Thinking Out Loud

November 12, 2012

Taking Emotional Inventory: Revelations and Confessions

Filed under: personal — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 11:39 am

I have no idea what the post title implies. It just looked good. Then again, I have a fairly good idea.

Yesterday I attended two different morning services at two churches. In the second one, a well known couple in the church — the pastor called them a “power couple” — shared a little of their journey through marriage counseling earlier in the year. It sounds like they were facing some rough challenges, and it would be easy for someone to be smug and say, “Boy, I’m glad our marriage never got to that.”

But then I got thinking about the whole idea of counseling. Some very high profile pastors go to counselors on a regular basis and are very public about it. I’ve never been mostly because I can’t afford it; it would be an expensive luxury given our budget.

What would a counselor find?

As I thought about this I realized that my emotional life is characterized by a number of negative things. I mentally listed seven yesterday, but can only recall five today. I’m going to be very honest with this confession, and this on a blog that tends not to get personal.  For simplicity, these are alphabetical:

  • anxiety, apprehension, fear, worry — about health, finances, the children, my mom’s health, business, etc. (This one concerns me the most, as worry and trusting God are spiritually incompatible.)
  • indecision — not that I can’t make decisions, but I feel like I don’t have a good track record, and therefore I don’t trust myself to make good ones (This one makes it hard to move forward; I tend not to plan things.)
  • isolation — for most of my life I’ve been flying solo in business and ministry projects; it would be nice to play on a large team sometime (This one flares up at the oddest times.)
  • regret — not that I spend a lot of time looking back, but as the song says, “Regrets, I have a few…” (This one probably brings out the greatest sadness, reminding me of another song, “If I Could Turn Back Time.”)
  • rejection — with a common thread to the isolation mentioned above, a lot of projects I’ve tried to start just haven’t clicked with the Christian community (This one just makes me angry, I feel like it’s other peoples’ loss.)

 I could flesh these out in greater detail, but basically, these are some things I deal with, and it’s not a very happy list.

But I think it’s a very accurate picture of what lurks beyond the superficial, and while I don’t expect to resolve all these today, by sharing them here, you just saved me a few of the initial counseling sessions!   I should also add that my days are not spent focusing inward; I don’t see myself as a candidate for depression, rather, these are themes that are lurking in the background.

So now that I’ve left myself emotionally naked and vulnerable today — can’t wait to see what the search engines do with that phrase — does this resonate with any of you? You guys don’t leave a lot of comments, but this would be a good day…


  1. The last two, regret and rejection, are ones that have affected me the most.

    As far as rejection, I am a pretty creative thinker and sometimes have come up with class or ministry ideas that many think are out in left field, when I thought they were in the main stream of what God was trying to say. The term “Shake the dust off yoru sandals comes to mind”.

    Regret. That is HUGE for me. My first marriage (to a pastor) failed. Mostly I can put the blame on his rage and his lack of genuine faith in Christ. But I didn’t pray for him even a fraction as much as I prayed that God would help me get out of there. I was not, at that young age, a woman of the Word or of real serious prayer. I think , looking back, I didn’t need to let my marriage end afterall. It sidetracked my ministry and that of my ex-husband irrevocably.

    Comment by Cynthia Clarke — November 12, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

  2. It seems the older I get, the fewer ‘negatives’ I face, but regret or ‘what if?’ must be one. Thinking of those extremely busy ministry years, I have quite a number of ‘what if’ or ‘if only’ thoughts.
    Another negative is wishing I could be as involved again, and I class this as a negative because IF I dwell on those thoughts, I am giving in to the devil’s taunts and not actively seeking opportunities here and now. My amazing God has given me different ministries which I can perform in my new circumstances, and these should (and mostly do) satisfy me.

    Comment by meetingintheclouds — November 13, 2012 @ 9:41 pm

  3. I appreciate your honesty. I think when we do life together as a community of believers we need to share the deeper issues, as painful and sometimes not very flattering to ourselves as that may be.

    Comment by kim — November 15, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

  4. Most everyone gets discouraged at times and experiences the issues/feeling you describe. Thank you for your honesty. I’m a retired clinical social worker/marriage counselor and a Christian. My husband and I both had a great deal of counseling to deal with childhood issues and later marital issues – when we were unbelievers. As Christians since then we’ve been through helpful, low cost educational marriage programs. These aren’t available everywhere but you or some of your readers might want to check them out. We led The Third Option for years and found it was often more helpful than counseling!! Couples told us this! Other educational programs are Marriage Enrichment and A Weekend to Remember. A good web page with helpful info is Smart

    You suggested writing this post had helped you. Writing is very therapeutic. This has been documented in research. You might do some private writing on a regular basis to clear the background issues – or find a friend to confide in. Just a few thoughts. Hope they help.

    Comment by dottieparish — November 15, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

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