Poore visits Psychotheripist.Thinking,Feelings,Actions

About 15 years ago after a serious heart attack I had a conversation with my physician.My doctor was a mormon.He was also my friend.I told him that I was having a difficult time with depression and could not sleep at night.My concern was that I did not want medicine for depression or sleep,but I knew that I needed help.

He suggested that I see a Psychotherapist,Dr.Frank Green in Wake Forest,N.C.I had never been to a Psychotherapist and preached against them.I now believe that probably everyone(especially Southern Baptist pastors need to pay a visit to the good Doctor).

When I walked into his office I had just come from leading a class at SEBTS where I was a facilitater in “Supervised ministry.”

I assumed that Dr.Green would have on a suit and tie.To my surprise he had on shorts,a casual shirt and white socks with flip flops.Dr.Green had a grey beard and reading glasses..the kind that fit way done on your nose.

After a brief conversation,he paused for a few moments and said,What are you feeling?”I immediately told him “how”I was feeling.He said,”that’s not what I asked you,I want to know “what”you are feeling.To my dismay, I began to weep and said,”I’ve never thought much about “what” I was feeling,my concern has been what others are feeling.”I started on a profitable journey that day that saved my life.My feelings…love,anger,fear,despair,joy,hate and many more emotions are important and must be dealt with daily.

Dr.Green said,’When you go on vacation,do you take your theological books with you?Does everything you do center around your ministry without giving attention to your personal feelings?Do you know how to relax?Are you happy when you are not preaching or preparing to minister?IAnd on and on he went..nailing my hide to the wall.

Here is what he said to me that day.”Your biggest problem is…control.”You try to control your church,your home and everything that is going on.He said basically that I had to stop trying to control everything and everybody.I learned in the coming weeks that our emotions are important.Men tend to suppress their emotions like a real man.If you doubt what I’m saying,just ask a man sometime,”what are you feeling?I’ll bet you he will tell you how he is feeling.

When Dr.Green shared with me that…what we think affects our emotions(feelings) and our feelings affect our actions,I began to see that…right thinking leads to right emotions and right thinking and right feelings lead to right actions,my life began to change and it still is today.

Dr.Green suggested an excellent book for me to read,”Unlocking The Mystery of Your Emotions by Dr.Archibald D.Hart,who is a christian Psychotherapist.Dr.Hart maintains a private clinical practice specializing in ministers and their families.My copy is worn and held together by tape.I have used it in counseling other people.A fellow church member years ago asked me to counsel his wife who was suicidal.I met with her and shared with her the Biblical principles in Hart’s book.I also suggested that she see Dr.Green and she did.After awhile she said to me,”I want to thank you.You saved my life.”And may I say that knowing Christ as my Lord and with the help of Dr.Green and Dr.Hart my life was saved from an early death.

Sixteen months ago,our oldest son,Jay died .He died on his 33rd birthday leaving behind a wife and 6 month old baby girl.For several weeks I devoured the Psalms and re-read Hart’s book.I have not hesitated to deal with what I am feeling as well as how I’m feeling.

For those of you who think that emotions are for women and girly men,I feel sorry for you.I once thought that way,but I am free at last. Right Thinking…feeling…acting.Simple but profound.Simply profound.

Three books that I recommend other than the best…The Bible are:

1.The Velveteen Rabbit(one of my favorites).

2.All books by Dr.Archibald Hart.

3.Reaching for the Invisible God.Philip Yancey.

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Explore posts in the same categories: calvary baptist church, depression, Grieving for dummies, Haley Poore, How to grieve., Insecure pastors, Jay Poore, Uncategorized

9 Comments on “Poore visits Psychotheripist.Thinking,Feelings,Actions”

  1. Les Puryear Says:

    Bill,

    I’m confused. What’s the difference between “what” I’m feeling and “how” I’m feeling?
    If someone asks me “how” I’m feeling, I might say “angry.” If someone asks me “what” I’m feeling, I also might say “angry.” I don’t see the distinction.

    Les

  2. Bill Poore Says:

    Les,
    Please don’t confuse me with the “facts”,my mind is made up.
    Often when you ask someone,”How are you feeling”he or she probably will tell you what they are “thinking”,not what they are “feeling.”Most of the time when I ask,”how are you feeling,they respond,I’m doing fine.”People confuse thoughts with feelings.
    “I feel that I should return that suit I bought.”Or I feel that my wife is mad because I forgot her birthday.Here “I feel” really means “I think.”Recognizing and labeling feelings is very difficult for most people.
    To me,”What you are feeling”entails being honest about our emotions,feelings.We are able to label them.Knowing what they are enables us to deal with them.Instead of responding,”I feel fine”we may say,”I’m angry,hurt,despondet,filled with rage,etc.That is what I am feeling.
    Perhaps you have been confronted with a deacon who is red in the face and foaming at the mouth.Ask him if he is angry…his response..of course I’m not angry.Sadly we christians hide our emotions and say,”I am doing great.”Feeling good.
    One reason I enjoy poetry is that poets describe what they are feeling,not necessarily what they thinking.At least it works for me.
    bp

  3. Les Puryear Says:

    Bill,

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Les

  4. Quinn Hooks Says:

    Thanks for this post, Bill. I can use this book you mentioned as a source in my studies. 🙂

  5. pastorinthewoods Says:

    I went on vacation last week and when I arrived I realized I had forgotten everything, even my Bible. I think I am suffering from being out of control. I have always been blessed with the gift or curse of “out of sight, out of mind.” I am not sure that serves me well.

    I appreciate your thoughts here because it is something that leaders do not like to talk about. I am convinced that pastors lack relationships because we will not tear down the walls and let people see our joy and pain.

    I cannot think of a leader ,including myself , that is comfortable giving up control or looking human. However, when we sre control freeks that try to look like robots we will be scorned in private for not trusting others.

    Thank You,

    I hope you did not have to see the Dr. after helping me in supervised ministry

  6. Stuart Houston Says:

    Bill,

    Thank you for these words. I have bad bouts with depression and I can identify with what you are saying. I am not trying to tell you what to write (we all know that I have disagreed with you in the past), but I for one would like for you to write a few more posts on this. More Pastors than would ever “fess up” to it battle depression and we are either 1) ashamed to admit 2) to prideful to admit or 3)we don’t realize what it is that we are “going thru” (do you understand what I mean by that).

    Anyway, good stuff.

    Stuart


  7. Stuart.I understand what you mean.Men tend to “suppress” their emotions.That is what most of us were taught to do from the time we were born.
    bp

  8. Greg Bailey Says:

    The thinking feeling believing connection is a great theme of the Puritans. Ellis did a decent secular job of it, but engaging God in our Thoughts, Emotions and Trust/Belief is the only way to show up to the battle with loaded guns.
    I reccomend Burroughs “Precious Remedies for Satan’s Devices” and Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ “Spiritual Depression”. MLJ has a great quote…something to the idea of “do you realize that most of your problems come from listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?” A play off on the Puritan idea of preaching the Gospel to yourself everyday.
    Bill, I am not much for Arch, but I identify with your post very much. God used depression to call me to himself and some recurrent discouragement to push me towards the prize.
    In Christ Alone,
    Greg

  9. Greg Bailey Says:

    Sorry, Thomas Brooks on “Precious Remedies”, not Burroughs. J. Burroughs “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment”


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