What Is Spiritual Direction?
Sometimes it’s easier to define spiritual direction by what it is not: it is different from counselling, life-coaching, mentoring, or discipling. I like to think of a spiritual director as someone who helps another pay attention to what God is doing in and around them. We might also think of it as a conversation between God, the directee, and the director. The director’s role is not to tell the directee what God is saying, nor to instruct the directee as to how to respond. Instead, the director creates space for the directee to continue to become aware of God’s presence and action in his or her life.
What Does a Typical Session Look Like?
We will often begin a session in silence as a way to allow both of us to turn our hearts and minds toward God. Then you set the course of the conversation, talking about anything that you feel is significant for this session, while I listen, ask questions, and reflect back what I’m hearing. In all of this, we are seeking together to listen to the Holy Spirit. There will likely be periods of silence (and that’s okay). There might be tears or laughter. In some sessions I might offer space for quiet contemplation or lead us through a passage of scripture. I will usually end by praying a prayer of thanksgiving for you.
For directees who aren’t local, I can meet with you using online video conferencing.
Who Goes to a Spiritual Director?
People at all different seasons in their faith come to spiritual direction. Some come because they are in a place of sensing God might be calling them to something new, and they want someone to journey with them as they seek to discern that call. Others come because they long for a deeper intimacy with God. Still others come because they are in a place of doubting God or haven’t felt God’s presence in a long while and need a safe place to give voice to their experience. I believe that anyone who desires to pay attention to God’s movements in his or her life would benefit from direction.
Why (and How) Did I Become a Spiritual Director?
When I was a campus minister, I loved meeting one-on-one with students, hearing bits of their stories and encouraging them in their faith. I had a strong sense, though, that there could be more depth to our conversations, so I began to research spiritual direction. At around the same time, I happened to attend a pastors’ conference at Regent College where one of the main speakers was a spiritual director. During that weekend, I said to my colleagues, “I think I want to become a director,” but I also knew it wasn’t time yet. A couple of years later, as I was making plans to step away from campus ministry, I began to again feel drawn to spiritual direction.
I enrolled in The Studion School for Spiritual Direction, which is a two year course designed to train and equip directors. Our training covered a wide range of topics, from practical skills development to theology, psychology, the enneagram, and contemplative spiritual practices. It included a practicum, during which we were required to complete 40 hours of giving direction, as well as receive direction and supervision. At the end of the course, I felt affirmed that spiritual direction is a good fit for my passions, gifts, and skills.
Would You Like to Learn More?
Contact me for more information, fees, or to schedule a time to talk more about direction.