The purpose of this paper is to show my own opinion on several views of vocational decision making. I will show my own position on religious discernment by introducing different phases of my life that brought me to choosing a career in the school counseling field. I’ll be looking at Horton’s 2009 article “Discerning Spiritual Discernment: Assessing Current Approaches for Understanding God’s Will”, specifically a survey at the end of the article. Finally, I’ll be looking at myself and how my own personal influences can help my clients process their fears and ultimately take away their concerns by helping them move forward in the decision making process.
My road of decision making for my life has taken many paths throughout the years. I personally thought when I was younger I wanted to pursue a career in business. My decision making process eliminated other degrees and I chose to receive an undergraduate degree in Health Services Administration. I never got into the health field as I was a general manager of the campus bookstore and café along with head basketball coach at the college I graduated from. I always kept my faith that God would allow me to find my place and continues to do so. “God has a perfect plan for all individuals and seeks to reveal that plan to them” (Horton, 2009). I’ve been raised in a Christian family and we have built our foundation on trusting in Jesus. The strong faith that I have has helped me work through the different roads I’ve taken during my decision making process for a career. I wouldn’t want to go through this process any other way. The decision making survey informed us of the following: how to use common sense, using the Bible, accessing opportunities, getting other opinions, prayer, particular curiosities, looking to God for an answer, serving others with your abilities, and showing good character (Horton, 2009). Decisions can be made on our spiritual or non-spiritual beliefs. A Christian will and non-Christian will have a different thought process when they are going through their decision-making process. There will be similarities and differences in the process such as both will be concerned if their family approves, how it will make themselves look, and will relationships be lost. The Christian however will focus on if God approves. Since I was little I have always used the saying what would Jesus do. The simple saying even when faced with hard decisions between right and wrong has kept me from crossing the line. I’ve been raised all my life in a Christian family but there is always temptation in the world. We live in a sinful world where it is hard to live by our Christian values. The world makes it much easier to do what everyone else is doing. We as Christians must be strong and hold on to our values. By surrounding ourselves around individuals who are also making good decisions it makes our decision making process easier. To follow our faith and be strong with the Holy Spirit and do what it is calling us to do is much easier when others around us are following the same path. Friesen’s spiritual discernment approaches are the following: Bull’s Eye Approach, Wisdom Approach, and Relationship Formation Approach (Horton, 2009). The Bull’s Eye Approach which I have already mentioned as the decision making process I follow by “God has a detailed plan for your life”. In order to follow this approach, it is important to continue to make the right decisions and believe that the decisions you’re making are ones God has laid out for you. The Wisdom Approach is exactly what it sounds like, using your God given reasoning skills to make wise decisions. With the Wisdom Approach you’re able to look use your strengths and abilities to determine for yourself what your decision should be. Again this is also used by myself because you have to be able to rely on your own God given abilities to succeed and move forward. God has given me so many abilities and talents that it is on me now to do what he is calling for me. I believe you can follow the Bull’s Eye Approach and continually use the Wisdom Approach. My career has taken so many paths and I continually move forward with the power of the Holy Spirit. I believe everything is happening for a reason to put me where I am now. The third approach is the Relationship Formation Approach. The proponents of this approach believe that Christians have a great amount of freedom because God has not predetermined a specific path for their lives (Horton, 2009). I continually see how this approach is also correct. God has given each of us free will to make whatever decision we want. He hasn’t made us robots that follow every command that he has placed in front of us. It is our job to determine right and wrong from the tool he’s provided “the Bible”. God is in no way 100% the Bulls Eye Approach or the Relationship Formation Approach. We are our own self that has been given the opportunity to move forward and do the things Jesus Christ has set out for us to do or fall to the Devil’s will and fail to move forward. I know it is important to continually grow with the experiences and decisions I have been through to in order to use my decision making abilities to help those who come to me as a school counselor.
