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Wholistic Formation Plan Part 2

Bethany Blomquist

Azusa Pacific University

Author Note

This paper was prepared for Leadership 502-Cornerstones of Christian Leadership Fall 2 2014,
taught by Dr. Gary Lemaster.

Wholistic Formation Plan Part 2

"Holistic moving from that place where my life is fragmented and dis-

integrated to a place where all the parts of my life connect in a way that displays God's beauty of

creation in the soul of my being. And in case you haven't noticed, God is a great artist (Bischof,

2006, p.2). I love this definition of wholistic formation. Something is not whole if it is missing

some pieces or if the pieces are not in the right place. When I think of wholeness, I think of

multiple parts coming together to create something that is complete, something that is full. As I

began creating my personal philosophy of wholeness I turned my focus inward to look at the

current state of my life. When I think about wholeness in relation to my life, I look at the many

different parts of it and do not see that togetherness or completeness. I see many different parts

moving in separate directions and somewhat of a chaos that ensues. As of late, this chaos has

been revealing itself more and more and I have truly been wrestling with how to gain control of it.

In reading Wisdom Distilled from the Daily by Joan Chittister I began to see the many ways in

which my life was lacking wholeness and thus creating a sense of fragmentation. Through the

reading of this book, exploring other sources on the subject, and a time of self-reflection, I have

learned that while there are many different and separate aspects of my life there is a way for them

to function together and I believe there is a need for them to all function together. What stuck out

to me most and what I am truly beginning to see more and more is that for these different areas to

function together there has to be a foundation and that foundation has to be Christ and Christ

alone. In order for me to ever experience wholeness, I have to be firmly rooted in Christ and He

has to be the foundation in each aspect of my life.

Now, as I look to the future of I can grasp what my life could look like if I were to achieve

this idea of perfect wholeness. While I know that perfection is unattainable, I believe there is

purpose in doing the best I can to strive to get as close to that point as possible. Wholeness is

comprised of many different components that work interdependently to create completeness.

Bischof (2014) suggests that spiritual formation, emotional formation, mental formation, relational

formation, missional formation, and physical formation are the components that create wholeness

in ones life. I truly believe in his findings and have begun looking at these different areas in my

life and how I can put these pieces together.

I feel that while these components are evident to some degree in my life currently, many of

them are lacking. I feel that if I can improve in each of these areas of my life and make sure that

Christ is the foundation of each part, then I will be moving in the right direction towards


Spirituality, we have all learned somehow is something I have to leave where I am in

order to find it. I get it in small doses, in special places and under rarefied conditions. I hope I get

enough at one time in life to carry me through all the other times (Chittister, 1990, p.6). This

statement is how I have lived my life. I have chased after this idea that Christ can only be found at

retreats or in quiet times or other specific set aside moments. It has never dawned on me that I can

find Christ in all aspects of my everyday life. Essentially, I have compartmentalized Christ, and as

I reflect on that, I see that wholeness cannot be found in that scenario. Christ has to be evident in

each of the components of my life for wholeness to be found, and with that I cannot just sit around

and hope He will be evident, I have to work at making Him evident. I have to have the discipline

to find Him in my day to day life. For so long I have desired for Christ to be the center of my life

and continually get frustrated and saddened by the fact that He is not. Unfortunately, I have fallen

in to the modern day idea of instant gratification. Why can I not just snap my fingers and be filled

with the Holy Spirit? Todays world de-emphasizes the significance of the process, which

includes work and commitment, and this is the way I have treated my spiritual life. This is where

my Rule of Life begins. It is taking my desire to be more like Christ and having the discipline to

pursue that. It is taking my fragmented life and connecting it to display Gods beauty.

Peterson (2007) has a great definition of spiritual formation, he says,

Spirituality is the concern we have for the invisibility that inheres in every visibility, for

the interior that provides content to every exterior. It necessarily deals much with

innerness, with silence, with solitude. It takes all matters of soul with utmost seriousness


To focus on spiritual formation, I have to have the discipline to focus on Christ on a daily basis.

My time-log from the first part of this assignment showed that spiritual formation is definitely

lacking in my life, when in reality it should be the most important focus of my life. I do not do

silence well, I do not do solitude well. Silence is a frightening thing. Silence leaves us at the

mercy of the noise within usSilence invites us to depth (Chittister, 1990, p. 169). I avoid time

with the Lord, because I am afraid of the nastiness He is going to reveal. To be whole, I need

Christ, and I need to be continually growing in Christ. The most important step I can take in

improving this area is having the discipline to set aside time on a daily basis to spend time with

Jesus. My goal is to start with ten minutes a day of reading the bible or doing a devotional or even

just sitting in silence listening. I know this is not much time, but at this point I am spending zero

minutes per day, so to start my focus is going to be on consistency over length of time and then I

hope to progress in duration over time. Another aspect of spirituality that I really want to grow in

is prayer. Prayer is not something I have been faithful at, but I hope to work on that. I am going

to start a prayer journal. I would like to be writing prayers in it every day so that I can be

reminded of the many ways in which I need God and then I hope to be able to look back on it and

see how He has worked in my life.

Emotional and mental formations are an interesting piece for me. I feel these two go hand

in hand. Feelings and thoughts are an important part of life; they are a critical aspect of who we

are. I am usually quite aware of how I am feeling, but I am not always the best at knowing what to

do with these emotions. I need to find the balance between avoiding my feelings and feeling too

much. Too often I feel that I let my emotions dictate my reactions. I do not process situations and

thoughts reasonably, I do not rely on Christ enough, and I do not let the people close to me help

me in these situations. One thing I would like to put into practice is counting to ten in situations

where I immediately want to respond based strictly off of emotions. Taking that brief moment

would allow me to respond in a way that is more constructive, positive, and rational. This will

help me avoid discord and conflict in relationships that is unnecessary. I also really need to work

on clearing out negative thoughts from my head. Quite often I fall in to the pattern of holding in a

small negative thought about myself and that turns into an explosion of me thinking I am a failure.

