Claire, Graeme and Andy from Bristol have all undertaken all 5 steps (and repeated a few!) between 2011 and 2016. They share their thoughts and experiences below:
What the course consists of?
The five steps are each based over a weekend. These weekends have been incredibly encouraging in helping us understand our own unique temperaments and personalities and finding out what God truly created us to be.
We’ve really enjoyed the courses and have found that the discussions and teaching have helped us become much stronger and better equipped to change unhelpful patterns which we’ve inherited or learnt.
Step 1 introduced us to the concept of looking at our lives based on our temperaments and what they should look like with Jesus at the centre. Step 2 considered how we view ourselves and how this can be disastrously different from what God thinks about us. Step 3 looked at the family structure and how we are only emotionally healthy when we are giving ourselves away. Step 4 looked at biblical characters and what we can learn from them. It also focused on the importance of our own choices in giving ourselves and others value. Step 5 considered our parental influence and the foundational need to live life in deeper relationships and engage at heart level.
Why do we view this course as being so important?
We view the courses as being important because unless we truly understand ourselves we cannot become everything God made us to be, and we limit our ability to build healthy relationships and connect with others in ways that are meaningful. To reflect on who we are is therefore one of the best investments we can make. Central to this is that as Christians we can be confident that we are valued yet this truth frequently fails to permeate our whole lives. If we recognise and are secure in our value, we are free to live our lives to the full.
The steps also gave practical ways of identifying unhelpful patterns of thinking and feeling that we may not have even been aware of and how to change this and start the process of renewing our minds.
How have we grown / benefited by attending?
The courses have been really helpful in enabling each of us to make significant progress in valuing ourselves as unique creations, relating to others better and knowing God’s heart for who he wants us to be.
Andy - From being in a muddle the courses have had the effect of helping me see clearly. The steps have been like reset buttons, enabling me to take a fresh look at the way I’ve been uniquely shaped and what my life should look like with Jesus at the centre. They’ve helped me understand that I’m unique and that a clear understanding of myself is foundational if I am to live purposefully and become everything God wants me to be.
Claire – I have often struggled with feelings of negativity and times of feeling very low with a deep belief that ‘there must be something wrong with me’. The course has explained where these feelings have come from and has enabled me to start changing the view I have of myself and recognising my own value - specifically, that I am valued just for being me and nothing I do or don’t do can change that.
Graeme – I have grown up with a constant feeling of having to achieve to be accepted and loved. The course showed me that this is not what God intended, and I can stop striving to find acceptance. It has been both challenging and exciting to start discovering parts of my temperaments that have been neglected or negatively distorted in my past. The course has returned me again and again to the truth that ‘I am ok’.