Past and Present Influences
I grew up in a Christian home from birth. I gave my life to Christ at a very young age and lived a life from day one on this Earth. My parents have remained together to this day which has helped create a solid foundation for myself and my siblings. We have seen the decisions they have made throughout their lives. My parents focused on never making a decision without prayer. I have in turn put that into my decision making process which have been pursued through much prayer, scripture and wise counsel (Horton, 2009). The process as a whole has been easy to follow because I have witnessed my parents follow the same process and give all the glory to God for their blessings. One experience in particular that really shaped our family was when I was 10 years old my dad lost his job. It around March because I remember it was awesome having him home all summer. However, it was not awesome for my dad as he was struggling with depression not working and providing for his family. My mother told me what was going on because I would never had understood by witnessing at my young age. My parents stuck strong and followed Hebrews 11 which states “now faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see. My parents instilled into me to have faith always through any scenario. I couldn’t be more grateful than I already am that they did that. I lean on my faith daily with the decisions I make. Now in no means does this mean because I have faith and because I’ve been a born again Christian my whole life that I’ve had easy decisions to make. I’ve mentioned I’ve traveled a lot of roads to get where I am now and I haven’t always made the right decision. I don’t have any regret but I know that I presented the Lord a selfish follower with some of the decisions he presented me. I chose wrong and that blame is on me. I however didn’t have a school counselor who was there to help me choose the correct college. I didn’t have a mentor who was a little older than me to push me a little more and get me where I needed to be. I had a loving family who wanted the best for me but allowed me to make my own decisions and learn from them. The path that I’m on now to reach out to others and provide them their best opportunity to succeed and move forward where they need to be has presented me with the most happiness of my life. Without doubt God has blessed me and provided the opportunity at hand for me to do his work. Thankfully the general manager position I had allowed me to work with school counselors who were buying books for their students attending pre-college classes. I spent time with them and picked their brains on the profession. Finally, all the material clicked and the decision was made that a school counselor was the profession for me. The easy way would have been God placing me in the undergraduate classes once I finished high school. Graduating with a degree getting a job where I interned. God doesn’t always design your life to be easy or hard, it is your job to use the tools provided by him to figure it out. I’m truly grateful for the decisions I have made. I wouldn’t have been able to make these decisions without prayer and my faith. I have called out to God and questioned if what I was doing was the right calling. I now know that it wasn’t and he opened new doors for which has truly led me to my passion of giving. I continually pray asking for guidance and thanking him for continually helping me move forward in my journey of my career choice. I wouldn’t have gotten this far without him and won’t be able to move forward without him. The use of spiritual discernment in my life has allowed me to accomplish all that I have. I truly can understand the path that I’m on because of it and see all that God has provided for me.
The first thing I’ll do is look at my client’s life contexts. I will want to see what approach she has been taking in life all along. I will then listen to everything she has to say and also ask detailed questions on her past. Again, I will listen to everything she mentions. I will then challenge myself to think outside of the box. “By challenging ourselves to consider clients career and life choices from different theoretical frameworks, we can view their worlds through a variety of lenses, each bringing a distinct focus to the work” (Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2017).
My job as the counselor is to help her cope with the situation. By doing so I need to provide the best support I can. Establishing an effective relationship between myself and the client is an essential first step in the career counseling process (Niles & Bowlsbey, 2017). She has little work experience and limited self-knowledge to draw upon in her career planning so she may be tentative and insecure with the decision making process (Niles & Bowlsbey, 2017). The first thing I can’t do is think what would I do in this situation. We must figure out who the person is we’re working with. Once we do all of the following we can begin the process to help the client move forward. By moving forward will present the client with some goals to be accomplished and we will begin our journey. Now that the process has started I will reach out to any and all resources I know of that can assist us. I will then sit down with the client and look at some simple things. I want the client to look at herself first before we look at what God has in store for her. The following statements come from Vocational Decision Making to Career Building: “know yourself, believe in yourself, focus on the journey not the destination, you aren’t alone, use the services provided for you, change is constant and will bring new opportunities, learning is ongoing and you’ll continue to learn” (Jarvis & Keeley, 2003). This is the first step for the client to realize she doesn’t have to be perfect but know herself, know her values, and know that God loves her. She needs to realize that she has a strong foundation no matter what decision she goes with. She also must see that change is always happening. The last thing the client needs to know that she will forever be learning about knew things and if one thing isn’t clicking right now something might later on.
I must be there for her whether the difficulties stern from a lack of knowledge about the decision-making process or dysfunctional beliefs that are hindering progress (Gati & Levin, 2014, June). Emotional support involves providing caring, trust, and empathy to her (Niles & Bowlsbey, 2017). I will make sure she knows that in no way I’m choosing for her because I’ve been through this process with myself or others. I have however gained trust from her I’m able to dig deeper into things that have made her who she is today such as: religious past, religious future, family background, her own belief in life, who she hangs out with, and life experiences. I can then share my own life experiences with her to give her the feeling that she isn’t alone on this topic. I mentioned earlier in the paper that I’ve gone down many roads and this one just so happened led me to where I am today. I will inform her of that and make sure she knows this process doesn’t happen overnight for everyone so it is okay to have feelings of anxiousness. Hortons, 2009 survey is something that applies in this scenario. My client can see first-hand different approaches and sit back and take time to pray about which approach God is calling for her. My job is to provide her with every opportunity to move forward and feel good about the decision she chooses. We don’t know if it is the decision God is calling her to do but we do know is she will have put faith in God and allowed him to help her make the decision. Being able to do this decision making process the right way allows my client to feel at ease when moving forward. Hopefully she has chosen the right path and won’t have any regrets but we can’t predict the future. What we can do is provide the tools to accomplish the situation when it presents itself and put our faith in Jesus Christ to allow the proper outcome to take place.
This process isn’t easy but it is worthwhile. I’ve learned from every individual I’ve come across in life. I’ve seen how lives are impacted with and without Jesus Christ in their life. I will never be able to predict the future but I will hold strong to my faith and always believe by doing so I will continually be blessed by my Lord and Jesus Christ. We aren’t on this earth for very long so it is our job to deliver his message to as many people as we can. Share his word and his way to all we come across to get as many individuals saved and receive Jesus Christ as their savior.
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