I would like to handle the initial thought before it grows into something I lose control of by

reciting Romans 12:1-2:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of Gods mercy, to offer your bodies

as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to Godthis is your true and proper worship. Do

not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your

mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what Gods will ishis good,

pleasing and perfect will (New International Version).

I also need to communicate with those closest to me. I have found in the past that when I finally

express my thoughts and feelings I am able to deal with them in a positive way. Ultimately, Christ

needs to be at the forefront of my thoughts and I need to rely on the people closest to me to help

me with this.

Relational formation is a key aspect to life lived in wholeness. Who I surround myself

with is going to be instrumental in who I become as a person. Alone, I am what I am, but in

community I have the chance to become everything that I can be (Chittister, 1990, p.49).

Relational formation involves deep, authentic relationships. These are the type of relationships

that I desire to have, but feel I struggle to attain. One of the biggest cruxes to these relationships, I

think, is technology. My friends and I have a saying, Be where your feet are, which to us means

to be in the moment you are living and aware of and involved with who and what is around you.

Connected to a cell phone, or watching television, or other forms of technology prevent me from

doing that. My plan to improve this area of my life to be very intentional about putting away the

cell phone while eating meals or spending time with friends. Meals are a great time to build

community, but if everyone is in their own world on their phone, there is no community being

built. No e-mail or Facebook post is going to be more important than spending quality time and

building relationships with the people I am face to face with. Another aspect of relational

formation that is extremely important to me is my marriage. My husband and I were married

about four months ago, so we are in the beginning stages of our journey together. Together we

have learned, and we have grown, and we have also struggled, but the best part about it all is that

we have done it together. My marriage is a newly incorporated priority into an already busy life

so I am still learning how to make it a priority. We are both coaches, so that makes for very busy

and inconsistent schedules. Coaching is also an emotionally draining career, so it is difficult to

come home at the end of a long day and have enough energy left to pour into each other. It is

important to me to protect my time with my husband and also make sure that I can support him

and be there for him when he needs it. I plan to make sure that every week we have at least one

date night, where we can spend quality time together just the two of us; a time where we can

invest in each other and be with each other without any distractions.

Missional formation is something that we, as believers are called to do. Matthew 28:19

says, Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father

and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (New International Version). We are called to spread the

gospel to those who do not know Jesus. We cannot make ourselves our only life agenda

(Chittister, 1990, p. 167). We are given gifts by God to use for the furthering of his kingdom. We

each have a calling and it is our responsibility to follow through with that calling. I do not believe

we are all called to go to foreign countries to do missions work. Some are called there, yes, but I

believe that we can be missionaries exactly where we are in this very moment. I have had the

opportunity to go overseas and do a few missions trips, but I believe that my mission field is

Azusa Pacific University. I am a coach and feel that I am called to spread the good news with the

athletes I have the opportunity of coaching them and doing life with them for four years. I think

the best practice in this area is to be authentic. I think it is okay for me to show them that I do not

have it all together and that I do struggle. I want them to see the real me and know that it is okay

to not be perfect. I would also like to be a better mentor to them. I do not think it is realistic to

meet with each of them individually on a regular basis, but I would like to be able to be invested in

their lives outside of practice, so I am hoping that I can take some time to sit down with each one

of them at least once a month and maybe more if they need or want it. For me, to be an example

of living in Christ and working through my struggles, being intentional in helping my athletes

navigate through their four years of life, and making a concerted effort to equip them for their

future, is how I feel I can live out Christs call for my life.

Physical formation is maybe the one that I get most excited about. I have been an athlete

my whole life, and while I know physical formation is more than just exercise, I feel that in

reading Chittisters book, God brought an answer to a prayer I have had over the past few years. I

ran cross country and track in college, and after I graduated, I felt like God was calling me to keep

training as a semi-professional athlete. In 2012, I fell just short of my dream of qualifying for the

Olympic Trials. After 2012, coaching became more of a priority than being an athlete. While I

continued to train, I had not done it with the same passion and desire that I had prior to that. Deep

down I have not been able to give up the sport and have been praying for an answer of whether or

not to try for the 2016 Olympic Trials. Someday, somehow I have to see a thing through to the

end or I will never come to know what I was meant to find there and I will never come to

recognize the face of God that is hidden there and I will never come to be all that I could be there

(Chittister, 1990, p. 156). Yes, the training is intense and it is hard, and yes, life would be easier if

I were to just stop now and focus on my coaching career, but I do not believe God is done with me

yet in the area of competing as a runner. There are a few action steps I need to take. I need to sit

down with my boss and figure out a way to make training at a high level and coaching work

together. I also need to come up with a plan for the next year and a half as to what my training is

going to look like and how I am going to get back to competing at the highest level. Am I scared?

Yes. What if I fail? We dont continue in hope of winning trophies; we continue in hope of

winning the struggle to become better and stronger human beings than we were (Chittister, 1990,

p. 153).

Through the entire process of growing towards wholeness, I hope to develop a firm

foundation of Christ. I hope to develop the perseverance and persistence it takes to constantly

seek after Christ; to find him in the daily.



Bischof, M. (2006, April). How to be Perfect. Retrieved from


Bischof, M. (2014). Holistic Formation. Retrieved from

Chittister, J. (1990). Wisdom Distilled from the Daily: Living the Rule of St. Benedict Today. New

York, NY; HarperCollins.

Peterson, E. (1997). Subversive Spirituality. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing