God watches over our lives. “The LORD keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” (Psalm 121:7-8)
I learned this tool informally. I understand this tool was developed by Randy Pope for use in discipleship during his time at Perimeter Church in Atlanta. If you know the resource, please let us know in a comment.
Use this tool to chart the history of your life spiritually. Along the lifetime axis, put down your ages or seasons of your life, then make a graph of how you were doing spiritually, especially noting the highs and the lows.
It may be helpful to be able to explain the characteristics of spiritual highs and lows. The concept of shallom, or peace, helps. When God made the first human beings, they enjoyed uninterrupted fellowship with God, with one another, and with creation. They were enjoying shalom. It is about being in a right relationship in several arenas.
1) Right relationship with God.
2) Right relationship with others.
3) Right relationship with creation (usually experienced as work)
4) Right relationship with ourselves.
When these relationships are in order, things feel right. This usually produces a “high point” spiritually. Sometimes we can experience a spiritual high without things being right in some of the areas. Conversely, when things are really off in one of the areas, it can pull the others down.
The main purpose of this tool is to get people thinking about their lives and God’s involvement over the course of their lives. Turning points—when things turn better or suddenly get worse—often correspond to Kairos moments for the learning circle. Therefore, the spiritual graph is a good tool to use in conjunction with the learning circle.
Ask people to create one and bring it back the next week. Obviously, people’s stories are very personal. Handle the stories with respect and care. Often what emerges is evidence of God’s activity in their life, perhaps even during seasons when it was not obvious. Look for opportunities to affirm God’s grace, action, and intervention in our lives.
Questions for reflection:
1) When did God first become real to you and how is that reflected on the graph?
2) Why is it important to help people think about their life spiritually independent of whether or not they were Christians?
3) When is the difference between a disciple and a Christian? Did Jesus first disciples actually become Christians? (There is no widely agreed on answer to these questions—but how might thinking about them can help a disciple see how God was at work over the course of their life?)
4) What would it mean if a life is filled with only lows or only highs?
5) What are good things that come from hard times?
6) Is God saying anything? What will you do about it?