As a trained, professional Spiritual Director, I know I am biased……but I think anyone who has made a commitment to their own spiritual growth needs a Spiritual Director and here is why:
Yep. I’m biased. I think anyone who has made a commitment to their spiritual growth needs a Spiritual Director … and in my opinion, there are a million reasons why… but these are the ones showing up for me today.
1) If you have found yourself called to embark upon and embrace the spiritual path….to the rest of the world, you look pretty insane. Embracing the spiritual path is counter-cultural, threatens the perception of surety to those around us and makes you only a little weird. If you see God in the sky and the trees, the experiences of your life, your intimate relationships and even in the struggles and challenges….you are just plain strange (to the rest of the world, that is.) In this situation….a Spiritual Director plays the crucial role of helping you to know that YOU ARE NOT INSANE! That there are other people who have embraced the spiritual path and who have done so successfully (ie: without completely losing their minds). Your Spiritual Director can help affirm your experiences and give you validation. Frequently, your Spiritual Director is the first person with whom you find some sense of community, support, knowledge that you are not alone!
2) A good Spiritual Director is above-all a LISTENER! Their job is to listen and observe your spiritual journey. But, beyond simple listening and observation, your Spiritual Director (should be) gifted to hear the truth beyond the words and see the path beyond the experience. It is their job to help us see the hidden (mystical, esoteric) happenings beyond the surface. Like the other day when my Spiritual Director asked me if I was able to be present to God in the nothing….these are the kinds of gems only a good Spiritual Director can provide.
3) A good Spiritual Director keeps us humble and honest. WE ARE NEVER completely objective with our own spiritual journeys. As good as we might be (even those who are trained Spiritual Directors themselves ahem!), we can never see our path without it being tainted by our own perceptions. A Spiritual Director sees our path through other eyes….and if Spiritual Direction is indeed one of their charisms (spiritual gifts), then God helps them to see our path through the eyes of God….not through our eyes, or even through their own eyes, but through God’s eyes. This provides us with a much needed clear vision of who we are and where we are going.
4) Spiritual Directors give us tools. We all need tools through which we can negotiate the spiritual path – meditation and prayer practices, discernment tools, community, an ego check. A good Spiritual Director can help us discover, learn and put these tools into practice. In a word…they can hold us accountable.
5) Spiritual Directors DO NOT GIVE US ANSWERS! Spiritual Directors ARE NOT psychics. Spiritual Directors ARE NOT life-coaches. Spiritual Directors ARE NOT counselors. While there may be overlap and grey area between the role of a Spiritual Director and the other professions listed, a good Spiritual Director will let you know if and when they are changing roles….and most importantly….a good Spiritual Director will NEVER try to give you answers. Their only job is to listen and reflect back so that you can connect with your own truth on your own. If you find your Spiritual Director continually telling you what to do, giving you answers to your life questions, directing your journey…RUN AWAY! The job of a Spiritual Director is to provide objective listening and reflection so that you can discover and discern your truth on your own. The bottom line…..a Spiritual Director is meant to EMPOWER you on your journey, NOT create a relationship of dependency!
Ok… that is a good start. (and my son and his sleepover friends are screaming for pancakes….go, I gotta go!)
Have you made a commitment to your own spiritual growth?
Have you connected with a Spiritual Director as a source of support on this path?
How has that been of benefit to you?
Authentic Freedom Ministries/YourSpiritualTruth
If you are interested in exploring Spiritual Direction as a source of support in your own journey, Lauri provides Spiritual Direction face-to-face, over the phone and via Skype. Check out my website for details. http://yourspiritualtruth.com