This week I was at Liberty University for a one-week intensive: COUN 321. Class was so much fun. Every morning we had lectures, and every afternoon we had practice time in small groups using our techniques. One afternoon, I played the client and the whole class practiced their counseling skills on me. Since I have a plethora to choose from, I decided to use a real-life scenario instead of making one up.
You have to understnad, I have had a chronic problem since childhood. It actually became manifest as I grew older and gained more responsibility and independence, but has plagued me my whole life….am I building enough suspense….I have a problem with chronic tardiness. In high school, I would sleep in to the last possible minute, take a 3 minute shower, chug down a bowl of cereal, and sprint out the door with wet hair (in Wisconsin winters) across the street to the school building. It was always a race to see if I could beat the first period bell. There actually was a computer class on the north side of the school that would watch me sprint through the snow in the mornings.
Despite my New Year’s resolutions and rather ambitious attempts, I never could change this pattern. Nearly every morning for four years it was the same scenario. Even when I started college, every morning, wet-haired Annie would be sprinting from her dorm on the hill to the cafeteria to smuggle a bagel and continue the race to her first class. The pattern continued after graduation as I took a position as an ESL teacher.
Three words: Poor Tracee Pelt.
We only had one car, so every morning my neighbor and co-worker Tracee had the privilege of picking me up so we could commute together. It only took one week before she quickly learned of my chronic tardiness problem. Every morning, she would call me to announce that she was leaving her house to pick me up (a 5-7 minute trip). Many mornings this was my wake-up call and I would test my limits to see how quickly I could get ready. Every morning Tracee would either be greeted by wet-hair Annie or greasy-haired Annie. Again…three words…poor Tracee Pelt.
Fast forward to March 2008. I felt like I was in a time warp as I ran around campus trying to get to my class on time. After doing this two mornings in a row, I told my class about my problem and they all practiced their counseling techniques on me. It was fun to hear everyone’s different perspectives and I gained a lot of insight as to the roots of the problem. Later that night as I told Colby about my day, he disagreed with some of the rather behavioristic advice that my professor gave me and said the root of my problem was self-centeredness. That’s why I love my husband.
Anyway, his advice was probably right and after reflecting on his thoughts, I repented and was FIVE MINUTES EARLY to every class the rest of the week. The class was cheering me on all week as I continued to make progress. I felt like I made a breakthrough in this area; it was really encouraging. I brought up other issues I needed help thinking through, and listened to others who were struggling with their own issues. At the end of the class, I felt like I had gone away to a rehabilitation center for therapy all week. I know God is using this counseling program to help me personally, and I pray it can someday help others as well.