It was my very first class in the MFT master’s program, and the room was full of nervous energy as we settled into our seats, laptops at the ready, all eyes ahead on the seasoned professor who had trained hundreds, if not thousands of students before us. The class was Introduction to Counseling, and I would like to submit that the name “Introduction” was misleading from the git go…..
After the first hour of class, which consisted of learning basic therapeutic listening skills, Dr. R. then said the four words that for the first time (but certainly not the last!) made shivers climb up my spine and my palms begin to sweat. He said (all too gleefully, now that I recall…) “Now, you do it..”
Wait…what? Is there a worksheet or something we are teaming up for? Because I know you can’t mean what I think you mean….
We pulled up chairs, sat opposite of our partner, and after all of one whole hour of being in the MFT program, we indeed, “did it”; we took turns stepping into the roles of both therapist and client to get a feel for what it may be like for each. There was nervous laughter at first, and plenty of “I don’t know what to say” moments, but then a funny thing happened on the way to becoming a therapist….people started to relax and began to live into their roles a little more until you could sense the mood shift and people were actively listening – and also sharing. Dr. R. walked around the room, quietly correcting and affirming the efforts of newbie therapists who were getting their very first taste of the powerful effect of genuinely listening to and caring about the person sitting in front of them.
And I humbly admit – it was brilliant!
We seldom feel ready for the big things, regardless of how long we’ve been preparing. Whether it’s been one short hour or years in the making, there comes a point when we have to begin doing the thing that we have been preparing to do. It’s hard, it’s intimidating and it exposes our insecurities, but it’s also a necessary part of the journey, and one that is sure to hold lessons and insights that will never be found otherwise.
In the remarkable story of the feeding of the 5000, as told in Mark 6:30-44, I found a “now you do it” moment that I’ve not seen quite this way before. The disciples had just been sent out by Jesus to practice doing for themselves what they had seen Jesus do everywhere they went: preach the good news, heal the sick and cast out evil spirits. (Talk about a learning curve!)
They had just returned from this first attempt at ministry on their own, and were gathered around Jesus, telling him all about it, when the crowd grew so large, Jesus and the disciples got in a boat and rowed out for some privacy. When Jesus saw the people literally following them along the shore, his heart felt for them, and he came in close to shore and taught them until evening. The disciples (no doubt full of fresh authority after their victory tour), told Jesus to send the crowd into nearby towns to find food. And that’s when Jesus sounded a lot like Dr. R., when he looked at them (maybe even gleefully?) and said…
“You give them something to eat.”
And after nervous protestations and doubts of “how are we supposed to do this?”, they took the first step, gathered up 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, watched Jesus bless it, and witnessed one of the most notable miracles recorded in scripture.
Is there something your heart has been tugging at you to do? Maybe something you’ve been praying about or thinking about and just can’t seem to shake, but you’ve talked yourself out of being ready enough…young enough…educated enough….close to God enough….or whater the “not enough” is for you? Believe me – I know how hard new things can be! And….I also know the miraculous wonder of what can lie just on the other side of that first step when Jesus is the one lovingly saying to us, “Now you do it.”
Things to think about on Day 12. =)
Trusting and believing with you,
Shellie, have you been in my head? Reading my mind? My notes? Oh my goodness! What affirmation!