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Writing Your Spiritual Autobiography

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By Richard L. Morgan


Foundation Principles of Spiritual Autobiography

      1. Every life is a unique, invaluable story.

      2. God speaks to us in our stories.

      3. Connecting our stories with God’s Story is the work of the Spirit.

      4. Painful memories can be healed through stories.

      5. Remembering our stories creates community and the future.

      6. Faith stories are the legacy we leave.

      7. Stories create meaning … at any age.


Your Spiritual Lifeline

1. Draw Your Lifeline

Draw a horizontal line across a piece of paper. The horizontal line represents your spiritual lifeline.

On your lifeline write the following in black or blue ink:

At the extreme left of the line, write the year of your birth. Write it in large numerals, since this is the year your history began.

At the extreme right of the line, write the year you think you’re going to die and your age at that time (predicted death). A simple way to guess that date is to add the number of years you will live to your birth date, so that if you’re born in 1940, and you predict you’ll live to be 90, your predicted death year is 2030.

Put an X on your lifeline to represent where you are now, that is, the present year.

Your spiritual lifeline might look like this:



2. Add Life Events

Acknowledge that every life story has its ups and downs, its celebrations and crises—in the past, the present, and the future.

Draw three to five small ovals above and below the line.

Jot down in a phrase or two some of the celebrative moments of your life in the ovals above the lifeline.

Jot down some of your crises in the ovals below the lifeline.

Write just a phrase or two. Remember this is just one look at your life. If you repeat this exercise several months or years later, you will add other events. Remember that life has its joyful and painful moments; all are part of your story and deserve to be included.

 

3. Think about Grace Moments

Focus on “grace moments”—moments when God was present in your life story. Raise the following questions about your grace moments:

  • What was the moment?
  • Who were the significant people involved?
  • What were your feelings?
  • What were the consequences?
  • Where did God fit into this situation?


Close these exercises with this prayer or a prayer of your choosing.

Dear Lord, thank you for your presence with us through all the seasons of life ... through the times of milk and honey and through our wanderings in the wilderness.

Thank you, Lord, for your potter’s hands at work in all of life.

Lord, we give thanks for children; for their boundless energy, their curiosity, their love, their openness, their joy of life.

Thank you, Lord, for your potter’s hands at work with children.

Lord, we give thanks for young adults; for their growing search to build meaningful lives, for their new ideas and approaches to the problems of society, for their children and the loving families they seek to build. 

Thank you, Lord, for your potter’s hands at work with young adults who are beginning their life’s work.

Lord, we give thanks for those in the middle of life; for the families they have guided into adulthood, for the life work they have built and sustained, for the faith they have nurtured in others, for the presence they provide as they walk life’s path with their parents and older friends. 

Thank you, Lord, for your potter’s hands at work with those in the middle of life.

Lord, we give thanks for those grown up and grown older; for the experiences they have survived, for the wisdom with which they have been blessed, for the spiritual richness of their lives, for their witness of faith.

Thank you, Lord, for your potter’s hands at work with those grown [older].

Lord, we give thanks for the cloud of witnesses that has gone before us, leaving their imprint of life and faith upon each of us ... and upon your world.

Thank you, Lord, for your potter’s hands at work with those who have gone before us.

Creator God, we are indeed thankful that in each stage of life you bless us with your presence. At every age ... you mold and shape us with your potter’s hands into people with purpose and value who can reach out to others, touching humanity with the love that only you can give us.

Praise be to God. Amen.


Adapted from pp. 17, 35-37, 39 of Remembering Your Story: Creating Your Own Spiritual Autobiography by Richard L. Morgan. Copyright © 2002 by Richard L. Morgan. Used with permission of Upper Room Books.

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