Part of our exploration this summer as a church on God’s calling of Abraham, naturally draws us to reflect on the calling God has placed on our own lives as well. The Granite Springs Counseling Center recently launched and lead counselor, Dustin Bridges, shares below his encounter with God’s call that has led him to where he is today.
My own life journey has been one of deepening faith in the midst of doubt. I did not grow up in the church, and to be honest, my parents had had negative experiences with the church during their childhood. My own life, growing up, was immersed in sports and academics. Being the eldest son, I internalized the message that success in life was measured by performance. Yet, as a child and teenager, at a deeper level, there was always something gnawing at me. I did not feel comfortable in my own skin, I felt like “if people really knew who I was underneath the performance they would see how broken I was.” These competing forces in my life of performance and insignificance led me to seek out relief for the anxiety and fear that constantly ate away at me.
The relief I sought was in drinking and partying with friends in high school and college and it worked. I felt alive and like I belonged without having to prove myself or accomplish the next academic or athletic feet. However, such relief was fleeting and I was always left feeling remorseful and more empty.
In my mid-twenties, after a series of difficult experiences, I found myself physically and emotionally bankrupt. This was moment of clarity, and as I look back on that time I see now that God was breaking into my life. He was calling me out of the only solution for dealing with life that I had known into a deeper and more expansive life. This call on my life was a promise one that I had to learn to live into by faith.
I have been given so much and each step of the way has been a challenge by God asking me to step out into the unknown with deepening trust. The anxiety and fear still like to make constant appearances, telling me “it is better to stay where you are, or even yet, better to go back to where you came from. It is safer there and you know what to expect.” But on this journey of faith I have learned that it’s not about making the anxiety and fear go away but rather about listening for God’s voice in their midst and walking with faith to the best of my ability supported by God’s steadfast love and grace.
Being a therapist is a call within a call for me. That is, first and foremost, I am called a beloved child of God and invited to learn to live from such a deep truth. From such a profound place of identity I eventually discerned the call to help others as a therapist. For me, I see this calling as an extension of who I am and what I have received. In meeting with clients, I seek with them to encounter God’s call on their life and walk a while alongside them on their journey into such a call. My own experience has been one of experiencing the tension of faith and doubt, so I hope to cultivate a space for my clients where both can be present and accepted for what they are. It takes courage to be open to looking at places of doubt in our lives and even more courage to decide to continue the journey by faith despite our doubts.
For more information on the counseling center and the work Dustin is doing check out http://granitesprings.org/counseling