All thumbs in the kitchen? How about with the Big Guy? All thumbs in your relationship with Him? You know, recipes are helpful for achieving desired ends in the kitchen, a place where I am “all thumbs.” Some of us feel “all thumbs” when it comes to figuring out how to connect with the Big Guy. We may have some vague ideas, and we may be aware of some tools or utensils for use in cooking and in drawing near to the Big Guy, but a great recipe is just what the chef ordered.
Utensils of the trade
Some of us have knowledge of what a measuring cup is, what a colander is, etc., but have no idea how to use them to create a culinary delight. Some of us have knowledge of prayer, the Good Book, the value of spiritual mentors, etc., but we don’t know how to get started using them to achieve the desired outcome of a genuine, inspiring, contagious connection with the Big Guy.
The kitchen metaphor
There is a verse in the Good Book says: “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” So the kitchen metaphor is a good one. This post is the first of six in a series: a six-step “recipe” for spiritual growth using a well-defined, practical creative problem solving process.
Macaroni and cheese – follow the recipe
Remember macaroni and cheese in a box? You boil the noodles, spoon the cheese out of the can onto the cooked, steaming hot macaroni, and stir it all together. The result is…heaven. Well, close to it. I remember when I used to make it…fetching the empty box out of the trash three or four times to check the recipe during the process to confirm how many minutes it said to boil the macaroni. Yes, 12 minutes, that’s what I thought, but had to make sure. Having the recipe in hand was comforting and gave me confidence that my mac and cheese would be just right.
Recipes help with cooking. They can help with our spiritual growth too.
Having a recipe for spiritual growth can be help us WAKE UP our spiritual lives. The Creative Education Foundation promotes a six-step creative problem solving process. In this series we’ll apply the process - like a recipe - to waking up our spiritual lives.
Six steps to a perfect dish – a smokin’ hot spiritual life
To help WAKE UP our spiritual life, we’ll follow the creative problem solving (CPS) recipe. The six steps of the CPS recipe are:
- Objective Finding
- Fact Finding
- Problem Finding
- Idea Finding
- Solution Finding
- Acceptance Finding
So what’s cookin’?
When you enter the kitchen to cook, you need to have an idea about what you want to make. As you consider WAKING UP your spiritual life, you need to think about what you want to make of it. What is/are your spiritual objective(s)?
Objective Finding and your spiritual life – diverging and converging
Each step has a divergent component (think about making mac and cheese by blending together a bunch of different cheeses) and a convergent component (think about narrowing down the number of cheeses to four). And, as in cooking, where you may go from stirring, to chopping, to measuring and back to stirring, moving through the “steps” of the process may not always be linear.
To apply the first step of the creative problem solving (CPS) process to your spiritual life, let’s first make a list of “I need,” “I want,” and “I wish” statements – related to your spiritual life.
Here are some examples – this is where we get divergent:
- I need a “real” relationship with God
- I want to hear God’s voice
- I wish I could talk to God
Now you try…
- I need _________________________
- I want _________________________
- I wish __________________________
List out several need/want/wish statements; you don’t need to limit yourself to just one of each!
Now, let’s get convergent. Pick one of the statements…one that resonates deeply. But how to pick? Each statement is important and expresses a deep desire. The good news is, you can use CPS on all of your statements. We just need to get started with one for now. If one statement does not jump out at you, try force-ranking them in descending order from #1 Utmost importance – can’t wait to get started on this one, to #2 Not quite as important, but I’ll definitely get to it later, etc.
Now we’re cookin’!
In the next post, we’ll take our Objective Finding statement and look at step number two: Fact Finding, as we continue to use the CPS recipe to help us WAKE UP our spiritual lives.