All Things New: The Way Forward with Jeromy Deibler

All Things New: The Way Forward with Jeromy Deibler

As single parents, many of us can feel stuck in the hurt that we’ve encountered in the past. A lot of us feel stuck replaying the mistakes we’ve made or things that have been done to us. And some of us don’t like thinking about the past, because it can be painful or even make us feel shame. In order to move forward, we need to deal with some of those things that have happened to us. But how exactly do we do that? Are there some practical steps we can take to avoid repeating some of the same patterns? 

Jeromy Deibler joined us on the podcast today to talk about “the way forward.” Jeromy is passionate about helping others better understand themselves and discover what God is really like through spiritual direction. Jeromy and his wife Jennifer are a part of the band called FFH (Far From Home), but are also currently building a soul care space for artists and creatives called Return and Rest located in Middle Tennessee.

The Way Forward

When Jeromy counsels people through spiritual direction, he likes to work with them by looking at their past. But sometimes, our past can feel so far gone and it’s hard to wrap our minds around it. 
“When we talk about going “back” (in our lives), a lot of us feel like it’s so far back or that it seems so far away. I was speaking to a client a few months ago. He’s 65 years old and we’re talking about things that happened when he was a kid. He was like, ‘Is it even worth it? It seems so far back.’ But it’s more ‘in’ than ‘back.’ I like use the metaphor of a tree ring. Everybody learned when we were kids that if you cut a tree in half and count the rings, it’s shows you how old it was. So when I’m working with people, I either print them out a diagram of a tree of how old they are or I go and get an actual piece of wood for them. We put a pin  in the year that we're talking about and realize that it’s not ‘way back.’ It might be way inside, but that’s a whole lot closer than what you think it would be.”

“Experience Without Reflection Is Pointless.”

When Jeromy and his family were living in South Africa, he met a spiritual director named Don that introduced him to this concept of going back to move forward. 

“He had this notebook that he would lay out in front of us and I noticed that the pages were numbered. And he had been numbering his journal for years. So, we were on page 10,500—he had been journaling his whole life. So that was actually the first thing for me, going okay, wait a minute. You’re looking at this stuff from 10,000 pages ago? And he said, ‘Jeromy, experience without reflection is pointless.’ That phrase was the beginning of my journey into this.”

Don introduced Jeromy to spiritual direction by spending hours together listening to God and working through the past. “There was no clock. We would talk for a minute and he’d go, ‘Huh, that’s really interesting. Well, let’s be quiet and see what we get.’ And we’d just sit there, me and this other dude just looking at each other in the quiet. Sometimes we’d look over the ocean and then look at each other. That kind of extended time with another person not talking is powerful. Then he’d go, ‘did you get anything?’ Then I’d go, ‘Well, actually I kind of got a picture of a sheep.’ Then he’d say, ‘Me too, let’s go with that.’

That time with Don prompted Jeromy to take a deep dive into his own story. “I taped up a timeline of my entire life from the kitchen through the walls of the cottage to our bedroom so I could see it all stretched out. It really helped and some of it was revealing. In God’s kindness, I began to get a new vision for what wholeness looks like. And then at the same time, I had a profound experience with the Lord. I’m careful to say that I’ve heard the voice of God, but it feels like when I was there, God gave me a vision for this next thing which includes Return and Rest, a nonprofit to help people who can’t afford counseling, soul care, and integrated health where you integrate mind, body, and soul. It felt like a download but it wasn’t audible. It was just like, ‘This is coming, but it’s going to be awhile.’” 

Memory Mapping 

Jeromy received his training at the Soul Shepherding Institute in California. As a part of his training, he had to do a thesis project. He chose to take that timeline he made in Africa and turn it into a spiral. Through that experience, he realized that none of the memories we have (whether good, bad, or somewhere in the middle) happened “way back when.” They’re just a part of our inner selves. That’s where memory mapping comes into play.

Memory mapping allows us to do some reparenting of ourselves. “We receive the kingdom as little kids. I started to realize that I could invite people into the center of that spiral, into those early rings of their lives . . . and not just into their trauma. We’re not just the sum of our trauma, there’s so many fun things that happened before we were adults. So, I invite people into those inner rings. We sit down with colored pencils and start to map out dots.” The blue circles are happy memories or good things and the red are the hard things or negative memories that come up.

Paying Attention to Your Story

Jesus says that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. So how do we establish a rhythm for Jesus’ easy yoke in our lives?

It starts with the simple act of remembering. Everybody can remember and one way to do that is through journaling. 

Jeromy reminds us that it doesn’t take a spiritual guide or a counseling session to lift up your eyes and ask yourself, “What happened today? What really happened? What’s happening tomorrow? What do I need to take from today to sleep on and try to distill into tomorrow?” These are the little things that can make a deep impact on your life. 

“I feel like we have these cinematic expectations of what this life might look like. But really, the story I just told you guys about my life is now 17 years in the making. And if you were to look closely at those days, they were pretty boring.”

The act of remembering is in the small things. Maybe it’s a little word written down on a napkin. Maybe it’s keeping a running list of notes in your phone. Or maybe like Don, you begin journaling and numbering your pages as a way to help you look back. 

Jeromy said the beginning of this way of life starts with the simple act of paying attention. “Sometimes I feel like the way to the Lord is the same as the way to yourself. You go in search for either one and you’re going to find the other. I just love this idea of looking back at our story and remembering the blue lights, the good things, along with some of the red things (the hard things). I think it’s so important to have that rich tapestry of embracing your whole story, not just the hard things. Which can feel really hard for people, but if it gives them the opportunity to celebrate all of who they are . . . I love that.”

Solo Parent, you are not alone. And in the midst of this solo parenting season in your life, it can be easy to want to just get through or even fast forward. But remembering this season and being intentional about the small moments will have a big impact in your life . . . if you let it.

To get more information on Jeromy and his work visit www.returnandrest.org







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