For the past ten years I've been running experiments on myself. Not the creepy, mad scientist kind, but the little, everyday kind to improve my physical and mental well-being. You know, what happens if I stop using my phone first thing in the morning, does a gratitude practice really work, and do I feel more energized eating this way or that way?
Along the way, I started spending more time reading information about health and "how to be a better person" than I did reading the Bible. As a Christian this was not good and the path I was walking slowly became wider and wider. I was engaged in practices that were definitely not Christian, like meditation, as well as some activities that were questionable. Without even realizing it, I had been sucked into the post-modernist thinking that everyone had their own truth and the self-help lies that if I just tried harder then everything would change for the best.
Thank God for His mercy. He opened my eyes and ears so that I could see what I was doing was wrong and I could hear Him calling me back to Him. I repented and knew I had to turn 100% to Him. I'm still learning each day, trying to let go of what I think is best, and follow Jesus. I want my actions to reflect what Jesus said in Matthew 22:37 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."
As I dropped what didn't glorify God and began to be more conscious of what I was doing, I started to feel like coaching and positive psychology were hollow offerings. Practices from those subjects have helped me but, I feel like it's only because at my core I know that I am a sinner saved only through the blood of Jesus Christ. Without Him, I am nothing. It is because of God that I am here and because of God that I am saved. There is nothing I can do on my own to save myself, that happens through the grace of God. So, I knew that if I was going to continue coaching and teaching positive psychology, it had to be secondary to the Word of God. Only the Word of God has the key to eternal salvation and all the information we need on how to live.
The more I read the Bible, the more I see how short I fall from the examples of godly living and the more I am humbled. It is with this perspective that I now approach coaching. It's no longer about making changes to live your best life now, it's about making changes to live a life in accordance with God's Word.
Together, in coaching, we can still tackle some of the same issues we did before - like how to change bad habits, change our eating for the better, learn how to make choices that support our physical and mental well-being, and more. Only now, we'll be doing it with a different 'why.' We're making these changes to bring glory to God not to ourselves. We want to rid ourselves of what's not working so that we are equipped to serve His Kingdom.
When I recognized that God was calling me to shift to Christian Life Coaching, I searched for others to connect with who would be good examples. My initial search was bleak. The coaches I saw advertising themselves as Christian were promoting practices that are definitely not aligned with Christian living. Things such as meditation - this was a confusing one for me at first because it is written in the Bible to meditate. However, I learned from Jessica Smith that we, as Christians, are called to ponder God's Word. Meditate in the Bible means to fill our minds with scripture not empty our minds. You can find a detailed breakdown of this on Jessica's site, here. I also saw coaches promoting the Enneagram. This is a "personality test" that is actually made up by a man who channeled the information. It also increases the focus on the self and decreases the focus on God.
Any recommended practices during our coaching session will be safe for Christians. Despite what the world tells us, we must strive to live according to our faith and Christian values. For example, there are hundreds of studies detailing the benefits of meditation, however, the practice as it is defined is not in alignment with following God's Word. I also recognize that sometimes things fall into a gray area and we might have differing convictions (Romans 14), so, rest assured that your beliefs will be respected in our coaching sessions.
Thank you for reading this far! I know this is an odd and rather long about me, however, I became weary with the way of the world and felt it necessary to be transparent in how I arrived at the decision to be a Christian Life Coach. I want you to know that I am continuing to learn from the Word of God and engage in a process of sanctification through prayer and repentance. When we come together for a coaching session, I am not the one with all the answers. I am here to serve you and together we can figure out what steps you need to take next to make the changes that God is calling you to make as well as the changes that will enable you to walk more closely with Him and serve His Kingdom.
Here's some information about my education:
I have a:
- Bachelor of Science in Psychology from one of the top public universities in the United States, Georgia Institute of Technology
- Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology - Making me one of 1,500 Certified Applied Positive Psychology Practitioners in the world
- Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology Coaching - The program is certified by the International Coaching Federation (ICF)
I also spent a few years as a research assistant in an Industrial Organizational Psychology lab so I got really good at finding errors in data and documents! You can bet I won't let the tiniest mistakes get by me!
I have been referenced as an expert on tips for human flourishing in these articles: