Hello Reader. This week in the Christian calendar is known as Holy Week, the 7 days when Jesus changed things forever. As a Christian counselor, I find when we allow ourselves to enter into the practices of Holy Week as well as other times on the Christian calendar, we truly begin to live integrated, or whole, lives.
Most of my clients are seeking this integration of their emotions, thoughts, behaviors, goals, dreams and purpose with their daily lives. Counseling goals are most often a desire to see that integration in daily lives. When we are able to live as whole or integrated people, we are more confident, we are healthier, we are empowered, and goals become closer than before. This leads us to create a sustainable life rhythm of practices that support our whole person health.
Simply stated, when we follow the outline of practical life giving practices that God has shared with us through the Bible we find support for a rhythm that is truly life giving. Much of today’s culture does not support a healthy rhythm, much less allow us to live integrated lives. We often find ourselves tired, distracted, multi-tasking, and over stimulated.
Let’s look at some of the practices of Holy Week that help create an environment of integration.
- Worshipping and Welcoming the Presence of God – worship helps us on every level to come to God when we involve our mind, body and spirit. This might be with others or it might be on your own before God. There are wonderful ways to play music for your own worship time and to help teach your soul to welcome God. Worship might also include other art forms for you. Worship is a place we can both celebrate and lament within the same conversation with God.
- The Gift of Presence – As we consider the way Jesus invited his closest friends to stay with him and also as he moved intentionally throughout the week to minister to others, we can see the gift of presence. For us, think about a time when someone just spent time with you, just shared time with you; or think about a time when you were with a loved one and they said something like, “it’s just nice to be with you”, or “you just being here is great”; that is the gift of presence. Intentionally consider who you might share time with; or who you might call to share time with you. Presence is powerful to bring connection and integration.
- Coming Alongside with others – Similar to the gift of presence is the power of coming alongside with others in a time of comfort. We see Jesus giving this out each day of Holy Week and also asking for it too. When we pay attention to those around us who need comfort or encouragement we are literally coming alongside with another person. Maybe you could connect with someone if you need some comfort or encouragement, asking as Jesus did for them to pray with you. Or maybe you could watch for clues for someone near you that could use some comfort or encouragement. Comfort sounds like, “Wow, that’s really hard. I’m sorry/sad you are experiencing that now.”, “I don’t know what to say exactly but that’s really tough and I’m here with you.”. Encouragement might include some comfort and then include a pep talk that reaffirms the person’s identity.
- Last Supper Grieving — We are human and will all feel sadness, loss and grief. How we live this out is what determines if we grieve in healthy ways. If sadness, loss or grief is a part of your life or someone you love, don’t grieve alone. Invite others into the journey and into the need for hope. If you would like to see my packet on Grieving Well As A Community, please mention in the comments or contact me directly.
- Saturday silence – In Holy Week, Saturday is the day of silence as Jesus dealt death the final blow and his body rested in the tomb. For us we all experience “Saturday’s” as the time between when something is hurt and when it is healed. Our culture and our current society doesn’t often show us how to deal with this in-between time. We must allow ourselves the time to recognize the pain, remember how we have been cared for in the past, and be refreshed by the faithful hope that we can count on for healing to come.
- Celebrating new life – Maybe none of these apply for you now, maybe you are in a season of celebrating new life. Just like grieving, celebrating is best experienced with others. How could you invite others to celebrate with you? Where have you seen God bring resurrection and how can you share this to bring hope to others?
The Practices of Holy Week lead us to the rhythm of life in Christ with both hope and lament together. They help us live an integrated life within ourselves and with others, showing us intentional practices that help create a healthy whole-person rhythm. When these are combined, we are strengthened to move forward to our goals.
Connect with me and let me know how it goes!
Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She directs a counseling center in Austin, Texas and with husband David Lawrence co-leads the non-profit Renue.Me whose mission is to invest in the dreams of leaders in underprivileged communities around the world. Connect with her at www.lizlawrencelpc.com or www.renue.me
Photo from Pexels.com, Graphic on Canva