The Self-Help Era

This is such a popular subject nowadays. A subject that has so many people running to the book stores for that newest self-help book or scouring the Internet for that newly famous self-help guru. It’s such a huge industry right now. How to heal yourself, how to heal others, how to become famous on this platform or that platform, how to better yourself in this area or that area, affirmations, and all the things. All. The. Things. There is so much out there.

I have seen so many with all varieties of topics. I’ve read some myself. I’ve used some affirmations, researched some of those big timer gurus too even. While I’m absolutely not against self-help or any of these people making literally millions, I do think some caution is needed when it comes to the big self-help culture.

Now before I get any negative comments, please here me out on this.. Hear my heart on this first.

I am in no way against any kind of self-help. And I’m not referring to counseling which I’m a very firm believer in. I’m also not against any person in this industry. I don’t hold any judgement to you or anyone that finds these types of things useful. I have used them and in some instances I guess you could say, still use them to some degree in parts of my life too. I think speaking positive things to ourselves is super important. Speaking truth, and loving ourselves is super important. Pushing ourselves to take big, new steps; also super important! I don’t discount that at all, in any way.

With that being said, as a Christian, I think we need to also use caution with these types of things. How quickly can we pick up that self help book to find what they have to say on topic x, y, or z. How easy is it to pop on a search engine and look for ways out of that icky feeling? Again, those things aren’t necessarily bad. But, and I may strike a nerve with some on this next point, and for that, I apologize, my only intention is to speak truth. I am not here to hurt anyone. Think of this though… How easy is it to make those things come before God? When did we stop asking God for advice and direction or help with x, y and z? Not only that, but for the Christian seeking Christ like wisdom; why are we first, turning to things that are sometimes so very far and so very different from what the word of God says, even before seeking God’s wisdom? Because it’s easier? And second (this is not directed toward any one in particular at all – just a general thought) but what are the fruits from these people, from their own wisdom they share other than money? Just some food for thought there.

Listen, I’m a sinner just like everyone else. I am so far from perfect! So no judgment here, I ask myself this question all the time when reading things.

In today’s culture it has become so popular to empower ourselves, and root for ourselves when the Bible says so differently…

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

John 15:5

Apart from me you can do nothing…

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:13

Through Him who strengthens me.

Can we do things on our own without God’s help? Sure. Does He allow us to do things on our own sometimes? Sure. Does He want us to use that grit and dig deep and push through and step out? Absolutely! He gives us free will and I definitely believe we have to work with God to make some changes happen.

But we are certainly not called to do it on our own.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”

John 14:16-17

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

John 14:26

Did you see that? The Holy Spirit, will teach you all things! Not some things; not, here’s a, b, and c, try and figure out what x, y, and z are.. ALL THINGS!

There’s also this scripture;

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;”

Proverbs 2:6

Are you lacking wisdom? Look what it says here;

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

James 1:5

He is THE answer! He has knit you together, formed every part of your heart and mind. He knows our hearts better than we do! He already knows our pasts, present and futures! Why on earth wouldn’t we go to Him who knows all, sees all, and can change all?! He has all the answers to every question we may have and yet we pay top dollar for someone to help us with advice which isn’t always good advice or even the advice we need. So often we are being deceived that we can do it all ourselves and we can’t, we were never meant to.

Me, personally, I think in the times that I really sought answers from other things or people was because I wanted the satisfaction of having control over situations and those changes. Instant gratification even. I wanted to be able to say I did that. But the fact was, I didn’t. The change I did make, the choice I made that actually made a difference in my self-help journey was picking up my Bible. Not picking up my phone or that self-help book, but praying and asking God for the answers. Seeking Him for wisdom before others, even friends and family. Affirmations? I love affirmations. But I began searching who God says I am and what He thinks of me, and writing those down!

It was realizing that I could make decisions on my own, which clearly shows I’m not very good at it. I could get answers from others, sometime people who don’t even know me, ok that’s a start. Or I could seek God who actually has all the answers. That was what changed for me. Clarity, knowledge, wisdom, better decision making. I had to realize how much I needed Him. It’s a daily struggle. It takes making that intentional decision to go to Him first every single day.

Again, I dont think any of those things are wrong, but remember to use caution. Don’t let those things become an idol before God. Don’t let them be your deciding factor or strength. Let God guide you. Let Him be your biggest example that you follow. He will never steer you wrong and He knows exactly what you need in order to succeed in whatever part of your journey that you’re on.

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

Proverbs 16:9

Bible 📸: Aaron Burden ~ Unsplash

Personal 📸: Jordan Carpenter

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