Fall is a great time of year for us at Journey. Its a time that we look forward to gaining insights, receiving education, and strengthening our therapeutic character through intensive, professional development. In September, John, Sarah, and I attended the American Association of Christian Counselors World Conference in Nashville, TN — music CAPITAL folks! We were joined by over 7,000 other professionals for this four day learning event. Over 200 workshops were offered to us, ranging from shame and trauma to pre-marriage assessment and marriage enhancement.

The theme was a bit deceptive — “Be Strong.” Strong, to me, has a tone of “Just pull yourself up by your bootstraps. You have a mission, a job, and there’s no time to waste.” But we’re used to feeling weak, being fragile in our humanness, aren’t we? Feeling the overwhelming burden of living, sometimes just opening our eyes in the morning or taking a breath. “Be Strong”, huh? Well, I was relieved to hear from the speakers, throughout our four days, that we are not strong. It is Christ who is strong. We live daily in a tidal wave, but He is in the tidal wave with us, for us. No, life doesn’t get easier when we profess Christ. In fact, it gets harder. And yet, we come to know and rely upon the fact (the fact, not the feeling) that Christ is near to us. Though there are many days that feel like a revolving door that doesn’t slow down, that I get sick from, the message is: Be Strong… in The Lord. Have faith in knowing His character and who He is. This includes all the times my circumstances don’t change, my life doesn’t get easier, and I’m weary.

We three therapists were able to find meaning not only through the workshops, but also in being with one another and in being nerds talking about what we believe, don’t believe, and why. We got to share our experiences of what we heard, liked, didn’t like, and what we will incorporate into our lives and our therapy. This powerful reminder, that to dwell in Christ’s strength is to be strong, carries a freedom and hopefulness we desire to share and live out together in our counseling rooms.