Setting priorities is an important counselor concern. Many counselees get themselves into trouble because they don’t do so. They intend to do something or other but, then, allow other subsequent interests to get in the way. As a result, their lives become chaotic, and they find themselves tangled up in minor matters. These take up valuable time and make it impossible to attend to priorities.
This problem can reach into every area of a person’s life. It not only has to do with time, but also with the expenditure of money. Giving to the church ought to be high a priority. The counselee may mean to do so, but if he doesn’t lay the church money from each paycheck aside first, before writing any other checks, he’s likely to run out of money before he gets around to doing so.
Interests are another area to think about. What one ought to take an interest in—something that honors the Lord, and edifies him, for example—he neglects because some lesser matter catches his attention before he can mark off time for the former.
The key to helping counselees with the matter of setting priorities lies in getting them to deliberately portion out their concerns in writing—with a timetable for accomplishing each goal—and then following these, regardless of all distractions.
Jesus was on a timetable. He said, “My time is not yet.” Then, toward the end of his ministry, He signaled that the hour had come. Now even though He was following a rigid schedule, He was careful not to draw up a schedule that was too tight to allow for occasional interruptions. They came, but they didn’t throw Him off of His schedule. How come? He built in time for interruptions from people. As a result, He was able to stop to bless children and to heal the woman with the bloody issue.
Good schedules inflexibly make priorities rigid, and fudge time equally so!
Is your counselee’s life chaotic? Is it filled with unfulfilled promises? Then put him to work drawing a schedule or there will be little hope for helping him.
Lack of orderly placing of items on a list to be followed, and following them, is a problem some counselors have as well. If you are ever going to help others solve this problem, you’ll have to get a handle on it yourself.
Check out our online courses, including, Introduction to Nouthetic Counseling and The Use of Scripture in Counseling, taught by Jay Adams!
Books related to counseling others:
- Competent to Counsel by Jay Adams
- The Christian Counselor’s Manual by Jay Adams
- How to Help People Change by Jay Adams
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The Christian Counselor’s New Testament and Proverbs, translated by Jay Adams
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