“I want all of life to be intimate – sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously, – with the God who made, directs, and loves me.” The Contemplative Pastor, Eugene Peterson
Spiritual Direction has historical and theological roots, with contemporary expressions, and Christians have long been attending to their experience of God and the relationship that developed from that experience. History and Scripture reflect the belief and practice of people individually and collectively engaging with God.
The practice of stillness and listening are used to aid in discernment and healing, as well as contribute to inner spiritual growth.
Jesus offered disciples an opportunity to trust him through their experience of him. “They came to know him, they observed him, joined his company, watched the way he acted, and listened to him speak. Their experience of him led them to raise questions about him and then enabled them to answer those questions.” (The Practice of Spiritual Direction, William A. Barry & William J. Connelly)
This is our invitation as well.
We are our most true selves when we rest in the truth that we are known and loved by God. The heart of spiritual direction is deepening love and communion with God. We are invited to consider the experiences of our life and noticing God’s presence with us. Life is busy, and we often have a hard time slowing down to pause, to notice. Spiritual direction is a space to share our stories, our experience, and to pay attention what God may be stirring up for us.
SD typically takes place between two people, director and directee with the understanding that the true director is God. It also can take place in the context of a group. The purpose is to be open to God’s presence and guidance.
Spiritual direction can be a bit of a misnomer. It is neither solely spiritual, nor all that directive. The primary guide we seek is God. Spiritual direction is a spiritual discipline that helps us see and respond to God, taking into account all aspect of our lives. (Not only the “spiritual” parts.) We get to explore the connection between humanity and spirituality.
It’s an opportunity to share our stories and have someone actively listening. As we share our story, we see and hear God’s story intertwining and participating in all aspects of our life. We see connections that may have gone unnoticed, or we gain new insight. SD is invitational. It’s not coercive. It’s not an attempt to force someone to grow, heal, or change. It’s not the director’s job to rush or issue a timeline. It takes as long as it takes. God is patient. And so we attempt to be.
It’s a process of discernment. We explore to see what is stirring up, what themes may be present, what we may be invited to consider more closely. This includes spiritual life, work, family, relationships, play, joy, sadness, all of it. We are gathering many threads of life together. It’s diverse, honest, and a safe space. We want to slow down and be wholly present.
SDs are not here to give answers. We don’t have them. We aren’t here to tell directees what to do. We don’t know. What we offer is listening for how God is already moving in their life. Even when we feel like something needs to be addressed, we wait and listen, discerning ourselves.
Sometimes the things that are most tender, the ones most needing discussion, are hardest to discuss like doubt, fear, pain, and trauma.
We offer practices that may help them be more present with God and themselves.
Here are few descriptions from leading spiritual directors…
“SD conversations contain cognitive and affective information and responses. We talk about what we think and what we feel. We describe concepts, understandings, and emotions and notice our responses even as we speak.” – Holy Invitations, Jeannette Bakke
“We define SD, then, as help given by one Christian to another which enables the person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her (them), to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God and to live out the consequences of the relationship. The focus of this type of SD is on experience, not on ideas, and specifically religious experience, i.e., any experience of the mysterious Other whom we call God. Moreover, this experience is viewed, not as an isolated event, but as an ongoing expression of the ongoing personal relationship God has established with each one of us.” – Barry and Connolly
“Spiritual direction takes plan when two people agree to give their full attention to what God is doing in one of their lives and seek to respond in faith… Whether planned or unplanned, three convictions underpin these meetings: (1) God is always doing something: an active grace is shaping this life into a mature salvation; (2) responding to God is not sheer guesswork: the Christian community has acquired wisdom through the centuries that provides guidance; (3) each soul is unique: no wisdom can simply be applied without discerning the particulars of this life, this situation.” – Eugene Peterson
I welcome all clients, all without requiring adherence to any religious belief or creed, and I value the diversity of humanity which includes differences in gender, age, race, ethnicity, range of abilities, sexual orientation, financial means, education, and political perspective.