Personal Spirituality Remodel: Introduction

Part 1 of 5 :: Introduction

The following blog posts encapsulate themes and events of my introduction to spiritual direction. All first year students at Seattle Pacific Seminary are required to enroll in practicum as part of the abbey component of the seminary.  This is a time for exploring the intersections of the triad core courses and discover the practical implications for ministry and ones life.  One of the requirements of this formational core course is the production of a project. Typically creativity is not my strength and I was lost on how to use the two credits effectively during winter quarter. I wasn’t interested in writing a paper about a boring topic, nor did I desire to further conversations on technology and theology  I wanted to embark on something different. Concurrent of needing to decide and present my practicum project proposal quickly, my personal and academic life collided and a project idea presented itself.

I love God. I am a Christian. I love Jesus. I love the Church, mostly. However, for some reason, these truths are not producing excitement or encouraging depth in my relationship with God. Since graduating from a small Lutheran college in 2007 the burning flame of God in my heart dimmed to a small spark here and there. The transformation power of God fizzled. It feels as if God’s overwhelming presence left when I completed my academic studies in a faithful and beautiful spiritual community.

Where was this God that I love? The God who I say I am in a relationship with.

Why do I not like to pray like I use to?

What is the point of prayer?

Does God hear my prayer and does God even care?

Do my prayers, or lack of, impact God’s mind?

What is prayer at its core?

These, and numerous more, are the questions that I’ve wrestled with continually since college. My “ignorance is bliss” was no longer helpful because I knew (saber) more God than before, but I started to realized the lack of actually knowing (conocer) God.

I strongly believe that God introduces unique people in my life for prophetic reasons, serendipitous if you will. On such an occasion God orchestrated a conversation with a beloved friend from college, Katie. During this cold, rainy, and windy Seattle winter night in a rather empty Queen Anne restaurant, she told me about spiritual direction. A seminarian herself at a different Seattle seminary, introduced me to the whole concept of spiritual direction and encouraged me to meet with a spiritual director who could listen and help provide encouragement and slowly open my heart to new experiences of God. During a night of Church ranting, musings, and storytelling, she sparked a new direction for my life.

This dinner was revolutionary and it embarked me on this path of discovering what spiritual guidance looks like for my life. I connected with a recommended spiritual director and met with him three times in the past couple months. As I was thinking about what I could do for my practicum project this personal “remodeling project” of my spiritual life seemed to be a great option. My hope is and continues to be that I might encounter God, the one who calls me a beloved child, in new and refreshing authentic ways.

The following posts will share about my three meeting presented with a recurring theme: Ryan’s personal spirituality remodel.

Note: saber and conocer are Spanish verbs for the English word know. Saber is used for knowing information and conocer is used when speaking of a intimate relationship, when you know someone. Since taking four years of Spanish in high school I often turn to Spanish words that reveal a stronger meaning for me compared with the English equivalent.

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