“Spiritual direction is about hope, and there is always a next step.” - Margaret Guenther
What is spiritual direction?
Spiritual direction is listening to God together--asking for ears to hear and eyes to see what God is doing in the ordinary day-to-dayness of a person's life. It is grounded in a deep confidence that God is always working for good. In the words of Susan Currie, one of the best spiritual directors I know, "spiritual direction is God-oriented rather than goal-oriented—giving one's attention to God rather than to a particular problem that needs to be fixed or behavior that needs to be modified. It is responsive rather than directive, listening together to the Holy Spirit's presence and ways rather than the director telling the directee what to do. It is about listening with—together noticing senses of God's voice and direction—rather than talking to."
What isn't spiritual direction?
Spiritual direction isn’t one person telling another how to live, what to believe, and what to do. Rather, it is trusting that, if we ask and listen attentively together, God will gently and gladly direct. A good spiritual director simply holds the door open for God, always with, as Evelyn Underhill puts it, a healthy dread of "pushing souls about."
What is a spiritual direction session like?
We meet once a month for an hour, either in person or remotely. It is a safe and sacred time, unhurried and luxurious. I ask open-ended questions, make observations, and, from time to time, offer suggestions. Everything said during the session remains there, and nothing is judged. Things that have been in the dark can come out into the light in safety. Almost always there are times of silence. Sometimes there is laughter, sometimes tears.
How long does a spiritual direction relationship last?
Each direction relationship is unique. Some last for months, and some last for many years. A good director invites feedback at regular intervals, so that no one ever feels stuck.
Is spiritual direction new?
No. Christian spiritual direction has a long and rich history. Spiritual directors have been likened over the centuries to midwives—men and women who wait patiently and hopefully with others as God births new life in them. In spiritual direction, many throughout the history of Christendom have discovered that they "within did flow with seas of life, like wine." Thomas Treherne (b. 1636).
Do you receive spiritual direction?
Yes. I have met monthly with my spiritual director for four years. She listens gently, invites me to rest, encourages me to feel, and helps me to see God's creative, healing work in my everyday life. At first, I was skeptical—I have a busy life, so why not listen to God by myself or with a friend instead of adding one more thing to my to-do list? As it turns out, that ‘one more thing’ has become a lifeline. My director's arms-wide-open hospitality gives me breathing space and fresh perspective that I didn't have before.
How can I test the waters?
If you think you may be interested in pursuing spiritual direction, please contact me to set up a time to talk.