Monday, August 4, 2014

Can you see the Forest or just the trees?

We’ve all heard the expression “They can’t see the forest for the trees.” It usually refers to someone who is so wrapped up in the details of something; they cannot see the whole picture. And this really happens! In 2008, satellite imagery found the outlines of an ancient Mayan city in Guatemala, and in 2013, another Mayan city was “discovered” in Mexico – just 15 miles from a bustling town.

Why didn’t anyone know those ancient Mayan cities were there? Because the buildings and temples were covered with 1,000 years’ worth of trees, dirt, and jungle overgrowth - people thought the tree covered ‘hills’ were just that - hills! The nearby residents were too close to see the bigger picture, and in this case, couldn’t see the Mayan cities for the trees!

Sometimes when we are too close to something enormous, we simply cannot see it.  This is why people need a Spiritual Director or a Spiritual Coach. We are often “too close” to our own lives, and we cannot see God working in and around us!

A Spiritual Coach, is someone who comes alongside you to observe how God is at work in you, and bring it to your notice. A Coach can help people discern where God is calling them, reveal their hidden need for time with God, or identify why their prayer life seems stuck. Contrary to the title, a  Coach doesn’t tell anyone what to do – your relationship with God is not a formula or a program to follow.  However, they can often see the bigger picture and help you see beyond the details.

So what does a Spiritual Coaching session look like?

At The Oasis Renewal Center, sessions may look a lot like a friendly conversation over a cup of coffee, between you and me (I am an RCA-trained Spiritual Coach.) But in the middle of this conversation, I might notice that there is a theme running through your dialogue, and ask questions to help you clarify that theme; connecting it to the direction God is leading you.

Or perhaps your session will occur while we are taking a walk. During the conversation, I may sense an underlying emotion that is being avoided when you talk about your faith. I might say something like, “It sounds like you are disappointed with God; that God didn’t ‘show up for you’ in the way you imagined He would. Is that what you are feeling?”

Sometimes we already have the answers we are looking for, but we can’t find them until we hear ourselves speaking. Often just talking about our faith practices with a Coach will help us identify that answer. For example, Simon was concerned that he kept getting distracted during his prayer times, and mentioned that he prayed at his desk where his computer is. Just as he was saying this, he realized that he allowed the incoming email tone to divert his attention! I (his Spiritual Coach) asked him how he might avoid that particular distraction, and his solution was simply not to pray near his computer; to find a different location for prayer! He knew the answer all along, but by talking it out with me, he “discovered” the problem, as well as the solution!

If you are having trouble seeing the forest for the trees, why not schedule a Personal Retreat and add a Spiritual Coaching session or two? A few days spent in the beautiful setting of The Oasis Renewal Center will change your whole outlook, and a Coaching session just might change your whole life! Check our calendar for available dates, and schedule your retreat online. Hope to see you soon!