised to continue to be available to me for as long as I need her to be!) It seems to me that the thing she has done most wonderfully for me is help me learn to tell my story. As I study counseling it seems to me that that is at the very heart of Christian counseling- helping a person learn to tell his or her story and to mesh it with the Greatest Story Ever Told. We’re all volumes in the series that begins with Christ.
Recently I had purchased a somewhat weighty academic book entitled “The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories”. At the time I ordered it I thought, “Why am I ordering this? I don’t have time for pleasure reading right now.” Still, it appealed to me and seemed to be “one of those books” that I just couldn’t resist, although I didn’t know when- or if- I’d ever get around to it. Now, in the light of this insight regarding how my counseling experience over the last 10 years has come to be seen as the crafting of my story, I see that the book may be useful to me as I seek to become masterful in helping others craft their own stories!
As important as telling our own story, however, is, I think, the ability to somehow make our story make sense in the light of God’s will for our lives. We have to be able to incorporate our own personal story into the larger story of the world and how God is at work in it. That becomes the heart of the task for a Christian counselor- helping one craft a personal story (and therefore, worldview) that is congruent with Biblical principals. Once done, the individual has a solid personal story to tell (which reminds me of another hymn….. “We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations….) and can truly be a light in the world for others.
Someone important in my life is beginning the process of seeking a counselor. I pray that the Lord will guide her in that to someone like my own dear counselor of ten years who would tell her and others that the real counseling is done by the Holy Spirit. The counselor just gets to be a part of the process.
For the past year I’ve had this prayer taped to my computer:
“Lord, You are a WONDERFUL COUNSELOR.. May I not neglect seeking Your counsel for the daily activities and decisions of my life. Today I ask for Your wisdom. I ask for Your understanding. I ask for Your counsel as I face the challenges of this day. Amen” (Isaiah 9:6)