“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given… And he will be called Wonderful Counselor.” Isaiah 9:6
Every household has at least one “junk drawer,” and some have quite a few! This is where we shove the things that we know are necessary, but we don’t quite know where they fit. This is also where we hide miscellaneous junk we eventually need to sort through, but we don’t have time at the moment. The junk drawer slowly grows in contents until one day it’s overflowing and you can’t get it shut anymore. Finally, you are forced to clean out the junk.
We do something similar with our spiritual life. We are constantly accumulating feelings, experiences, wounds, doubts, conflicts and questions, and we don’t quite know where to put them. Many of these don’t fit into our preferred life script, and so they begin piling up in some deep and hidden place in our soul.
Many of us suffer from disappointment and disillusionment because reality doesn’t line up with our plans or expectations. Our mate hasn’t live up to our fairy tale image of marriage. Our job doesn’t line up with our ideal career aspirations. Our suffering and deep loss doesn’t match with the happy ending we see in every Hallmark holiday movie. Most devastating, some of us harbor anger and disappointment toward God because of all the junk that’s come our way that we never chose.
We shove all these disappointments and confusions into a spiritual junk drawer, because we don’t know where else to put them. We tell ourselves, “I’ll deal with it later,” and go on with hectic schedules. Eventually the junk begins to overflow and the drawer won’t shut. At this point, some of us collapse on the couch in depression. Others suddenly explode with pent up anger. We may try escaping into unhealthy patterns and pastimes. Still others will choose to medicate and numb the pain with this or that substance.
By God’s grace, hopefully we are forced to admit we finally need to deal with the junk. We cannot hide it or contain in anymore. We need to call a therapist. We need a wise and wonderful counselor to help us sort through the junk — one memory, one wound, one disappointment, one traumatic episode, one lie at a time.
This Christmas season we are offered the gift of a God and Savior who is called a “Wonderful Counselor.” We can turn to Him daily to help sort through and face all the sharp-edged pieces and difficult experiences of our lives. Or we can cling to a “junk drawer spirituality” where we keep shoving things out of sight, and hope God will come by some night like a Christmas elf and magically clean out the junk while we sleep.
This Christmas the perfect gift to give ourselves may be scheduling an appointment with a Christian therapist to begin the difficult but healing process of sorting through some of our stuff that has been taking up space in our soul for far too long.
Questions to Ponder and Discuss:
- Just for fun, describe what kind of things are in your actual junk drawer?
- Can you relate to the spiritual junk drawer analogy? If you’re ready, list and share some of the “junk” you’ve hidden away to deal with later.
- Have you ever seen a therapist or a counselor? How was the experience? How would you describe the counselor?
- Describe the attributes of the ideal counselor or therapist?
- Have you ever thought of God as a wise and gentle counselor or therapist? How does this image feel to you?
- How would your prayer life be impacted if you approached it like a 60 minute appointment pouring out your heart to a therapist who listened patiently and lovingly? How might the Wonderful Counselor speak to you in response?
- Sit with and meditate on the following invitation from our Wonderful Counselor this week and journal what gifts you receive from your time together.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG)