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A Pastor with a Counselor

About 5 years ago I was sitting at a Sonic Drive In with my 5 year old son in the back seat. We were there to get some dinner for the family and head back home to eat. Before I pushed the button to order, I asked him what he wanted. He had no idea. Now a good dad would have been patient and talked him through the menu. But that day I was not a good dad. I grew ridiculously frustrated as I continued to ask him what he wanted. Finally, I shouted, “ASHER, WHAT DO YOU WANT!?!” My outburst caused my son to burst into tears, the poor guy was just trying to decide between a burger or corn dog and I yelled at him! Immediately, I knew I had just crossed a line. I apologized and helped him decide what to eat, but the entire way home I was so confused. Why did I do that? This isn’t the kind of dad I am. At least I didn’t think so. It sure isn’t the kind of dad I want to be. I knew something was off.

Though I had just started my dream job pastoring the church I had worked at for 11 years, life was tough at home. Through various health issues, a miscarriage and the stress of a new job something was changing inside of me and I didn’t like the results. Sin was starting to surface, my actions at home began to change and I was in a constant state of stress. So, the next morning I did something I never thought I would do – I searched for a professional Christian Counselor to help me. I knew I was in over my head and something had to be done. Otherwise, I was going to wreck my family or my church in the first year of pastoring.

After a quick Google search, I decided to email an area church that has a thriving counseling program. I looked at their staff page, randomly picked a person, and sent him a quick email describing my situation. I felt stupid and ashamed. I was a pastor. I shouldn’t need to be doing this. I was supposed to be the guy people went to. But something inside of me pushed through the awkwardness and eventually I found myself sitting in a counseling office across from what would become one of the most important people in my life - Ron.

Psalm 141:5 says, “Let a righteous man strike me- it is kindness; let him rebuke me- it is oil on my head. I will not refuse it.

Well over the next weeks and months Ron would do just that. His direct approach (He once gave me a book title, “The Entitlement Cure”) and my promise to be 100% honest with him no matter the question resulted in a meaningful relationship that has now lasted 5 years. Ron has helped me learn to process grief, helped me be a better husband and father and guided me through the highs and lows of pastoring. He has pointed out when I am wrong and has given me a hug when I was hurting. He has been my counselor, my mentor and my friend. A total game-changer in my life.

I am now a firm believer that every Christian needs a Christian Counselor in their life. At the minimum we need someone further along in the faith that can challenge us, question us and encourage us to keep growing in our relationship with Jesus.

Maybe that idea seems weird to you. But my gut tells me that if you are reading this, you know deep down inside that it would be a benefit to your life.

Proverbs 13:10 says, “Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.”

Deep down inside, we all know that’s true.

So may you find someone to invest in you. May you ask your pastor about Christian counselors in the area, may you do a quick google search and make a call, or may you ask the older man or woman at your church to go grab a coffee with you.

You need someone investing into you. Someone challenging you. Someone sharpening you and someone encouraging you.

Even if you are a pastor.

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