Monday, April 21, 2008

Why I am back in counseling.

Why I am back in counseling.

Last week I started seeing counselor #3 for the first time in about a year. The reason I am going to see him again is that for reasons beyond my understanding and ability, the site stuff christians like has exploded. And to tell you the truth, I fear that without surrounding myself with wise counsel, I will become an arrogant jerk. Or more of one, since some days I am already there.

Arrogance is one of those traits that we sometimes give a free pass. We say someone is "driven" or "focused" instead of calling them prideful. But I read something in 2 Timothy that challenged me this morning. Here is what 2 Timothy 3:1 says:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.

That's a little scary sounding and for good reason. In the Old Testament, when things were terrible, people did horrible things. They murdered pregnant women, ate their children to prevent starving and killed each other for false Gods. So when the verse warns of terrible times it's difficult not to think of a particularly dark and bloody future. But here's what the next verse says:

People will be lovers of themselves,

Wow. I thought that threat of "terrible times" would be punctuated with an example of something horrible. Murder. Genocide. Cannibalism. Certainly those things are available in other parts of the Bible, but Paul didn't pick them. He picked arrogance. Out of the pantheon of sin, the one he referenced first as a sign of the last days was that "people will be lovers of themselves." In the next few verses he further drives home the point by calling out the words, "boastful, proud and abusive."

That's why I am in counseling again. It has been a joy and an honor to be part of stuff christians like. And soon I am going to announce some really cool things that are coming down the road. But I hear the siren's call of arrogance. I hear the temptation to think this is about me and not about God. I see love letters written from me to me. And I realize that alone, I am not strong enough to ignore them. Alone, I will help usher in terrible times with my arrogance. Alone, I will fall again and again.

That's why I am back in counseling.


Scott Fillmer said...

I am sure that must have been a difficult post to write. We all, every one of us, struggle with different things.

It is sometimes hard for us to recognize what those are in ourselves and do something about it, good luck.

I hope you keep posting regardless, God is using you to make an impact on someone.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

Loved your perspective on that verse, Jon. The more I get to know God, the more I'm struck by how much He abhors pride and "Pharisee-ism" (for lack of a better word). The Christian subculture tends to make a bigger deal out of addiction, infidelity, abortion -- and all those things are horrible and incredibly hurtful to people surrounding the addicted one. But I really think God hates pride more than anything. It's the root. How humbling.

Anonymous said...

"Spiritual gifts" exams will tell you that one of the issues leaders struggle with is arrogance. I don't know your spiritual gifts or callings, but I wouldn't be shocked if 'being in charge of something" was in there somewhere.

With so many people constantly singing our praises it's so easy got us to believe the hype. I pray that each day you get better at recognizing Satan before he attacks. Be encouraged.

Oh and I love counseling - good, Christian, BIBLE-BASED counseling. I'll never stop going.

FlautoNP said...

This is indeed a sign of a wise man - to make himself accountable and transparent, and surround himself with wisecounsel. Bravo, and thanks for sharing.


Jan said...

Fantastic. I'm glad to hear when anyone in aware of themselves enough to know when they are becoming their own worst enemy. And, I'm sure you noticed, it is easy to slip into the "me" thing. Ever so easy.

Bec said...

Hi Jon,

I somewhat fear posting this comment, lest my encouragement of your humility leads you to be proud of your humility... LOL... but then I could just be projecting my own failings on to you there ;)

Anyway, I'm praying the counselling goes well. And good on you for dealing with it now rather than letting it become a bigger issue.

God bless,

Pastor Nick said...

Noticing that arrogance is creeping up in your life is a good indicator that God is working and that you are listening to Him. You have shown by admitting your weakness to arrogance that you are a wise man.

I am always trying to keep my pride under control. I take comfort in the fact that I am aware that I can be prideful and that God always puts me back in my place if I let my pride get out of control.

Anonymous said...

The Bible says, "Everyone who is arrogant is an abomination to the Lord..." Good reminder for all of us!

robyn collins said...

this is why you are the best... dont' let that go to your head, it might cost you another $150 an hour...

seriously... praying for you all the time...

Adam Owens said...

Thanks for being showing us a side that I'm sure was little difficult to do. We all deal with things and it takes a strong person to realize when they need some help. Praying that counseling goes well and that you continue to press into God and his word.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Thanks for the authentic post. Like a lot of people, pride could easily be my downfall. I struggle with it sometimes.

It seems like pride (arrogance) is the one sin everybody is comfortable sweeping under the rug. I wonder why that is.

Mark Thomas said...

Awesome, awesome entry! Fantastic insight from 2 Timothy. I have a couple of friends who will willingly "slap me down" if I ever start to seem arrogant, and I to them.

Accountability is not just for the outright, noticeable sin!

Mark Thomas

Devout Hypocrite said...

Jon, thanks very much for letting your readers know and I think God is granting you wisdom to recognize areas of temptation for yourself.

Also, just to keep things from going to your head, half the fun of "Stuff Christians Like" is reading the comments! :)

Tommy said...

proud of you.

st├ęphanie said...

way to be transparent and honest. I'm not trying to add to your counsel time here, but seriously, not everyone can admit that.
- St├ęphanie

Blue Fairy Gal said...

You don't know how much I needed to read that post. I mean, I am sorry that you are experiencing a struggle. I applaud your ability to recognize it for what it is and know that you need to seek insight to stay grounded.

But, for me...I don't know that I can explain it all, but your pointing out that in the last days there will be arrogance, now I get it. Something that has been rattling around in my heart.

As women, maybe not all, we struggle so much with how we look and not being this enough or that enough. I mean, we take care of ourselves, but we aren't the ideal. I was just talking to a friend this week and telling her that she needed to stop being so hard on herself, that God made her exactly as she is and how he wanted her to be, that his fingerprints were all over her. He wants her to love herself.

Later, in my spirit, I felt like I was being told that God gave us this body to take care of so that we could use it for his glory. NOT so we could worry all day about 5 or 10 or evn 20 pounds or about how the latest fashions will look or what size we are wearing. He made this body special and wonderful so that it can be used for his glory.

The other things are arrogance. The other things are traps to keep your mind occupied so that you can not put your energies on what really matters.

For you, this may really not be anything you ever encounter. But, I get it. For me, for a lot of women like me.

Thank you.

Jake said...

I think reading this post reminds poeple why they follow your blogs in the first place.

Phil Hoover, Chicago said...

God bless you, Jon...

Alot of us need counseling...I know that I do...

Anonymous said...

Yes, lovers of self. We see them every day don't we? Of course, counselling is a competent option. Of course, you could always start another blog and just write the love letters back and forth. That way, yes technically it is still YOU, but in a strange way no one knows it is so you don't have to confess it. Isn't that the way it works? No?

Okay, I'll get me coat...

Jim Baxter said...

The way we define 'human' determines our view of self,
others, relationships, institutions, life, and future. Many
problems in human experience are the result of false
and inaccurate definitions of humankind premised
in man-made religions and humanistic philosophies.

Human knowledge is a fraction of the whole universe.
The balance is a vast void of human ignorance. Human
reason cannot fully function in such a void; thus, the
intellect can rise no higher than the criteria by which it
perceives and measures values.

Humanism makes man his own standard of measure.
However, as with all measuring systems, a standard
must be greater than the value measured. Based on
preponderant ignorance and an egocentric carnal
nature, humanism demotes reason to the simpleton
task of excuse-making in behalf of the rule of appe-
tites, desires, feelings, emotions, and glands.

Because man, hobbled in an ego-centric predicament,
cannot invent criteria greater than himself, the humanist
lacks a predictive capability. Without instinct or trans-
cendent criteria, humanism cannot evaluate options with
foresight and vision for progression and survival. Lack-
ing foresight, man is blind to potential consequence and
is unwittingly committed to mediocrity, collectivism,
averages, and regression - and worse. Humanism is an
unworthy worship.

The void of human ignorance can easily be filled with
a functional faith while not-so-patiently awaiting the
foot-dragging growth of human knowledge and behav-
ior. Faith, initiated by the Creator and revealed and
validated in His Word, the Bible, brings a transcend-
ent standard to man the choice-maker. Other philo-
sophies and religions are man-made, humanism, and
thereby lack what only the Bible has:

1.Transcendent Criteria and
2.Fulfilled Prophetic Validation.

The vision of faith in God and His Word is survival
equipment for today and the future. Only the Creator,
who made us in His own image, is qualified to define
us accurately.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. Psalm 25:12 He is by
nature and nature's God a creature of Choice - and of
Criteria. Psalm 119:30,173 His unique and definitive
characteristic is, and of Right ought to be, the natural
foundation of his environments, institutions, and re-
spectful relations to his fellow-man. Thus, he is orien-
ted to a Freedom whose roots are in the Order of the
universe. selah

"Man cannot make or invent or contrive principles. He
can only discover them and he ought to look through the
discovery to the Author." -- Thomas Paine 1797

"Got Criteria?" See Psalm 119:1-176

a follower of The Lion of Judah