Pastoral Counseling – A new imagination

One the gifts that I’ve learned in counseling comes from this passage:

Philippians 4:8 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. 

There are some that tend to catastrophize their situation. “I don’t know what I’m gonna do…there are no solutions…he’ll never change…my work will never change…this is too hard of a decision to make

Paul is a great pastor and gives sound advice. He shifts the focus towards something we can do:  reflect, imagine, meditate, think, perceive.

In pastoral work, this might be framing and phrasing it as follows:
  • “What might it look like for you to imagine some new possibilities?”
  • “What would the ideal situation be and how can you play a part in it?”
  • “Sounds pretty heavy…what’s on the other side?”
I believe the Gospel calls us into a new reality that we sometimes don’t have the eyes to see, or the ears to hear. As missional pastors, we are called to aide in that new-reality-imagination vision where all of creation flourishes!  God is at work in the cry of the people. We can bank on that!
May we be used by God in our respective contexts to see healing, justice, and freedom by His Spirit!

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