Somewhere deep down in the recesses of our subconsciousness is a false narrative of God. Although we don’t intentionally blame him for things that have gone wrong, we often do exactly that. Because we know God to be all-powerful and all-knowing, we place a false expectation on Him to protect us from suffering. He’s only allowed to give out blessings.
Why am I suffering?
If God, allowed this tragedy to happen, then he can’t be trusted.
I know God is good in my mind, but in my heart, I’m not so sure.
God must see me as a disappointment.
He’s distant, and not very interactive.
I’m not sure where my responsibility ends, and God’s begins.
God will just laugh at me if I mess up.
When suffering comes along, our hearts turn toward him in confusion. How is it that we can believe in our minds that God is good, but then act as if he’s not? Many things play into our belief systems, our upbringing being one of them. The relationship with our parents and other authority figures often deeply affects how we relate to God.
False theology also distorts our image of God. Society’s standards and expectations have a way of forcing God into a certain mold. If he doesn’t fit within their truth, then he is the one to be blamed for the misfortunes.
If you’re struggling with fear, anxiety, low self-esteem, etc., there’s a good chance that you’re struggling with your belief about God and who he is. When working with clients, I give them a worksheet to help them dig deep about what they truly believe.
Before they write anything, I leave them with this challenge. “Don’t write what you know and what you’ve been taught about God. Be honest with yourself. Write what you truly believe.” Many are surprised to discover that they don’t trust him.
This belief system extends into every area of their lives. From problems at work to marriage struggles, the underlying root has been their distorted view of God and who they are created to be. As a result, many are left living with anxiety and fear.
This is why spiritual coaching is highly advisable. I can’t speak for other coaches, but I can tell you what you can expect from me. I like to think of coaching as standing at a river’s edge. I want to get to the other side, but there’s no bridge or steppingstones for me to cross over. As a coach, I create the stones and lay them out so that you can safely cross to the other side. Here are some stones that we will work on together.
Stone 1: Identity
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. – Isaiah 43:1, ESV
Most of us have taken personality tests, but the journey that we embark on is very different. Through diving into the meaning of your name, discovering your values, and creating a purpose statement, clients will come to understand that God has uniquely called them by name and does indeed have a specific calling in their life.
Clients have come to me believing that the very gift God had instilled in them was something that needed to be snuffed out. Their passions were seen as negative. Gaining a new insight into who they are and who they’re meant to be, has given them a new perspective on life. I describe this stone as God’s DNA or His personal imprint on you.
Stone 2: Blessings and Curses
This is a unique dive into the past. We examine family culture, upbringing, and trauma. Curses such as verbal, physical, psychological, and sexual abuse may run prevalent from generation to generation. If a child does not receive the full five elements of the blessing (another story another time), then it leaves a void that they will try to fill for the rest of their lives.
Esau said to his father, “Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept. – Genesis 27:38, ESV
“…keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” – Exodus 34:7, ESV
Putting a name to what they’ve missed and learning how to overcome it in a healthy way, creates a newfound sense of confidence and peace. It allows them to put a stop to the generational curse and begin a new cycle of generational blessing.
Stone 3: Belief Systems
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! – Psalms 139:23-24
With a skewed version of self and the void created by the lack of blessing, false belief systems will follow. Only God’s truth can overcome the distortions. Taking a deeper dive to learn when the belief system began and how it started helps a client begin to see the truth.
By the end of the process, clients will learn how to surrender, understand suffering, who is issuing the curses, and come to an intimate relationship with God. They will understand him as a good parent who wants the best for them.
Stone 4: Relationships/Communication
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. – Proverbs 18:21, ESV
Relationship problems occur when the above three stones are missing or are out of place. Empowered by truth, clients can now understand how to effectively communicate their needs, engage in active listening, and be independent rather than codependent.
Stone 5: Goals/Vision Statements
Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law. – Proverbs 29:18, ESV
When you know who you are and your purpose, it’s easier to dream of the future. The client will put their everyday lives under a microscope and decide what their priorities are, their goals, and how to achieve them. From answering questions such as What do you see? What do you hear? A future story is created as if it were in the present. Clients will learn to incorporate their God-given identity and purpose into their dreams.
Other stones such as boundary setting, spiritual warfare, and biblical leadership are all added as needed. Each stone is tailored to the individual, and every stone is laid carefully down in different orders. When a client reaches the other side of their river, they should have a firm grasp on their life story, their God-given identity, and purpose, a closer more intimate relationship with the Trinity, and a vision for their future with a plan to move forward.
Spiritual coaching is one of the best gifts that you can give to yourself or someone you love. It does take commitment and courage. Coaching is not for the faint of heart. Fair warning, you will go into deep waters and will have to fight the urge to quit, but if you remain faithful, you will find the freedom that you’re looking for and a whole new insight into the life you’re living in. Open yourself to the process, and you will experience God in a whole new beautiful way!
Are you ready to find freedom from the despair and fear you’re living in? Are you wanting to navigate relationships better? Or are you looking for a change in life and aren’t sure the direction you should go, then schedule an appointment with me. Let’s cross the river together.
“Agitated”, Courtesy of Olesya Yemets, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Water and Rocks”, Courtesy of Ralph (Ravi) Kayden, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Open Bible”, Courtesy of Aaron Burden, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “The Rapids”, Courtesy of Christian Lunde, Unsplash.com, CC0 License