Spiral It Out

Spiral It Out

Next week CCS diaconal ministry students from across Canada pour back into Winnipeg for learning circles.  We’re looking forward to the energy and the spirit of engagement they bring with them.

Meghan Witzel, a third year student currently in the Educational & Liturgical Ministry Year, offers this reflection on how the Centre for Christian Studies program has changed her…

Meghan Witzel

I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on where my growth has been most prominent in the last three years of this diaconal ministry adventure. It’s hard to pinpoint it, as I feel my growth has been huge and all encompassing! But, if I had to pick the MOST prominent learning, it’s my ability to “Spiral it out”.

Many who are familiar with The Centre for Christian Studies will know our commonly used action/reflection tool for theological reflection called: “The Spiral”.

Imagining a spiral with the outward point turning into an arrow, the spiral reflection moves through these stages:

Concrete Experience, Reflective Observations, Abstract Conceptualization, and the arrow out takes us to the final step: Active Experimentation.  (The first time I learned the lingo of the Spiral I thought to myself “Well that’s a LOT of syllables. I am going to change it to: Name it, Reflect and Connect, Now you’re ready!”)

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I will admit, sitting down and writing Spirals each month isn’t always my favourite thing. Sometimes there is very much an element of “Just get ‘er done”.  However, this practice gets me into a very valuable habit of “spiralling it out”, when I’m NOT doing written assignments.

CCS students Ian and Meghan

When I look back to who I was, and how I ministered before I began this CCS journey, I believe I was a person who got “stuck” very easily. Being a highly sensitive and emotional person it could be very hard for me to keep perspective. I didn’t know that I could ever get to a point in my life where I could take the emotion out of a situation, or look at things from a birds eye view kind of perspective.

I think I used to get really stuck in the spiral on some level. I didn’t know how to reflect on my feelings and emotions and the WHY behind them. And so, I became motionless and couldn’t move forward.

Depending on the severity of the situation, this place of what I whimsically call “stuck-ed-ness” could cause insomnia, affect my appetite and make my life very NON user friendly. My self doubt worsened, I took out my stress on others, and some days I couldn’t get off the couch. Ah, if only that Meghan could see me now and how far I’ve come!

When a challenge arises, I feel I have great tools in my toolbox and am well equipped to move FORWARD and not live in the past or trapped in the moment.

That will forever be the greatest gift school has ever given me. Because now, I feel like I can stop and breathe…and work through it when I feel angry or hurt. I can address potential conflict before it boils over. I can ask for help when I need it, and I’m courageous enough to be vulnerable. I’m more brave in the pulpit and more present with my youth. I understand my partner and his family better, and most importantly I understand myself better!

My ol’ friend Isaiah reminds me:

“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I am about to do something brand new! It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?” (Isaiah 43:18-21).

We all get stuck in the past sometimes. We all get stuck in the present. We’re human.

But we aren’t meant to live our lives in a permanent state of depression or anxiety. We’re meant to be victorious. We’re meant to thrive. We’re meant to live, love, give and serve. We are meant for more. We are meant for Kingdom living and we are meant to do SO much more than be born, pay bills and then die.

I hope we all keep striving to “spiral it out” and keep moving forward.

“Around here, we don’t look back for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
-Walt Disney.

May this path be filled with twists, turns, roller coasters, stops by the river, and hearts that never lose faith in the One who calls us.

Let it be.

CCS students Meghan and Christina on a reflective walk


Comments: 2

  1. Aisha says:

    As a first year student, I’m always looking to learn from my peers experience’s at CCS. The reflective measurement of the growth you did in these 3 years is a valuable tool for my journey. Many thanks <3

  2. Ian McLean says:

    Spoken like a wise and very experienced “reflector.” It reminds me of a former student, a student with a masters in counselling that said when she learned about the spiral she was really ticked she had spent so much money doing the counselling degree. ?So glad to hear it has worked so well for you Meghan. Spiral it out indeed.

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