Plan A - Small Group Community

When life isn't working as we have planned, God's plan is usually at work.

One of the main sessions at the Willow Creek Small Group Conference featured Henry Cloud, co-author of the "Boundaries" series and "How People Grow."

He shared that years ago, as a young Christian, he went through a period of depression when many of his life ideals weren't panning out for him. He prayed fervently to God that He would heal him—zap him and make him better. He said he thought that was God's "Plan A." He thought that was God's preferred way of working.

During his depression, he joined a small group Bible study that a fraternity brother of his invited him to—he thought, "What could it hurt?" In the group, Henry says, "I learned things about myself and how I related to people. The members of this group taught me that I was emotionally detached and did not let people get close to me. They showed me I knew very little about love and most of my life had been based on performance and accomplishment, not abiding intimacy. They challenged all of my relational patterns. When I was wrong, they confronted me. At first I felt bad and guilt-ridden when confronted, but later I learned the freedom that comes with being confronted in love. I found out people could discipline me and at the same time be for me and not against me. Another thing happened in this same community. The leaders said that I had a particular gift for understanding the Bible as it relates to counseling issues and the gift of insight into those matters. For my part, I was feeling an increasing desire to study the Bible. The two paths, the external one and the internal one, merged, and before long I knew God was calling me to go into the field of Christian counseling. One day, sometime later, I realized my depression and feelings of emptiness ...

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