There is incredible comfort in living as a Christian, and knowing that there really is a God who cares.
Through activities such as prayer and joining a church, Christians have the opportunity to have a relationship with God, as well as the support and care of others with the same beliefs.
When we read the Bible, we are reminded that God has a plan and purpose for our life, and that it is good. He promises that he will never leave us or forsake us, and that he gives us joy, strength, and a future in heaven.
So it might sound strange to say that psychologists with Christian beliefs often provide counselling to people who feel that they are struggling as a Christian.
It’s not always easy to be a Christian. We know that in some countries today, Christians are jailed or executed for their faith. Here in Australia, we currently have the freedom to practise our faith, although we sometimes are labelled as “bigoted”, “hypocrites”, or told that our beliefs are not “politically correct”.
And sometimes, we go through trials …
Common Christian Struggles
Although it’s true that most Christians know that they are blessed, for those who are struggling, professional counselling can help. For example:
When Bad Things Happen to Good People – Your baby is diagnosed with a terminal illness. A friend is in a car accident and left a quadriplegic. It’s enough to make even the most dedicated Christian ponder that age old question: why?
Conversely, doubt and questions may arise when good things happen to bad people! As the Psalmist lamented, why do the wicked prosper? Our ungodly neighbour is finding success in all that they do, while we are struggling.
Suffering from Burnout – We can get so busy, that we fail to look after ourselves. Looking after ourselves is important, remember Jesus himself said we should love our neighbour as ourselves.
Church Related Issues – The church is made up of people – imperfect, annoying, noisy, messy, people. And there are times when they do and say the wrong things (even if it is unintentionally). They can also be hypocritical, leaving us to become disillusioned.
Guilt and Shame – There are also some Christians who, even though they know they are forgiven, still struggle with feelings of guilt and shame. They want to do the right thing, and please God in all that they do, yet still feel condemnation.
Living with Eternal Consequences – Unlike many in our society, we know that there is more to life that just the here and now. This can create a tremendous pressure on some Christians, to be more “effective” in their calling.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Disappointments, sickness, prayers that seem to go unanswered – all of them can cause struggles with doubt.
Struggling as a Christian?
It’s okay to ask questions. It’s okay to be a work in progress. We will never be perfect in this life. As a human being, you are constantly changing, evolving, building, learning – and your Christian faith is a part of that.
When you are struggling as a Christian, you don’t have to go it alone. God is always with you, and you can also seek professional counselling at M1 Psychology, as some members of our team – such as Marta Garcia de Blakeley – share your beliefs. They can provide a safe space for you to voice your issues and ask the difficult questions without fear of judgement, and help with evidence-based techniques to help you gain some clarity around whatever is troubling you.
Author: M1 Psychology.
- “Stages of Faith” by James Fowler.
- “Where is God when it Hurts” by Philip Yancey.
- “The Road Less Travelled” by M Scott Peck.