August 25, 2019

356 Days of the Great Names of God, Day 268: Spirit of Counsel

Spirit of Counsel

"Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD." (Isaiah 11:1,2 NLT)

My high-schooler is trying something new this year. The focus of the team she's just joined is very much inside her comfort zone, but when it comes to merging with other girls who've been around longer, my daughter is decidedly uncomfortable.

When I picked her up from practice a couple weeks ago, she mentioned she was feeling like an outsider. I was trying to dredge up some sort of wise counsel to offer her when she said, "I talked to Sissy about it." I loved the way the Spirit of Counsel visited my teenager in one of the many ways at His disposal: in the person of a person in our lives. 

I could certainly understand my daughter's unease: both my daughters are, like their mother, naturally hesitant about meeting new people and doing new things. But sometimes we experience what I think of as holy hesitation: a restraining or a holding back...something that won't quite let us take a step forward. When I sense this, I have to ask: am I hesitating because of unfounded fear based on the lies of the enemy or because the Spirit of Counsel is speaking truth and protection to me? Am I hesitating because I'm going someplace I shouldn't be going or because I'm going someplace new and good but unfamiliar?

The Spirit of Counsel is not some stingy miser, tossing us a few crumbs and standing by with his arms crossed waiting to see if we'll pick up the trail. He wants us to get it right, so He reaches out, takes us by the hand, and leads us along. If it's truly *holy* hesitation we feel, it will not be driven by "a spirit of fear and timidity" (2 Timothy 1:7) but of "power, love, and self discipline." 

Years ago, when I worked with our church's midweek children's program, I taught 2 Timothy 1:7 with motions to help the kids remember it. I don't know if that trick worked for them, but all these years later, I remember it (which is saying a lot). I still say that verse this way: "God has not given us a spirit of fear [widen eyes and make a knee-knocking motion] but of power [strong arms motion], love [classic hands-crossed-over-the-chest love motion] and self-discipline [stomp foot convincingly]."

If the Spirit counsels me with holy hesitation, I pray I'll recognize it and heed it. When He releases me to move forward, I pray I'll do that with power, love, and [stomp!] self-discipline.

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I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year-old that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!