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Connecting the Dots

Connecting the Dots
 

As a kid, did you ever play ‘connect the dots’?  You know – the game where there were numbered dots on the page and you began at one, drew a straight line to two, then to three and so on until you completed it and the picture emerged. I loved doing that.  I would always try to guess what it was before I had completed connecting all the numbers.

connectthedots

Sometimes I still feel as if I am playing a cosmic ‘connect the dots’.  Things, that may be seemingly unrelated, will be happening in my life and I will wonder if there might be a connection.  Is there something that ties them together to form a bigger picture?

Then, in high school, I remember the class being shown a picture and being asked to identify what we saw.  Some of us said, “The faces of two women facing each other.”  Others said, “A vase”.  Once I heard someone else say that they saw something different, I could see it too.  I just needed their perspective to open a way for me to ‘see’.

illusion

Why am I talking about all of this? To highlight some of the benefits of having a spiritual director.  You may be asking yourself, “What is a spiritual director?” That’s a great question.  A spiritual director is a trained individual who sits with you, listens to your story and helps you discern where God is engaging you.  A director doesn’t tell you what God is doing in your life but helps you perceive His  presence through holy listening (listening to you and to the Holy Spirit) and asking spiritually formative questions.  A director can help you by offering you some spiritual practices that increase your awareness and attentiveness to God – like silence and solitude, daily examen, or lectio divina (sacred reading of scripture).  He or she can often help you ‘connect the dots’ as you talk about things that may seem unrelated but actually are part of a larger picture.  They can even offer a different way to view events or circumstances, through a lens acknowledging God’s presence in all that is our life.

As people in ministry who are caring for the spiritual needs of others, be it full time or part-time, professional or lay, we need to be attentive to our own life with God.  We can’t be so naïve as to think we will just ‘catch’ on to what God has for us, what He is doing in our lives.  We are called to a higher standard and part of that is tending our own soul.  A good spiritual director can help us do that.

 No matter how old I am are, my prayer is that I would never think I know it all or have it all down.  This God we serve is as complex and layered as is our on-going relationship with Him.  So – there is no age limit, no graduate or doctorate degree, no professional title that puts us beyond the need to continue to discover what God is doing in our lives.

If you have a director, good for you.  If you don’t, please consider at least trying it.   He or she may just be able to help you ‘connect the dots’.

Deb Turnow
Executive Director at Kavanna House
Deb Turnow is the Executive Director of Kavanna House, a spiritual formation center in York, Pa. Prior to that role, she was the Director of Spiritual Direction at Living Word Community Church in York. She has a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from York College in Pennsylvania and a M.A. in Spiritual Formation and Leadership from Spring Arbor University. She is also a graduate of the Spiritual Guidance Program at Shalem Institute. She is currently studying at San Francisco Theological Seminary. She is a certified spiritual director and also provides supervision for spiritual directors. She and her husband Jeff, live in York, PA.