I’ve played some sort of sport for most of my life. As a kid, I had aspirations to grow and play in the WNBA, if my backup plan of becoming a famous actress didn’t pan out. Obviously, it wasn’t in the cards for me to be in the WNBA (even though I’m holding on to my dream of becoming an actress). When it comes to our healing, we can compare our need for emotional and spiritual support to that of an athlete’s need for a coach. The coach plays a critical role in helping the player get better and perform at an optimal level, and yet the coach cannot do everything for them.
When you think of an Olympic swimmer, no one can:
put in the hours of swimming for them.
force them to eat the proper food to fuel their body.
regulate their thought life when they face adversity they don’t quit.
outperform their competition when it’s game time.
The athlete is ultimately the one that has to put in the grueling work and demonstrate a level of grit to see the process through to the end. Despite the challenges that they face, what keeps the athlete motivated is their vision for the future and their belief that one day they will win the prize that they have set their heart and mind toward attaining. We too are working towards a greater prize.
The apostle Paul says, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12–14).
Every day we live, our focus should be to press forward in the direction of becoming more Christlike—in our thinking, in our way of living, and in our ability to tap into the promises that already belong to us. Healing is one of those promises. We, however, must be willing to fight for it.
And just like the athlete, we have tasks that no one can do for us. No one can:
Spend time in prayer for us.
Make sure we are feeding our minds with God’s word.
Release the toxic beliefs, habits, or people for us.
Fight against the attacks of Satan for us.
Forgive someone for us.
In short, there is some work that only we can do.
But that doesn’t mean we are meant to do everything alone. Athletes seek out coaches who have an in-depth understanding of the sport, and who understand the proper techniques that the athlete can use to compete at an optimal level. Coaches are also able to point out the athlete’s blind spots and provide them with exercises that they can do to make progress towards their goals. So too must we find our healing coach because initially, what is required can seem utterly overwhelming.
Thankfully, our first coach is already available and eager to support us: the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will always be present to support us as our guide, counselor, and helper (John 14:26). If we make tiny steps of faith forward, the Holy Spirit, our coach, will meet us where we are and give us wisdom for the path ahead. But while we are equipped with the Holy Spirit, we also need coaches here on Earth. This takes the form of a good Christian counselor.
When it comes to our emotional healing, a Christian counselor can help you discover the root cause of the problem and turn us towards God’s truth. Experienced counselors know how to ask the right questions, connect certain symptoms to the source, and offer you recommendations on practical steps you can take to begin to heal. To be clear, this is different from meeting with our pastor. Don’t get me wrong, our pastors surely can offer us spiritual support and can provide us with some initial counsel pertaining to our circumstances, but most have not received the level of training necessary to dig deep into this issue, nor do they have the ability to meet with us long term. However, when you find a good Christian counselor, they can provide you with the spiritual counselor and ongoing support you need to begin to heal.
Some of us have grown up in an environment where going to counseling is frowned upon, as if we are crazy, inferior, or weak if we seek the emotional support we need from a professional. And yet, if someone broke their arm, and went to the doctor for professional medical attention, we wouldn’t think twice about it. The reality is, that many of us are walking around with broken hearts and in desperate need of care. It's time that we invest in our emotional well-being and we make our healing a priority.
If you are ready to invest in your emotional healing, we are here to help. Our company has a team of counselors who would be honored to serve you on your healing journey.
To schedule a free consultation with our counseling team, visit https://www.faithonthejourney.org/counselors
About the Author
Rev Jocelyn J. Jones
Rev. Jocelyn J. Jones is an author, speaker, and entrepreneur. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa in journalism. After earning her B.A., Jocelyn worked for channel 20, WYCC. She left the television industry to serve as the Executive Director of the ARK of St. Sabina, a youth center on Chicago’s Southside. While at the ARK, Jocelyn earned her master’s degree from the University of Chicago in social work. Tragically, the lives of several families she served were shattered due to gun violence. Those experiences and her own quest for emotional healing inspired her to establish her company, Faith on the Journey Counseling. Jocelyn earned her master’s degree in theological studies from McCormick Theological Seminary. She is an ordained minister, a training facilitator with the Trauma Healing Institute, and the author of the book Breaking the Power of the Mask.