About Spiritual Direction
Spiritual Direction is the process by which a seasoned and trained spiritual director listens to and communicates with you in conversation and prayer to help you discern God’s activity in your life as you grow in grace.
God designed us to live in community and the ancient Christian practice of Spiritual Direction has been a part of discipleship from the beginning. There is nothing about our faith that is meant to be done alone. Through the community of faith (the Church), we are supported by every ligament that does its work of which Spiritual Direction is an important part.
Discerning God’s voice and activity in our lives can be challenging, especially in times of transition or difficulty. Gordon Smith writes in his book Spiritual Direction: A Guide to Giving and Receiving Direction writes, “A spiritual director offers spiritual guidance and companionship to help us make sense of our faith journey, interpret with us the significant markers on the road, and encourage us, particularly through the more difficult transitions and valleys of our pilgrimage. Most of all, a spiritual director helps us make sense of the witness of the Spirit – assisting us to respond well to the question, ‘How is God present to me and how is God, through the ministry of the Spirit, at work in my life?’”
What should I expect?
A Spiritual Direction session is usually 50-60 minutes long where a director and directee have set-aside the hour to attend to God’s presence and activity in the directee’s life. The director will often begin the time in silence to help orient each other to God. The directee will then bring thoughts, insights, concerns, and experiences of importance from life as the director keenly listens for places where God may be at work. Through conversation, insights, silence, prayer, questions, and caring investigation, the pair navigate together in discerning how God is acting, speaking, and leading.
It’s not a counseling appointment, although God may want to bring healing to an idea or experience of the directee during the session. It is not a Bible study, although Scripture may be brought into the conversation by either person. It is not a teaching session where student passively gathers new information although learning can certainly take place. In short, Spiritual Direction is simply directing our attention to God’s presence in our lives.
The Evangelical Spiritual Director’s Association lists the following as possible growth that can come through the direction process:
- Awareness of God’s deep love, especially in the areas one feels unlovable
- Sensitivity to one’s own heart’s resistance to the Lord’s work of grace
- Growth in love for God, His people, and His work
Individual Spiritual Direction is always confidential, although there is another model of Group Spiritual Direction that is done with others. Growing in grace is a life-long journey that requires community, intentionality, and patience. Ask the Lord how He might want you to enter into a relationship with a wise, mature Spiritual Director who can accompany you in your life with God.