A backpacker told me that when he was weary on a remote stretch of the Pacific Coast Trail he encountered trail angels, who showed up out of nowhere with water, food, medicine, encouragement, and a map. . . . At times we all need a map with a big red star that says ‘You are here.!’ “- Bill Gaultiere
Coauthor Bill Gaultiere concludes Chapter 1 of Journey of the Soul with a brief description of their model for the CHRIST stages of faith:
- Confidence in Christ – as we receive God’s Spirit, we begin the great adventure of following Jesus Christ.
- Help in discipleship – through community with other Christians, we grow in God’s grace and practice spiritual disciplines.
- Responsibilities in ministry – must guard against becoming overly ambitious or failing to rely on God’s strength.
- (Through the wall) – find ourselves at The Wall due to overwork, spiritual dryness, a faith crisis, or suffering. Usually this occurs at the R stage and worked through in the I stage.
- Inner journey – come into a new intimacy with Jesus when we take courage to share our emotions and struggles with safe people and in prayer.
- Spirit-led ministry: here we learn a new way of serving, working with God in Jesus’ easy yoke. Rather than working for God in our own strength.
- Transforming union – our life and work increasingly centers on practicing the presence of the Trinity in all we do.
Above all, Bill underscores, you progress through the CHRIST stages of faith in a circular pattern. Thus, this pattern resembles a 3-D spiral. Because emotional and spiritual growth in God’s grace is an up and down journey. We move back and forth between these developmental phases. Furthermore, each stage presents an opportunity for growth in God’s grace.
Finally, three CHRIST stages stand on either side of The Wall (CHR and IST). Each half presents a different faith orientation and spirituality. Both are in tension. And since grace is unhurried, it’s important to take the time you need in each stage.
Today’s question: When have you encountered trail angels who offered hope and encouragement? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: Your Soul Kit – good to include Psalm 23″