10 Things I Want Counseling Students to Know (as they start a new semester).
1. God is always in control. We often forget this, and begin trying to "fix" things ourselves...whether in our own lives, or in the lives of our clients.
2. It is ok to feel emotional pain. No doubt, pain in not fun, but sometimes it is a very important part of healing. If I avoid pain, or help my clients avoid pain, I will miss an important element in the healing process, and may deny there is even a problem. All of us need to learn to accept pain and learn how to deal with it rather than running from it.
3. Knowing God and spending time with Him is more important than learning about Him. I must keep a personal time with God daily as a priority. Just because you are studying here at the seminary or are taking a Bible course doesn’t mean you are building your relationship with God.
4. The Holy Spirit has been assigned the role of "convictor." Although I am charged to "speak the truth in love," I also must be careful to not take over the role of the Holy Spirit.
5. Characteristic excellence glorifies God. In all I do--in all you do--do it with excellence. If God has called me to study, then I must study with excellence. Sometimes that might mean taking fewer classes so I can learn more.
6. Discipline yourself to memorize Scripture. God's Word is living, and sharper than a "two-edged sword." God uses His Word to transform our thinking patterns, as well as emotional response patterns and behavioral patterns. I need God's Word in my life, just as my clients need God's Word. It is more important than any other study I might complete.
7. Take time to get to know other students and your professors. God often works through others to reveal His character and truth. This is a golden opportunity during your seminary days to build godly relationships. Iron sharpens iron.
8. Develop a merciful response in your heart. None of us are perfect, and humbling ourselves will allow us to become merciful. If you do not have the gift of mercy, ask God to give you a merciful heart. (Matthew 9:13; Matthew 18:33)
9. If you are married, and if you have children, remember your spouse and children are your priority second only to God. Be sure you make time to invest in them and their needs.
10. Rejoice when you experience suffering (suffering can be as small as feeling lonely as you build relationships to financial stress to health problems). God uses suffering in our lives to draw us to himself, and to build His character and nature into us. (James 1:2).