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Showing items filed under “Dave Lantz, MA, LMHCA”

Know Your Story. Engage Your World.

What do you think of when someone asks to hear your story? Does your job – your college – your family background come to mind? Is it an exciting question for you or one that reminds you once again of what you’ve tried so hard to forget?

We live in a culture where we have 30 seconds at most to describe and try to capture the attention of whomever we are talking too. It can seem an overwhelming task to try and share what makes us who we are in an engaging way in such a short amount of time. If we’re really honest we may even say that our stories feel dull compared to the stories of others. We have never met that person, gotten that degree, or our family never looks that way. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become the “story boards” for our lives and the pictures and stories that get the most “likes” are the ones that often feel the most distant from day-to-day reality.

What if the story of your life was far more real and significant than a Facebook post or Instagram photo? What if your story didn’t need a special filter to get a like or have to be a cleverly crafted sentence so that someone might pay attention?

Our attempts to filter and sanitize our lives have become the very things that keep us from knowing the importance and weightiness of the story we have been called into.

For we not only have our own story: we have been called up into one that is far greater and far more magnificent than the college you attended or where you vacationed last summer.

It’s the story of a God who is in passionate pursuit of people. A story of romance…and yes of tragedy. A story that is full of adventure and the risk of danger and sometimes even death. It’s a story that we often forget as we settle into the days and weeks of routine; work and school. Yet the story continues to call to us even when we are desperately seeking distraction because that story speaks to a longing within us that never seems to be met.

What would your life look like if your story not only mattered, but impacted the stories of those around you? What if your story became the invitation for God to show up powerfully in the lives of others?

We at Crucible Counseling Center believe that our stories become the avenues for God to move in us and in the lives of those around us. We have been called into a greater story than any we could create and it speaks to the deepest longings and dreams of our hearts. This fall Crucible is putting on a one day event to assist those who are ready to dream and to invite God into the best and worst of their stories. If you are searching for how your story could fit into the story God is telling – this event could be for you.

The Gift of Emotions

When is the last time you just let yourself feel bad?

I’m serious. When is the last time that you allowed yourself to feel sad, discouraged or weary?

If you are anything like me, I find myself spending most of my time either trying to feel good and if I’m not, doing whatever I can to ignore the feelings that don’t feel so great. Thankfully, Facebook, Netflix, Youtube and other outlets are just one click away. Why feel bad when there is always something that can distract you?

As I have gone through counseling and sat with many different people, I found a common theme in our attempts to stay away from the internal world with all of its complexity and pain. Unfortunately, I have some bad news:

Our attempts to ignore and numb our hearts and our pain are not working.

Something that I have learned over the past several years is that our emotions are the language of our internal world. When we are feeling happy, excited or joyful – this tells us something about what is going on inside of us. We might experience joy when we accomplish a significant goal or experience healthy intimacy with friends or our spouse. We might also experience sadness or discouragement when a relationship we value goes south – or when the work we hoped would allow us to use our creativity with freedom turns into just one more place where we are expected to fill a predetermined role with unrealistic expectations.

These emotions can often lead to experiencing the emotions of anxiety or depression. We might as well be honest, we live in a time when it is far more acceptable to feel depressed than heartbroken or highly anxious than betrayed and lost. You can get medication for depression, there isn’t a medication for when your dreams are lost and you don’t know where to go. This in no way minimizes the fact that many people struggle deeply with anxiety and depression and that medication is one way to help getting through one day at a time.

But medication does not solve the pain and ache of the inner world. None of this may seem like good news, but the truth is that healing is possible. When our physical bodies are cut, scratched or bruised we know better than to ignore the signs of pain. We use Neosporin, band aids and change our bandages regularly.

Our hearts need the same care. When we go through broken relationships or what seems to be a season of never ending disappointment, we have a choice of either paying attention to and caring for our hearts – or ignoring the signs that something is not right within us internally. It will be painful and uncomfortable to engage your heart and emotions in those places, but healing comes through walking in those places, rather than ignoring them and waiting for them to go away. If these thoughts jump out to you – maybe it’s time to pay some attention to what is going on in your heart.

Here is a simple exercise to start with:

  1. Set aside 15 minutes without distraction and allow yourself to sit in silence for the first 3 or 4 minutes.
  2. You will experience distraction and probably have your thoughts jump to the 25 different things you are supposed to do today.
  3. Recognize the distractions without condemning yourself. Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is that your heart wants to feel.
  4. Follow the emotion. If you feel nothing…are you ok with that? If it’s anger, fear, anxiety or sadness – where do these emotions lead for you?
  5. End the time by thinking of five things that you are grateful for. Be kind to your heart no matter what you did/didn’t experience during that time.

Our bodies need antibiotics, clean water, and cleansing agents to become well again. Our hearts need silence and kindness. Will you give your heart a taste of both today?