Spiritual Discernment In Counseling
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The ability to think biblically and spiritually and make sound decisions is referred to as discernment. One can distinguish between right and wrong using discernment. Individuals can also distinguish between the truth and error and choose the correct path. Having the spirit of discernment leads to making the right decisions. As a counselor, it is critical that I become acquainted with various decision-making perspectives and spiritual discernment approaches in order to work effectively with clients. Many spiritual clients are frequently perplexed about how to make decisions in accordance with God’s will. Understanding the various approaches can help guide them in discernment and decision making. There are various schools of thought for making decisions that are in accordance with God’s will, such as the wisdom approach and the bully’s eye approach. Several important factors influence each approach to discernment and decision making.
Important considerations when making a decision.
In his articles, Horton discusses various decision-making factors, such as considering the circumstances, praying to God for answers, praying to God for wisdom, and consulting the Bible and wise counsel (Horton, 2009). Horton outlined several factors that are crucial in my decision-making: praying to God for wisdom, consulting the Bible and wise counsel, exercising common sense, and taking into account my strengths, talents, gifts, and abilities.
When making decisions and thinking things through, one of the most important factors for me is to pray to God. I pray for God’s assistance in better understanding the options available to me and deciding on the best one. God sees the entire picture of which we only see a portion and desires the best for us. As a result of consulting him in prayer, he receives a revelation of greater discernment. We communicate with God through prayer, and because of his love for us, he guides us in making the best decision for us. God provides wisdom and strength to make sound decisions.
Using the Bible and sound advice
The scripture was written by people who were guided by the Holy Spirit and under God’s command. The Bible contains numerous passages that instruct us on how to carry ourselves and behave. I have the opportunity to interact with verses that speak on guidance and how we should act in God’s will, as well as discern what is just and unjust and the right paths to follow, by consulting the Bible. It becomes easier to make decisions that are consistent with God’s word and its expectations. When making decisions, the Bible encourages us to seek wise counsel. We are encouraged to keep moving forward, and new opportunities for growth are revealed to us. It provides us with people to walk with along the way, reminding us that we are not alone.
Taking into account my strengths, talents, gifts, and abilities
They enable intuitive decision making by considering my strengths when making decisions. I can make a decision based on what my guts, instincts, and feelings tell me to do, and the decisions turn out to be good. I make decisions based on what I’m capable of doing by taking into account my talents, gifts, and abilities. Talents, gifts, and abilities are God-given, and I believe that whenever I make decisions based on them, I am pleasing God and acting in accordance with his plans.
The Wisdom Method
In my decision-making process, I’m most likely to take the wisdom approach. The approach promotes a decision-making process that does not rely on detailed, unmediated guidance from God. It advocates for Christians to rely on God’s abilities, wise counsel, and a clear assessment of our strengths and abilities. There are two schools of thought in this approach: bible wisdom emphasis and pragmatic Christian emphasis (Horton, 2009). Regarding the factors I considered, the Bible’s wisdom emphasis is the better spiritual discernment approach to follow.
The approach emphasizes that we should base our decisions primarily on biblical principles. It emphasizes the Bible as the only trustworthy source of God’s revelation. In the decision-making process, a rational aspect is also emphasized (Horton, 2009). The emphasis on biblical wisdom emphasizes the role of wise counsel, common sense, and the responsible use of our skills and abilities, all of which I value highly in my decision making. Many people believe that God has a specific plan for all of us but chooses not to reveal the specifics. I also consider the same school of thought when making decisions. According to the Bible’s wisdom, God’s superiority is essential in everything we do. Our actions and decisions are predetermined, and God created the scriptures with our reasoning abilities as the primary means of navigating our way through life.
God allows us to make free choices in accordance with his will and plan. This Biblical wisdom approach encourages us to use strategic thinking to understand and follow the guidelines in the Bible. God has given us instructions through scripture and has left us to make decisions that are consistent with the commandments and principles of the Bible.
My stance is on the importance of Bible wisdom. In my position, my strongest conviction is that I should prioritize the Bible when making decisions. Because the Bible is my source of wisdom when making decisions, I would seek knowledge and enlightenment from it. I use the scriptures to help me deal with my clients’ problems. As an empathic counselor and good listener, I would be able to put myself in her shoes, understand her predicament, think critically about finding a solution, and make a decision. Her deepest desire is to select a major that is in accordance with God’s will. With my wise counsel, I would commend her for seeking counsel and form a bond with her in order to learn more about her desires, fears, beliefs, and values.
