Journey of the Soul: A Practical Guide . . . (Revell, 2021)
Bill and Kristi Gaultiere coauthored Journey of the Soul: A Practical Guide to Emotional and Spiritual Growth in 2021. In addition, Bill and Kristi founded Soul Shepherding, a nonprofit ministry, in 2009. To write this book, the authors drew on more than 70,000 hours of providing therapy and spiritual direction. As a result, Bill and Kristi used this data to develop the CHRIST stages of faith. Because you’re a soul on a journey with Jesus, your whole person needs shepherding with empathy and wisdom tailored for you. Therefore, your soul is actually your whole person. It flows out from deep inside you.
Furthermore, the authors stress, you make circular, rather than linear, progress through the CHRIST stages. Also, each stage provides the opportunity to grow in Christ’s grace. Yet, grace means more than forgiveness or a transaction that happened at the cross. According to Dallas Willard, as disciples of Jesus we’re designed to burn grace like a jet plane burns fuel on takeoff. God’s favor comes with power. But in the C Stage, the Holy Spirit whispers and woos us with a gentle, persistent love. Above all, your precious and unique story of faith needs to be nurtured and developed. And, our image of God is less about theology and more about knee-ology: how we experience God when we pray.
Moving on to the H Stage, Bill and Kristi observe that discipleship often minimizes emotions, even though they’re just as important as thinking. Hence, integrating feeling and thinking enables us to dance with Jesus in His Kingdom of Love. Mentoring also plays a major role in this stage. Thus, as you proceed to the R Stage you shine a light for Christ as you share blessings realized, lessons learned, and God-given gifts. Most significantly, here you must place a high priority on soul care. Because, as the authors astutely observe, it’s a stark reality that organizations tend to eat servant souls.
However, in the Transition season, you either deny the stress and stay busy in the R Stage or process the pain to develop a deeper, more authentic faith in the I Stage. Therefore, when you find yourself at The Wall, you need the freedom to do nothing with Jesus. Thus refreshed, you learn inside-out spirituality. You find joy and confidence in the spiritual realities of Christ’s cross and kingdom. In addition, empathy is crucial to progressing in this stage.
Consequently, Bill and Kristi liken the S Stage to catching the wind of the Holy Spirit in your sails. So, you wait for the Holy Spirit to move your thoughts and emotions in the right direction. In other words, abandoning outcomes to God. Finally, your journey of the soul with Jesus is one of increasing submission to God. This life of devotion culminates in the T Stage. At this stage, practicing God’s presence becomes habitual and natural as you rely on the Holy Spirit. Without any conscious awareness of the process. You come to deeply believe in God’s special purpose for your life. Works of love represent your response to the Spirit’s gracious initiative and power.