Just recently, I had a week filled with a whirlwind of emotions, most of which were positive. On April 27, 2015 the State of Texas officially recognized me as a licensed professional counselor. For some, this might not mean a lot but for me, the symbolism behind the three simple letters LPC is monumental. A journey that began in August of 2007 with my first year of undergraduate studies, and ended with the completion of my 3,000 hour internship just a couple of days prior to my licensure becoming official, taught me a tremendous amount about life.
I know that I may sound like a bit of a braggart right now, but I can assure you that the most valuable thing I have discovered thus far is that a man’s greatest strength is when he can recognize and admit his weaknesses. Popular culture tells us that we can’t be weak, that we can’t cry and that we should somehow miraculously pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. Our culture even tells us that we shouldn’t go to counseling when we are struggling to hold our marriage together. Although I love the romantic nature of these individualistic sentiments, I don’t know that our culture can continue evolving if we hold on to and make room for these beliefs.
I have become a creature of habit lately, and one thing that I have added into my daily ritual is a prayer before I even get out of my car to start the workday. I turn my car off and take a deep breath. I say these words, “God I am weak, you are strong, I can’t help these people, and you can. Please help me, I need your help and please help these men and women through me today.” At first, this prayer was just another ritual, like chopping up the bananas for my morning smoothie, but after a while it became a declaration of my weakness, submission and reliance on God.
From 2007 to 2015, the journey has been arduous and joyous, interesting and boring. I have been married, watched my wife give birth to my twin babies, raised a puppy, graduated both undergraduate and graduate school, and completed a 3,000-hour counseling internship. I also struggled rebuilding a tattered relationship with my father and dealt with drug addiction that held me in bondage for years. Somehow God was in all of it, moving me, pushing me, and encouraging me to be a better man today than I was yesterday. The curious paradox is that I know that I am most strong when I am weak and begging for God’s help. For him to increase, I must decrease. For several men and women this looks like letting go of our pride and dying to some of our old behaviors and beliefs.
I pray that you find God in the good and the bad, in moments of weakness and in those times you feel strong.