Four Words That Guide GraceRenewal Counseling:
A Faith-Based Plan for Meeting Unmet Needs

I. The Pain

The hurt we feel is not really the result of the adverse circumstances or people in our life, as we may think, but the result of our unmet needs - the normal, in-born, multi-dimensional needs we have that have not been met.

II. The Problem

This means, our pain is not really the problem, but the symptom or result of the problem. Again, the problem is not what is present in our life that hurts, but what is missing in our life that helps.

To illustrate: Stress is not really "the problem." In fact, stress (defined as "a weight or demand") is a good thing! That's why gyms have weights.

Instead, the problem is the absence of strength sufficient to support the stress or weight, in which case, the problem is not stress, but "strain" (too much stress).

Injury, then, whether it is physical, emotional, financial, or relational, is the result of a weight or demand in our life that is greater than the strength we have to support it.

III. The Provisions

God has provided adequate Resources in creation (the soil and atmosphere), community (leadership relationships in the home and church), and especially Christ to meet every human need - physically, psychologically, and spiritually.

For example, in creation God stored minerals and fuel in the earth, gave fertility to the soil, provided sunshine and rain to maintain geological and other processes, wind and lightning for energy, and placed the earth in relation to the sun at just the precise distance and tilt, as scientists now know, to provide just the right atmosphere - without which life on Earth would be impossible.

In his book, "Mistakes God Did Not Make," R.I. Humbred noted that God colored the grass green and the sky blue, instead of red. He placed our eyes on the front of our head instead of the back. He also put our nose above our mouth so that we can smell the food we eat - before we eat it.

God also vented our nose downward. (Favorite old joke: A man accidently cut his nose off, and it was sown back on upside down. He said he got along okay - except when it rained, he drowned, and when he sneezed, he blew his hat off!)

Also, God created our body with the capacity to increase strength through exercise (called "training effect"), to heal from injury and sickness, and to sleep. God also created the family unit in order to meet our affection needs. "It is not good," he said of Adam, "that he remain alone" (Genesis 2:18). The Bible also says, "He puts the lonely in families" (Psalm 68:6).

And, most importantly, God made Provisions through Christ to meet our deepest and most essential need, which is spiritual (to experience God). By dying on the cross for us, Christ provided a way for us to go to Heaven. By living his life in us, Christ provided a way for us to be healthy and happy (Romans 5:10).

IV. The Plan

GraceRenewal counseling discerns the unhappiness (the pain), diagnoses the unmet needs (the problem), discovers appropriate resources for meeting those needs (God's provisions), then develops a strategy for healing (the plan).

Other strategies exist for meeting counseling needs but typically do not identify God's provisions. They are "Plan B" solutions (I call them) which minimize or deny man's fallen human nature and are based on a strategy of performance and striving (heroic self-efforts to "work on ourself") with disregard for our need of God's enablement. This means our hope for recovery is rooted in our weaknesses (our fallen human nature).

Jesus said, "Apart from me, you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

He said, "Come to me, all you who are broken, and I will restore you" (Matthew 11:28 paraphrased).

He also said, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God. Trust also in the Resources he has provided through me to meet your needs" (John 14:1 paraphrased).

Don Whisnant, DCC, LCPC
GraceRenewal Counseling

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