By Jon Kalvig
As a parent of three kids (8, 5, and 2) I realize the importance of my parenting, my marriage and my behavior. There will be times when I witness my son acting in a way contrary to what Kelly and I teach, yet realizing I have in ways contributed to his wrongdoing. That’s a scary place to be but one that led me to seek my past. Deep in the annals of my life are hurts, disappointments, failed expectations, fears and voids that while experienced in my childhood, are still impacting me today. And guess what – the same is true for you too. While I’ve been proactive in “not going there” with my past, I realized for my own growth and edification – not to mention parenting – it would require me to revisit my adolescent years in a structured format.
Thankfully in our own backyard is a proven ministry designed to do just that. I’ve heard about The Ultimate Journey from several who have gone through the three phases. Each of them, in some way, would describe the experience as “life changing”. Of course that means different things to different people, however it was apparent that this journey would be hard…yet liberating.
Two weeks ago I jumped in and decided I had nothing to lose. Rather than pursuing the thirteen week course, I signed up for the three day (12-14 hours each day) turbo. Going into it, I figured my preference is to have the flu for three days rather than a cold for three months, so maybe that logic would apply here. [insert chuckle]
To help contextualize briefly, I was joined by two others, neither of whom were from this area. Both were Christians, as was our facilitator. The Ultimate Journey makes it clear that while participants needn’t be believers, every aspect of this ministry is birthed in Scripture and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Throughout our three days we often would pray together and share Bible passages. However the emphasis for this first phase is to begin at infancy and start fast forwarding to adulthood, taking plenty of time to engage in those memories (many which I had intentionally lost) and relationships. Having never been part of anything like this before, there were uncomfortable moments at first. And yet, the Lord was beginning to shine light into dark places of my past, which for the most part I had stuffed away. I may or may not have shed some tears in the process. 🙂
Though my struggles are different than yours, what I can tell you is that I walked away with a profoundly different view of our Father. And in many ways I experienced a “coming home” to Him as I came face to face with childhood pains and sensed God come and rescue me. Part of coming home is saying good-bye. And in one of the most powerful experiences I’ve had as an adult, I said good-bye to a number of falsities. In doing so, my group hovered around me with acts of compassion and affirmation. Despite having only shared 72 hours of my life with those three members, they have become part of my life symphony.
Now, as I approach my own participation in phases two and three – which will wrap up my Ultimate Journey – I’m here to testify to you. Going back to your childhood may seem like a crazy notion, particularly if you are decades removed from that timeframe in your life. As a Christian, you may believe that you are fully free from all past hurts, disappointments, and struggles; however, I would question whether that is the case.
The day after my phase one turbo, I was reading Galatians 5 (my assigned devotion for the day) and lo and behold the first verse I read was, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” The Israelites were tempted to go back to slavery. And like a dog returns to its vomit, we too find ourselves returning to a form of slavery – even when we can’t describe why. In the coming weeks don’t be surprised if you hear more about The Ultimate Journey. It is my hope that many of you will seek to explore your past in order to be more free and fully alive in Christ. Not only can you look into participating through the ministry headquarters (theultimatejourney.org), but I’m looking into how we can host our own ultimate experience to help you find the exodus your soul needs.