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  • Writer's pictureshelisloterbeek

My Story: The Slow Journey (aka #theslojourney) - Part I

I remember coming out of my mo...just kidding - I won't start there.

A few months ago I suggested to someone that it might be helpful if they reflected on their spiritual journey to see where they have come from and how they arrived where they were at that moment. Funny thing is that I had never done it myself. But it got me thinking, what if I were to do that?

What if you were to do that?

That's the thing though, I didn't know exactly where to start in the story of my journey. I know I will never "arrive". I suppose that's what makes life a journey. Sometimes we have specific beginnings to stories along the way in a journey, but there was always something that brought us to that point. In any case, here is my attempt at writing about my journey, my very slow journey.

I grew up with fields. Fields surrounding my house. Fields by the tennis court where I played countless hours in high school. Fields of corn in rural Ohio where I went to college. So it's not very surprising that fields showed up in an image of how I felt when I reflected on my spiritual journey.

It's not as pretty as the photos above. Picture me, laying down, flailing back and forth in a field, rolling around blindly, trying to grasp at something that I knew was there but couldn't quite figure out. Anything. Also, fields are itchy. Yeah, that's the place I was spiritually.

I won't bore you with all the details, but a rural girl grew up going to church, went to a Christian college where everyone leaves with at least a minor in Bible knowledge, I worked for a faith-based non-profit where we had weekly chapel, worked in a church in outreach and had done my fair share of Beth Moore bible studies (still love her, but there are only so many to do in a lifetime). There were even times I knew God was speaking to me in that time even though that wasn't something I grew up learning about. But I had come to a place where I longed for more and I didn't know what it was or looked like.

Do you feel a longing for something more?

After a lot of googling (read "YEARS of random google searches on things like 'new monasticism'") I literally stumbled upon this thing called spiritual direction. I had never heard of such a thing, but it sounded like something I was looking for. Someone to talk to about my spiritual life. Something I wasn't sure anyone else wanted to listen to. Something I wasn't sure I WANTED anyone I knew to listen to.

Are there things you want to talk about, but don't know who would want to listen? Or who you would WANT to listen?

So throwing caution to the wind - oh wait, just kidding, after months of agonizing and praying I enrolled in a program to become a spiritual director. And then I went to see one. You know, to see what I had gotten myself into...

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