"To know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God…” - Ephesians 3:19
This verse has long described my spiritual life. One day while reading it, my heart was captured by these words. The offer of the fullness of God, filling us through his love — how magnificent a concept. Tozer calls this pursuit the “heart’s happy exploration of the infinite riches of the Godhead.”
Over the years my pursuit has taken twists and turns, incorporating new knowledge or new practices, but the pursuit itself has remained steady. It was this pursuit that led me into seminary. I wanted to know God more and desired to be better equipped to invite others into a deeper intimacy with him. Prior to this time I’d had some mentors and encountered spiritual leaders that I respected, but had never heard of ’spiritual direction.’
In seminary, I soaked up my classes like a dry sponge. Church history was fascinating to me. I was challenged to think about the New Testament in new ways and even enjoyed systematic theology! Then at the end of my first year, I took a week long intensive on Spiritual Traditions and Practices. My professor was the first formal spiritual director that I had met. The way he taught and spoke about intimacy with Jesus had me hooked. And the class couldn’t have come at a better time. I was asking a lot of questions about my life and my walk with God, and I needed the space to explore them.
One of the days of class, we went up to a retreat center and had a day long silent retreat. It was interesting being up there with all my classmates and not being able to talk to any of them, but also refreshing to have an entire day to just spend with God. (Sidenote: Although I didn’t know it at the time, this silent retreat became in significant moment in my relationship with my wife Rachel. I ended up proposing at that retreat center.)
One of the assignments for the class was to create a rule of life that would guide our pursuit of God for the next six months. As part of my rule, I noted that I wanted to find a spiritual director. Once the class was over though, I quickly set my rule aside and focused on what was right in front of me, never finding a spiritual director. Two more of my professors would end up being spiritual directors, and the way they integrated academic theology and the spiritual life was profound and by the end of seminary I felt like I would want to be trained as a spiritual director someday.
By the time I was graduating though, I had already accepted a position at a church in Northern California, and I figured I would focus on settling in to my new job in a new state. Rachel and I did, however, want to find a training program for her once we got out here. After researching and settling on Sustainable Faith for her training, the leadership of our church asked if I had an interest in this as well. With their support and blessing, both Rachel and I were able to attend the training, where we learned and grew in our own walks with God as well as how to provide spiritual direction. As we journeyed with our cohort for two years, we learned the power of spiritual community in new ways! And CURATE came out of this experience.
Rachel and I both have benefitted so much from spiritual direction over the last 5 years, and we want to offer the same kind of spiritual hospitality to anyone who may come our way.