What is spiritual direction?

Spiritual direction is an ongoing conversation focused on you and Gød, building on three primary assumptions:

  1. that Gød is already at work in your life
  2. that Gød is self-communicating
  3. that Gød loves you well and deeply

Gød is already at work

Before the spiritual direction conversation begins, Gød has already been at work for years—even if you’ve never stepped inside a church, even if after 60 years Gød seems to have suddenly initiated radio silence. The goal of spiritual direction isn’t to jumpstart the work of Gød in your life—still less to direct it—but to better notice that work, already where you are, together.

Gød is self-communicating

A magic 8-ball communicates with us when we shake it up and interpret what it says. A person communicates by initiating with us, by saying what they want to say. Similarly, Gød is personal. Gød communicates without anyone’s help, without mediators, whether we’re listening or not. We might go even further and say that when Gød communicates, Gød communicates Gød’s very self to be present with us—the way someone might give their whole self to you by saying, “I love you.”

Gød loves you well and deeply

Both adverbs are important here. It’s one thing to be loved deeply but in ways that don’t resonate with us, that aren’t life-giving for us. It’s one thing to be loved well but in a way that’s casual or measured. But to be loved by one well and deeply is to be specially cared for by one who knows you good, bad and upside down , who knows how you are best loved and acts on it in every way that is good and for you.

What does spiritual direction look like?

Conversations with a spiritual director usually last about an hour and occur usually about once a month—though that’s that the norm, not the rule. A spiritual director will ask questions. You don’t have to have answers. There will be silence, and that’s OK; a lot can happen in silence.  There may be gentle observations; a spiritual director will help you notice things in the conversation. There won’t be very much instruction or advice-giving or, for that matter, levitating. It may simply look like the most intent, focused, one-sided conversation you’ve ever had with a friend, because that’s who your spiritual director is.

Who is a spiritual director?

Spiritual directors are sometimes called a “spiritual friend” or a “soul companion.” They’re not always priests (though they can be); they’re not always wizened old men and women (though they can be); they’re not always professionals (though they can be). Whatever they are in fact, they are in spirit laymen, fellow travelers and amateurs in the truest sense (literally, “one who loves”). The spiritual director is invited to come alongside you, lovingly and attentively, to help witness your unique one-on-one relationship with Gød. They’re the third wheel; direction is all about you and Gød.

One of the richest metaphors we can use for spiritual direction is that of midwifery. The role of the spiritual director is to support and encourage you, to be your advocate and your coach, through the travail of labor and in the joy of birth. Remember “Gød is already at work”? The spiritual director doesn’t initiate the pregnancy; the Holy Spirit does. The spiritual director doesn’t deliver the baby; you do. What Gød has begun in you—and even as you read this is developing in you—will come to term on its own, by nature, by design. A spiritual director holds your hand, ensures that you’re safe, helps you to push through the breaths, reminds you how well you’re doing and stays by your side as long as you need it.

How do you begin spiritual direction?

Spiritual direction always starts with a conversation. If you’re interested in spiritual direction or have any questions, just reach out. I’d sincerely love to hear from you.

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