"Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God." (Psalm 34:5 ESV)
The wrestle with our soul is real, it’s in the Bible. Our capacity to know the truth and still find our soul restlessly unaffected by it is tragically common to the human condition. Knowing the right answer so often fails to bridge the gap between our head and heart. The truth is good and right, but frequently impotent in persuading our soul to rest.
If we believe that a healthy Christian life should be marked by a beautiful congruence of our head and heart, our counseling will be of a certain sort. The absence of such a congruence should be treated as sin and we'd spend our time trying to locate and uproot that sin. We would know we had been successful in our endeavors once the congruence settles in. This, however, is not how the Bible describes our lives on this side of glory.
God seems to have no qualms detailing the messy nature of our existence throughout His Word. The Christian life is described as a war, wrestling, farming, and running a race. In each case, we find challenge, resistance, endurance, and perseverance to be key components for growth as well as evidence that we are headed in the right direction. The Christian life is one of persistent friction and resistance—and often that friction and resistance are located within us.
It is worth our time to explore the nature of the turmoil within while keeping in mind the turmoil does not define us. Regardless of what is discovered in our introspection, our path forward will remain the same. We hope in God, and we follow His lead. We live by faith, not by feeling. This is not to say our feelings are unimportant. God gave us those feelings and they serve a purpose. Yet, they are not designed to control us or determine our next steps.
So, may the turmoil within us lead us to hope in God. May it teach us to praise Him and trust that His salvation is secure. May it remind us there is only One who is the true and perfect physician for our ailments. And, as we practice these truths, may we also help our clients do the same.