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Spiritual Formation and Direction

“Spiritual Formation is the process of being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others.”  

M. Robert Mullholland JrInvitation to a Journey

As spiritual beings we are always being spiritually formed. The question is, into what?  Are we being formed into Christ or something else?  As a follower of Jesus, I pursue being conformed to the image of Christ.  As a spiritual director, my goal is to assist people in exploring their own spirituality, whatever that may look like.

My decision to study and offer spiritual formation and direction as a ministry was birthed out of my desire to see those around me them come into a deeper, more personal relationship with God.   Life can be challenging.  In order to live well, we need to be deeply rooted into that which sustains and feeds us.  The aim of of spiritual formation and direction is to help you discover what those things are as you grow into a deeper, more vibrant experience of God.

Several years ago, I had a picture while engaged in a time of prayer and worship with the church staff where I was serving.  I’d like to share it with you here:

As we were singing a song that talked about shaking the ground and longing for revival I saw a picture of a tree with very deep roots, that even as the ground was shaking, it was stable, deeply rooted. (This was the phrase that kept recurring).

There were two thoughts that came with this. The first was that even though the ground was shaking, that because the tree was deeply rooted, it would not be harmed by the quake.   The second, as we continued to sing, was a sense that the ground was shaken so that the roots could go deeper.  That as the hardened soil was broken up the roots could grow downward; that the purpose of revival is to break up the ground so that we can be more deeply rooted in him.

Then he showed me several really large trees that I had seen the previous Thursday on my retreat day.  All of them were really large trees that had been blown over by the derecho the previous year.  What all of them had in common was that their root systems were very broad, but not deeply rooted.   He pointed out two things: the age of the trees and the root structure.  These were old trees, mature trees, yet they were blown over in the wind.  They didn’t finish well because their roots were shallow and there was nothing to anchor them in the face of a serious storm.    Then he reminded me of the maple tree at my old house; very mature and deeply rooted.  It was damaged by the storm; but not uprooted.  It survived.  It has some scars, but is finishing well.

There is really no way to tell if a tree is deeply rooted until the storm comes and blows against the tree.  I am a follower of Jesus, as such I need to be deeply rooted in relationship with him. As spiritual seekers, we all need to be rooted in God as we understand God.

Deep roots take time to develop.  As we seek to develop deep roots within ourselves and within our communities, let us remember that it takes time.  We cannot force a tree to grow deep roots.  We can provide good soil and optimal conditions, but we cannot impose growth upon the tree.







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