SPIRITUAL DIRECTION IS a one-on-one relationship which helps the individual become aware of the movements, invitations and promptings of God in their life.
“Spiritual direction is the art of intentionally journeying with another (directee) in a Spirit-led, free flowing way that fosters trust, safety, vulnerability and honesty with God and self so that the directee can become aware of the movements and promptings of God in their life, more fully embrace the love and grace God has for them and in turn manifest that love to others.” (Larry Warner).
PASTORS AND SPIRITUAL DIRECTION:
According to Eugene Peterson in his book Working the Angles – The Shape of Pastoral Integrity every Pastor needs spiritual direction. “It is not merely nice for pastors to have a spiritual direction; it is indispensable:
Everybody should know this truth that no one is gifted with such prudence and wisdom as to be adequate for himself in the guidance of his own spiritual life. Self-love is a blind guide and fools many. The light of our own judgment is weak and we cannot envision all dangers or snares and errors to which we are prone in the life of the spirit. (John Cardinal Bona, A Treatise of Spiritual Life pp. 5, 66.)
Peterson continues; “In the best of all possible worlds, no pastor would have to get a spiritual director. We would already have one – not by choice or inclination but by assignment…But we don’t live in the best of all possible worlds, in which someone looks after us in these matters, and the vocational/spiritual peril in which the pastor lives is so acute that, dangerous or not (but very mindful of the danger), pastors must get spiritual directors. Our spiritual sanity requires it.” (Working the Angles. p. 167-168)
DO YOU FIND YOURSELF ASKING QUESTIONS SUCH AS:
- “Why, God, do I feel so stuck in my relationship with You…how do I find You?”
- “In what ways are You working in my life and inviting me to be with You that I am not even aware of?”
- “I long for You, Jesus, so how can I experience you in the deep, intimate ways You promise are possible?”
- “Where do I go from here? My relationship with Jesus feels like it has hit a glass ceiling yet I sense there is so much more – what now?”
- “How can I be more aware of God – the one in whom I live, move and have my being…to sense God’s presence, to see God’s fingerprints on my life?”
These are normal questions which often lead one to the realization that there is something missing in their relationship with God and they are in need of someone to come alongside them as they seek deeper intimacy with God.
SPIRITUAL DIRECTION IS FOR YOU IF:
- You desire greater intimacy with God
- You sense the value of having another look at your life and listen to the voice of God with you, helping you to explore and deepen your experiences of God
- You feel stuck in your relationship with God
- A vital relationship with God is important to you
- You are facing a decision in your life
SPIRITUAL DIRECTION DIFFERS from pastoral counseling, mentoring, and discipleship in that spiritual direction is not need driven but focuses on the everyday experiences of the directee and the presence of God in those experiences. The agenda is revealed and guided by the Holy Spirit, while the director and directee pay attention to the Spirit’s leading and prompting as they talk together. The goal is for the directee to grow in experiential knowledge of God and self. The role of the director is to provide a safe, caring environment, as well as to truly ‘be’ with and listen to the directee and to help the directee explore and sit with what God is offering. The focus of spiritual direction is not teaching or problem-solving.
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