A few weeks ago I conducted a two-hour life coaching intake session. I had never met this person before, but through a mutual acquaintance I now sat across the table from this young adult. Presented to me one way on the phone call of inquiry, their answer to my question, “What brought you to seek coaching?” took me completely by surprise. That teensy-weensy (read huge) bit of information that was not shared on the phone call was the opening sentence of a story of a thousand little choices.
By the time we bid farewell two and a half hours later, I was thankful for my counseling background. This one was not a life coaching candidate. They were a candidate for life. As in, getting one that was based on Truth. And Truth is what I shared.
In the end, I gained 150 minutes of sowing seed but lost a client. A few days later they emailed me their decision that ‘this wasn’t for them.’ They kindly thanked me for the time I had spent and acknowledged I had given them some things to think about. I replied with my acceptance of their decision even as what they had shared with me lay heavy on my heart.
They had matter-of-factly sketched a picture of their last three years. Consequences arising from things they could not go back and change were making themselves evident. Shame-based messages and others’ modeling of poor choices in their younger years had eroded their trust in what was coming out of the other side of those same mouths. And so they began making their own thousand little choices.
In my best coaching style, I challenged some of their perceptions and beliefs that had led to such consequences. They had been wounded by older women, so I stood in the gap and asked their forgiveness on behalf of such ones who had hurt them. They questioned their faith, so I straightforwardly addressed their concerns. I asked them if I could introduce them to a better way to live life, would they want it? They kept sharing; I kept answering with Truth offered in love and acceptance, free of judgment. They had already experienced enough of that.
Then midway through our time a light bulb came on. Not in them. In me. It became evident the enemy had this young person held tightly in his deceptive grip. I cut to the chase and in plain English exposed his plan and devices for stealing their life. And I held out Jesus Christ to them as their only hope.
I might as well have been holding out Obi Wan Kenobi. It seemed they would have preferred his help when a few days later I received a voicemail with a P.S. to their emailed decision. The message was that ‘because they had been brought up in church, they did not want to hear about Jesus.’
Their limb cracked and my heart broke.
Why do I relate this story?
Because it is a picture of why we all need a Savior. Not just the ones who have decided Jesus is not for them, but also those of us who have misrepresented Him in ways that have led others to make such decisions. None of us make our thousand little choices in a vacuum. I don’t own an island; do you?
I’ll be honest. After receiving the email and the voicemail, I questioned the Lord as to whether I had missed an opportunity with this one. Had I really messed up connecting with them? Was I so far ‘out of it’ with this younger generation that I had appeared as Grandma Moses to them? (Even with my cute haircut and big hoop earrings?).
And then I heard His answer to my questioning heart…
“Remember my directive that as you write and work with others, you are to ‘point them to Jesus?’ You pointed this one to Me, didn’t you? You spoke from a heart transformed by my love, didn’t you?”
Yes, Lord, I remember. And yes, I did.
“Would you make those same choices again?”
Yes, I would! Which is exactly why I hoped they would see what their choices are leading th__ …
“Shhhh…you and I both know the ache of sin and the joy of triumph over it. You came to trust Me. So keep on making your thousand little life-giving choices and trust Me for this one too.”
Perched in the Tree of Life is a lot more comforting and truth-filled than shinnying up that other tree…
I’ll skooch over on the limb…while we stay tuned for part three.
Shammahs Field LLC/Shammah Ministries is the biblical counseling, life coaching, and spiritual growth ministry entrusted to Wayne & Nancy Bentz. You can learn more about the resources they have to offer at www.shammahsfield.com.