When I was nine years old, my family moved from Manhattan, New York City, to St. Croix, US Virgin Islands (from one island to another!). One of my very first entrepreneurial jobs was picking limes for a hotel. My dad had some property a couple miles away from our house that had some lime trees on it. I would roll our wheelbarrow over to the property, fill it with limes, then roll it to a hotel about a half mile away. They paid me three cents for the small ones and a nickel each for the big ones.
It was not easy picking limes. The trees have nasty thorns and the Caribbean sun is hot. There were spiders, wasps, and other yucky bugs to deal with. But, the rewards and outcomes of the labor made it worthwhile. First of all, I was paid - a big deal for a nine-year-old. Second, the hotel made awesome lime pies from the juicy limes - a sweet and tasty outcome indeed. I was able to literally taste the fruit of my labor.
It will not necessarily be "easy" finding a spiritual mentor. People can be prickly (like a lime tree). But, I guarantee you (from 35+ years experience) it will be SO worth it when it comes to making every effort to wake up your spiritual life.
If you have followed along with the last five posts, applying the Creative Problem Solving Process to waking up your spiritual life, in the example we have used, you are now ready to engage with a spiritual mentor who will gladly encourage you in your daily walk with the Big Guy.
Acceptance Finding: getting down to it
As I just typed "getting down to it" I mused a bit over the phrase. In this step, we are coming out of the creative clouds of thinking and planning and getting "down" to the business at hand. Here's where we fire the starter gun and bolt down the path to spiritual growth. By "bolt" I mean focus our energy, passion, commitment and desire to connect with God into practical action that will help get us where we want to go.
At this point in the process, we nail down the Who / What / When and Where (we've already established the "Why").
Who - What - When - Where...
Who - The "who" is you. On a scale of 1-10 (ten being most important) how high do your rate your priority of drawing near to God? If you've determined through the process we have followed that connecting with a mentor is a great way to help you accomplish that priority, then let's get going!
What - Finding the right person. We've determined in previous posts where one might find a good mentor. Now it's time to start asking. Have you made your list yet of potential mentors and where you might find one (see last post)? OK, let's determine to start asking over the next few weeks. Take your list and determine how many people you will ask each week. You may wind up connecting with the first person you ask. Or, it may take a few "asks" to find someone who is willing and eager to "walk" with you on your journey. Your first conversation may center around how you came to know God in the first place and what you are "looking for" in your walk with Him. Ensuing conversations may center around the simple follow-up question: "So how's it going?"
When - Start asking now. If you can pick up the phone and call a potential mentor after you finish reading this post, please do! If your first opportunity won't be until the weekend, promise yourself - write it down - that you will start asking. As for when to meet, determine now how flexible you are. Depending how high a priority this is for you, you could meet early morning, lunch, after work, late at night, or sometime on the weekend.
Four mornings a week I meet with four different guys to share about our walks with the Big Guy, usually at 6:30am or 7am. That's after my four mile walk and personal "quiet time" with God. These relationships are important to me. While I am sometimes available for lunch, after work or on the weekend, and while I do sometimes have other ad hoc meetings with other guys at these times, I find that to be "regular" and consistent, morning meetings work best for me.
Where - This one's wide open. One friend of mine and I used to meet on a park bench. I mostly have meetings at restaurants or coffee shops. One friend has me into his home every Tuesday morning. Sometimes the meetings include having an actual meal together, oftentimes it's just coffee. The food is more ambiance than substance. The substance of the meeting is in the conversation.
There you have it
So that's the six-step creative problem solving process. If you will spend some time reviewing this post and the last five posts, you will find principles, questions and techniques that you may apply to many different issues and challenges that you face.
Please do take a moment to drop me a note Shane@aSlapInTheFaith.com and/or post a comment to the blog if you'd like to share where you are on your journey and/or how these tools may be encouraging you.
May the Big Guy bless you silly and you continue to pursue Him with everything that's within you.