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36-24-36 and the Phases of Faith, by Kimberly Dinsdale

Mar 12th, 2009 | By | Category: Coaching Women

A woman is often measured by the things she cannot control. She is measured by the way her body curves or doesn’t curve, by where she is flat or straight or round.  She is measured by 36-24-36 and inches and ages and numbers, by all the outside things that don’t even add up to who she is on the inside.  And so, if a woman is to be measured, let her be measured by the things she can control, by who she is and who she is trying to become.  Because as every woman knows, measurements are only statistics and statistics lie.  Nike

When I recently came across this quote, I was taken back about 20 years when I had this very advertisement from Nike ripped out from a magazine and tacked to my dorm room wall.  I resonated with the passion in the statement then, as much as I do today. 

I wonder what would be possible if we as women would realize that God is the one doing the “measuring.”  And, it is His measurement that counts.  It is not man, not our sisters, not our parents, not other women, not even ourselves.  What I find exciting and liberating is that while “man” judges the outside, God looks at our heart.  The complicated question is how do women arrive at that truth?  How can we as coaches for women assist them in the journey?

countryroadIn his book, Invitation to a Journey, Robert Mulholland explains, “Spiritual formation is a process of being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others.”  I am relieved and grateful that spiritual formation is a process and in fact, Mulholland’s book refers to the process as a journey, one that we are on for our entire life here on earth.  Part of this journey is living with the knowledge and fully understanding that there is a tension between the choice of living in the flesh or living fully in Christ. 

Phases of a Faith Journey   

Experiential faith comes from the views we grow up with, the views of our parents or primary care givers during our childhood.  The next stage of faith, affiliative faith comes from the group with whom we associate, our relationships and connections with other people who share the same theologies and beliefs.  The danger of this phase is staying in it, without growth, forward movement and personal acceptance and responsibility.  Here we raise the risk of being dependent on the group that we are affiliated with or connected to.  Our dependency must be on Christ, in all his grace and mercy. 

Perhaps the scariest stage of faith is searching faith.  This is when our world is rocked, the realities, pain and sin of life burst in.  We are left to search for meaning and value and understand the crisis.  This crisis, challenge or dilemma may present itself in an infinite number of ways.  It is critical as we engage in coaching and step into our role as a coach to simply be with the person going through this searching phase.  Imagine what is possible when we ask powerful questions as well as encourage them to ask questions, pray with them and fully love them as Christ does. 

Finally, in the owning faith stage, we move to take ownership of our faith in Jesus.  Our faith is a deep and intimate personal choice.  These stages are not a one shot experience; they are spiral in experience, not only progressive.  We may go through them again and again, and not in any particular order.  As Christian coaches, our aim is to effectively coach women so they discover how Christ views them.  Such that they hear His voice and understand His view of who they are and whose they are, ultimately leading them to growth and forward movement. 

How will better understanding the phases of faith and the thought processes that accompany the journey, affect our role as a coach for women?  Through the process of coaching and understanding these phases of faith, my prayer is that our clients arrive at a place of peace and confidence in their relationship with Christ.  They focus on Him and the perfect solution He offers from having a personal relationship with Him.  My goal is to offer this truth to women I coach, while providing the freedom for them to show up, without judgment, exactly where they are, offering a safe, loving and nurturing place for them to experience, make connections and search for a faith that they will own on a very personal level. 

No matter what phase our clients are in, regardless of their thought processes, clear or unfocused as they may be, I passionately believe coaches must meet women where they are, with extreme compassion and acceptance.  Part of this acceptance comes from listening to the stories of the women we coach.  There is great empowerment in being heard.  We can let their voices be heard and encourage their stories to be told.  

As coaches for women, understanding ways of communicating that will build the types of coaching relationships that support and foster authentic sharing and listening serves us all.  If our clients think their thoughts, feelings, dreams, choices, and preferences are silly, unimportant or worthless, chances are they have a hard time sharing openly and honestly with others.  Consider the flip side to this, when women are affirmed that their thoughts, feelings, dreams, choices and preferences are valued, important, relevant, significant and respected, how much more will they be willing to authentically share their most intimate views, opinions, values, passions and desires.  And, when women get this real and transparent, as coaches, we have great reason to get excited.  At that point, we know they are in a place ready for the challenge to grow, stretch, develop and become the women God has designed them to be, while developing an ongoing intimate relationship with Him.  That goal is always on my heart as I embrace the opportunity to coach women.

My prayer for those who coach women is that you trust God, looking for peace and confidence in your relationship with Him, remembering it is God and God alone who will measure each one of us and our clients.  Sweetest blessing to you as you continue on your journey and as you coach other women as they continue on theirs.

Kimberly Dinsdale

Master Certified Christian Life Coach, Coach Trainer and Women’s Ministry Specialist

Dedicated to helping women realize lives of personal growth, fulfillment and joy!



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