Heart Living Journey
In addition to traditional hourly sessions, and intensive multi-day counseling formats, we also provide a course called Heart Living. This might be a new format for some of you, so I thought I would provide a description and Q&A about this offering.
What is Heart Living?
Paul prays for the Ephesians in verse 18 of chapter one that the “eyes of their heart may be enlightened.” It is the process of gaining more freedom to live from the Heart that God created in each and every one of us. We explore a topic each month that allows for group and individual support to be available for you throughout this process of defining what the heart is, the reasons most of us don’t live from the whole heart and how to start living from a whole healthy heart. Please read my own story for more on how this journey
began with me!
Components of the Heart Living Journey
The order and selection of each topic is purposefully arranged to guide your journey. However, depending on the pace of the group the topics are subject to change. This is an adventure for all of us!
Currently, we offer two formats for Heart Living:
Norman, OK 2017: Our traditional, 7-month journey with weekly emails and monthly meetings.
Austin, TX Area 2017: Heart Living Seminar- 2, day-long meetings held in November and February.
Questions for Sarah
So why are you doing this kind of community counseling format?
In almost every counseling session I hear comments like, “Outside of my sessions there isn’t much support for heart living”, “What does heart living look like in the real world”, and “I feel like I’m the only one going through issues”. These sorts of phrases stick with me and make me think. I can relate too. When Joshua and I were going through our early years of healing with our counselor and mentor John Smeltzer I remember thinking, “ We are learning this new language and this new way of being and seeing ourselves, others and God”. It was hard to know how to describe our journey to friends and family. And I often felt lonely as I daily implemented the things I was learning from counseling. I’m doing this format to give participants more of my attention and to bring them into a community of support as well.
What are the benefits of the group community format opposed to individual counseling?
First of all, the community group does not function the same way a group therapy process group is run. I love group therapy but I want to go beyond this approach to allow for a teaching element as well as the support of the group for feedback and care. I want participants to share because we can all learn from each other, however, I never want anyone to feel pressured to share. You are welcome to keep thoughts and feelings to yourself anytime!
I’m trying to decide if this counseling approach is a good fit for me, what are some signs that as a believer I’m not living from my heart?
Many of my Christian clients say that in addition to feelings of depression, grief, anger, or a specific crisis (job loss, break up, panic attacks, etc.) they also experience symptoms directly related to the Christianity they’ve always known. Some of them feel enormous guilt and struggle with believing in grace. Others report a loss of enjoyment in church and a lack of desire for prayer, worship or reading the Bible or other Christian books. Many feel lifeless and have lost their passions and purpose while others have a hidden life outside of church. I remember the day someone called me and nervously asked if I had heard of spiritual pain or abuse. I was so excited to say yes and bring validation to what many Christians worry about admitting.
One way to know if you live from the heart is to ponder the question what do I trust? Do I trust in my own strategies?
Do I second guess myself when making decisions?
Do I overly trust my feelings to the point of procrastinating until something feels exactly right?
Do I trust in logic?
Obligation? What should I do?
Our mind kicks in to protect us when we feel unsafe, so it is understandable that many of us forgo the risk of trusting the heart (God in our hearts). However, there is a way for God to heal us so that we can return to heart living!
What if my relationship with God is in a great place? Will I still benefit from the group?
Yes! We all have our own journey with God and He reveals himself to us in different ways. Sometimes through pain and sometimes in the gifts and blessings He gives us. For some of my clients, trusting God comes rather easily, while others, God is just as unsafe or unpredictable as the human relationships they have encountered. I recommend you celebrate the moments of this year together that come easily and press in to the concepts that are challenging!