July 22, 2024

Do I check in with a counselor at least yearly?

This is one of those questions on the self-care inventory that could easily make anyone uncomfortable. There is still something in our culture, perhaps even more so amongst ministry leaders, staff and clergy that makes us think that we should not and cannot have problems, and if we did, we would never share them. This mentality is both ironic and dangerous for those who lead, serve and counsel others. The physical, mental, spiritual and emotional demands of ministry are intense. The reality is that what we offer others must come from God and not us, that said some of it does flow out of our own human effort and energy. We must practice self-care for this very reason, and our own health and effectiveness depends on it.

I will never forget one of my psychology professors in college. She was an amazing professor and woman, perhaps one of the most balanced people I have ever known. One day she mentioned that she had to miss class due to an appointment with her counselor. I asked her why she would ever need a counselor and she put it to us very simply. “I get a physical each year, and I get a mental too.” For her, it was a part of her health to check in with a counselor each year, much like we see our own medical doctor for a physical (or at least should!). She is right, and perhaps even more so for those of us who serve in ministry leadership positions. I encourage you to find a counselor you can trust and see them regularly, at least yearly to keep yourself as healthy as possible so that God can use you as much as possible.

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