There is nothing more beautiful than listening for God through spiritual direction. I understand this gift both from sitting in a chair as a spiritual director and as the one sitting in the directee’s chair, being listened to by the holy listener sitting across from me. Sitting in both chairs increases my faith and deepens my relationship with God.
What is spiritual direction?This is a question people ask me often. Spiritual direction is holy listening that involves three parties: the Holy Spirit, the spiritual director, and the directee. Each has a unique role in helping us listen for God.
The Holy Spirit acts and moves in the directee’s life. The Holy Spirit is present in both the spiritual director and the directee, opening their ears, their hearts, and their eyes to listen for God, feel God, and look for God. The spiritual director serves in the role of holy listener for the directee. As the person shares what’s been going on in prayer and daily life, the spiritual director is diligently listening for the Holy Spirit’s nudges and promptings. This deep listening for God at work in the other person’s life helps the director ask questions and offer observations about how God seems to be moving in the person’s interior and exterior life.
Spiritual direction involves helping people grow in their relationship with God. This happens by inviting people to notice God at work in their day-to-day lives, by helping them discern God’s invitations, and by helping them gain awareness of what inhibits their growth in God.
People meet with a spiritual director for many reasons. Perhaps they want to grow in their relationship with God and are seeking guidance as to how to start their prayer lives or how to take their prayer lives deeper. They might be trying to discern an invitation from God. Sometimes, what draws people to spiritual direction is that they are in the middle of a major transition or crisis of faith.
For the last 19 years, I have received the gift of someone walking with me as my spiritual director to help me listen for God. As a parent and lay minister, it is hands down one of the best time commitments I keep each month. Meeting with a spiritual director keeps my prayer life from growing stagnant, strengthens my relationship with God, and allows me to discern God’s invitations prayerfully. It also helps me be aware of disordered attachments and sinful tendencies that keep me from putting my faith fully into action.
As a spiritual director, my faith increases when I get to witness up close God at work in another person’s life. There is no greater privilege than to listen to a person open up to receive God’s love and mercy or to watch God help someone forgive himself/herself or another person because of what God did within him/her. Helping people discern the movements of the spirits in their lives strengthens my belief that God is involved intimately in our lives.
No matter where you are on your faith journey, I invite you to consider meeting with a spiritual director who can accompany you deeper in your encounter with Christ.
Editor’s note: For advice on how to find a spiritual director, watch the video here.