Factors influencing the Bible wisdom approach in the present and past
My siblings and I have always asked our parents for advice on what to do since we were children, and they have always provided it. When my parents had problems or issues, they would go to the preacher, who would usually tell them to keep praying for God’s guidance and reading the Bible. My religious teachers have always emphasized the importance of reading the Bible every day in order to grow. I discovered the fulfillment and positive impact that came from seeking wise counsel, praying, and reading the Bible before making major decisions through observation and experimentation. Growing up in a protestant church, preachers always emphasized receiving God’s spirit of discernment to help us distinguish between what is right and wrong. Such experiences have heavily influenced my decision to emphasize Bible wisdom. This approach insists on the Bible as the primary source of wisdom. We should rely on God-given ability, sound advice, and an assessment of our strengths, talents, and abilities.
Personal position has an impact on how clients are addressed.
My stance and position will help the client understand her beliefs and values, which include acting in God’s will rather than against God’s will with the major she chooses. She believes that there are certain majors she could pursue that are contrary to God’s will. My stance is that when deciding on a career or major, I should consider my strengths, talents, gifts, and abilities. Because of my position, I can understand and recognize her beliefs that may prevent her from choosing a major. Through my position, I can help my client understand her beliefs and values, as well as which ones she should change and which she should embrace. Throughout, I’ll make sure to respect her beliefs and values and give her the space she needs to understand her needs at her own pace.
Having a flexible attitude will allow me to remain accommodating so that my client feels understood and safe to air her concerns (Yayla & Yikiz, 2017). My understanding of various discernment approaches will help me understand where she stands and how to approach the situations. I can understand her dilemma and show acceptance to her situation with warmth and understanding through acceptance. With my self-awareness, I can understand my position and desires while remaining focused on her desires and providing the help and guidance she deserves without interfering with my needs, resulting in imposing decisions on her rather than allowing her to make the decisions she believes are best.
Model with Three Levels
The three-tiered model will be my strategy to avoid imposing my position, the bible wisdom emphasis, and my client’s values. This model is a self-awareness and self-care approach encouraged by the code of ethics to promote wellness and awareness for a counselor’s better positioning to provide effective services to clients. Self-care activities maintain and promote the counselor’s mental, physical, and spiritual well-being, allowing them to meet their professional responsibilities effectively and efficiently.
The model is based on cognitive behavior therapy, which emphasizes changing one’s thoughts in order to change one’s behavior. The model’s three tiers are self-checks, self-talks, and self-journaling (Macklem, 2020). The counselor monitors oneself during the brief opportunities to stop and check during the self check. Self-talk ensures that negative thoughts, emotions, and behavior are reduced in exchange for positive feedback. Self journaling allows a counselor to analyze thoughts, behaviors, and emotions while also learning from those reactions.
Self-awareness will allow me to distinguish myself from the client and to distinguish between the client’s feelings and values. I will use various processes, such as cognitive, dynamic, and behavioral processes, as part of the self-awareness strategy. Rather than imposing my position and the spiritual approach I used, I will direct the client’s attention to her needs and apply the approach that truly works for her.
The discernment spirit is the ability to think biblically and spiritually in order to make sound decisions. In his article, Horton discussed various aspects of decision making. Praying to God for wisdom, consulting the Bible and wise counsel, and considering personal strengths, talents, gifts, and abilities were all important decision-making factors for me. These elements are related to the wisdom approach, specifically the bible wisdom emphasis, which promotes the Bible’s role as a primary guidebook. It also advocates using common sense and relying on God-given abilities. This paper also examined the various factors that influenced my spirit of discernment approach, as well as the impact of personal position in dealing with client concerns. Finally, this paper concluded with a three-tier model of awareness that includes cognitive, emotional, and behavioral processes that help the counselor avoid imposing their position and values on a client.
G. L. Macklem (2020). Brief Self-Awareness and Belief-Improving Strategies SEL Interventions at School in Brief (pp. 121-141). Cham: Springer.
Yayla, E., and F. E. Kiz (2017). The relationship between effective characteristics of counselors and counseling self-efficacy levels. 7th Turkish Journal of Psychological Counseling and Guidance (48).
D. J. Horton (2009). Spiritual discernment: Examining current approaches to understanding God’s will. 7(2), pp. 7-31 in Journal of Youth Ministry.