Hey Alan, do you have a simple synopsis of the 4 D’s you could share with me? I have my notes, but I anticipate you have something to summarize the 4 D’s better than my scribbles.” A good friend recently asked me this question about the template I have been using to catalyze deeper conversations for years, so look over my shoulder as I respond to Rick, a retired Director of HR and current Bible class teacher.

The 4 D’s I’ve used for years are simply: Delight, Drain, Discovery, Determination. I use these as a conversational template for all of our group gatherings, and often even for lunch meetings and connections with close friends with whom I long to go deeper. They’re field tested by me (and now others) to work in every setting! Here’s how I’m refreshing the 4 D’s:

Delight: What is sparking joy for you?
This could be anything from a new puppy to a new baby, a gratifying hobby or a happy activity. So, what’s been uplifting to you?

Drain: What’s disturbing you? 
This could be anything that’s personally depleting, i.e. the Covid chaos or a personal conflict, a lack of sleep or the lies you keep telling yourself. So, what’s recently been disheartening to you?

Discovery: What’s enlightening you?
This could be something that has seized you through your Bible reading or that is ennobling you through your other learnings. So, what’s been especially illuminating and encouraging to you?

Determination: What’s inspiring you? 
This could be a new exercise or eating regimen, an upcoming getaway or adventure. We’re all driven by new dreams.
So, what’s ahead that’s invigorating and exciting to you?

These questions are all simple yet catalytic. They’re not just beneficial to help others understand us, sometimes they help us to better understand God. Dallas Willard once said, “God is always trying to teach us about himself. In my experience the illuminating word given to me by God is often spoken by me.”

I’ve been using these same questions with a group of business guys I’m mentoring in applied theology. In preparing to personally unpack their 4 D’s with the group each week I also encourage them to journal their insights. Jamison is co-owner of a small tech business that supports other businesses, so he constantly lives with technology, which makes his journaling insight especially enlightening.

When I affirmed “the new technology” of paper, he shared his appreciation for the refreshing 4 D’s and then his discovery. “Sometimes what I really hate, really helps! Because my brain runs far faster than my fingers, I’ve always hated slowing down to write things down. Now I’m discovering through journaling with a pen and paper that I’m calmer than ever.”

One more thing I keep asking: “Are you just going through Covid or are you growing through Covid?” To that, Jamison said, “I’m definitely growing calmer during this crazy season.” Along with me, he and others are finding that pausing to ponder on paper is highly productive.  God speaks most clearly when we get quiet for the sake of our soul.

I hope you find these soul refreshing 4 D’s to be as life giving for you as they are for me. “This is what the Lord says, ‘Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.’” (Jeremiah 6:16 NLT)