Counseling and Courage: How Showing Up is Saving Me

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Every single week, I get to practice being brave.

I don’t usually enjoy it. I often dread it. It makes me nervous every time-- hands trembling, heart racing, mind whirling, the whole bit. There’s a standing appointment on my calendar, week after week, and while it might be at a slightly different hour each time, I know that once a week, for about 50 minutes, I’ll be sitting on that blue couch across from a man with a clipboard and a kind smile.

Every single week, I show up to counseling. And I practice being brave. I practice courage.

This whole showing up thing? It’s harder than I thought it would be. And scarier, too. It seems easy to just arrive at a place and be there. But when you’re arriving at a place where the goal is vulnerability and total honesty, showing up gets pretty scary. It’s intimidating. I don’t know what questions he will ask me. I don’t know what I’ll uncover in myself as I start to speak. I don’t know what God will stir up inside of me. I might weep, or maybe laugh, or find myself too stuck to even speak. It’s hard to show up. Counseling has become the thing I so rarely want, but so evidently need.

But I have come to learn, week after week, that when I show up, God shows up to meet me too. In fact, he’s already there in that room, waiting for me to come and draw near to him through these conversations with a wise and trusted counselor. I feel his presence there every time, and it gives me a strength that my own anxious, nervous, scared self lacks on my own.

It’s only in him that I’m strong. On my own, I’m the furthest thing from brave. I’m restless and prone to deflecting with sharp words and sarcasm. I’m anxious, burdened by depression, and my introversion makes me wish I could just shut the world and everybody in it out. If God wasn’t in the picture, if his presence wasn’t felt in that room, if I didn’t hear him speaking through the words and prayers of my counselor, I wouldn’t have shown up again after that first session.

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