7.21.2011

The Emotionally Walking Wounded for Jesus


I am among the millions in this country who have at one point in their life sought professional counseling. Why, when, and for how long is of little relevance to this post. But I open my comments this morning with that fact because it occurs to me that the common assumption among many groups with whom I affiliate (Asians, Christians, young urban professionals) is that seeing a therapist or psychiatrist is rare, and that those who do are somehow damaged goods.

But I do not consider my experience to be uncommon, nor do I consider myself damaged goods. And, I find the prevailing sentiment and shadowiness to be unhelpful for those who are hurting, and inconsistent with what I believe to be true.

You don't have to know your Bibles well to know that such greats as David, Jeremiah, and Paul suffered from great emotional anguish, and yet were not prevented from being of great use for God and others. A foundational principle in the Christian narrative is that God's work is done in spite of and even through our human weaknesses, so that God alone is glorified, instead of the exploits of the best, brightest, and most put together among us.

The recent death of Betty Ford put back into the national spotlight the contributions she made to society, particularly in the form of publicly dealing with addiction. One can argue that many who check into the Betty Ford Clinic are not making a public confession of weakness but are rather checking off the latest on the to-do list for celebrities "keeping it real." But I am sure that the Clinic has been a salve for many and for their loved ones.

And, while seeing a therapist is mocked in such mass media as "Sex and the City" for being the cool urbane thing to do, it is still, in the real world, often seen as something to be ashamed of, something to avoid, or something that disqualifies us from being worthy of doing meaningful work. That's a shame, for there is great work out there to do, and God seeks all of His people, even and especially those of us who are the emotionally walking wounded.

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