So, What is Spiritual Direction?
Spiritual direction is extremely difficult to describe, somewhat like trying to convey the experience of swimming to someone who has never entered the water. Definitions (see below) help somewhat.
In brief, spiritual direction involves listening care-fully to another person, to help them see where God is already at work in their life. As we see how God is actively communicating with us and personally loving us, our relationship with God deepens. We see all of life more clearly, and we get more and more glimpses of how to follow God and how to let God love us as He desires.
Read more about spiritual direction.
Spiritual Direction definitions
Mennonite Spiritual Directors Network:
“Fundamentally a ministry of prayer, spiritual direction is a one-with-one relationship in which directors accompany others on their journey to mature faith in Christ.”
Evangelical Spiritual Directors Association:
“Spiritual direction is a safe place to explore your questions and concerns about your life with God. A Christian spiritual director is a trained listener who will accompany you as you share about your spiritual journey, helping you notice God’s presence and activity along the way, as well as your personal reactions and responses. Hospitable, confidential, and grounded in biblical truth, spiritual direction is a ministry that helps you grow in prayer and live into your calling as a follower of Christ.”
William A. Barry, SJ and William J. Connolly, SJ:
“We define Christian spiritual direction as help given by one Christian to another which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of the relationship.”
Might spiritual direction be God’s desire for you at this time? Are you hungry to deepen your prayer life? Do you want to develop your relationship with God? Do you want something MORE in life, but you are not sure what? Are you curious about God or wanting to experience (see, hear, feel) God’s presence or activity more?
If so, spiritual direction may be for you.
OK, then, where do you start with this new practice? First (and last), pray about the decision. If a family member or friend has found a certain spiritual director helpful, find out more about that person. Consider contacting him or her. If they have no openings, ask them to refer you to another good spiritual director.
If these routes are not fruitful, consider contacting me. If I have openings, I will set up an initial interview. I will also suggest other spiritual directors for you to interview because interviewing at least two different spiritual directors is optimal.
Contact information and occasionally short biographies of spiritual directors are also available online through the Evangelical Spiritual Directors Association (Grafted Life) and Spiritual Directors International (Seek and Find Guide). In addition, some denominations post listings of spiritual director contact information.
Once you have decided which spiritual director(s) to interview, email or call them. Your list of potential directors may be narrowed by this initial contact. If you want to proceed further with a certain spiritual director, set up an initial interview. By convention among spiritual directors, the initial interview is free. Read more about the initial interview.
Again, pray before, during, and after the initial interview for God to lead you to the right spiritual director for you. Then, once you have a sense of leading to a certain director, begin the adventure!