Spiritual direction is something many people have never considered, or perhaps ever even heard of. While society teaches about the value of seeking out certain types of one-on-one partners to help us live our best lives – therapists, life coaches, medical professionals – society is often silent about how (and who) to look regarding the care of our spirits. With so much change and chaos in the world right now, I would like to formally invite you to consider this for yourself. Perhaps now is the time…
Humans were created with the innate ability to see, hear, and follow God’s call. God shows up to be seen to all those he loves – and that most certainly includes YOU! Often, humans are too distracted, hurried, grieving, or trapped by unhealthy behaviors or beliefs to really see God. But this does not mean he isn’t there, waiting, acting, trying to be seen, and beckoning you: come closer.
We have a loving God. All of salvation history tells the story of a God inviting his sons and daughters into friendship, and those humans being so distracted with the next “shiny thing” that they hurry along. The climax of the story is God taking on flesh to appear to us in the material stuff by which we are often so distracted. Christians call this salvation. His love for us is a “never giving up” kind. St. Paul reflects on what we might do with this gift:
Working together, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says: “In an acceptable time, I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:1-2)
Christians did not invent the practice of meeting with a spiritual leader as one seeks answers to that question. The human heart has, since the beginning of time, longed for what it was meant for, longed for “something more.” Wise hearts pursue that longing, daring to dig beneath the surface of seemingly ordinary lives to find a beauty that is its destiny.
Modern Christians have refined the practice of spiritual direction into an art that is taught as an exercise in holy listening – listening to one’s own story, own feelings, own life events to search for the movement of God and his invitation for each unique individual. I studied this art at Boston College, and am saddened that more people do not avail themselves of the practice.
In listening to the movement of the Spirit in my own life, I am feeling God calling me to invest my professional life more intentionally in spiritual direction.
This pandemic has shaken the status quo; there is no longer any “normal.” Many are uncomfortable with that. This time has caused untold suffering. And yet, hidden within the hardship of this time are blessings that God plants for us to discover if we are looking. For me, this has meant a radical change in my career. The parish at which I exercised the majority of my ministry had to let go of much staff, myself included, and all but eliminate most of its programming. Like so many parishes, it is doing what it can to minister to people virtually, but figuring out how to do the work of ministry without being in person is a learning curve for everyone.
As a choir director, I have had to learn how to make music virtually, which has involved learning new technological skills I never thought I’d need. It has been a hidden blessing; it’s such a different way to make music.
On top of that, I am delighted to share that my husband and I are anticipating the birth of a baby girl this May.
My situation is drastically different than it was a year ago. In this “new,” the question I ask God is, “into what are you inviting me? Into what are you calling me? I know you have a plan for me. If that plan is now at a fork in the road, what new path are you leading me down?”
I believe I am hearing him lead me to exercise my ministry in a new way. Embrace the newly virtual world. Take advantage of the radically different pace that you are living in the pandemic, and the radically different pace that awaits you as a mother. Translation: rather than having a handful of spiritual direction clients at a time while you do other things (retreats, lectures, education), God is now calling me to focus solely on spiritual direction.
This post is my way of trying to follow God’s call. It’s an effort to more intentionally “hang my shingle,” so to speak, as a spiritual director. It’s exciting to me to consider meeting with people one-on-one full time. It’s work I’ve loved for so long, and I’m feeling called to lean further into it.
Whether I am the right fit for you or not, I urge you to hear the holy invitation of considering spiritual direction in your life. The Spiritual Directors International website has thousands of such directors all over the world, and I hope you allow this blog post to be your invitation to consider whether now is a very acceptable time to consider this practice in your own life.
As I seek to expand my clientele, I invite you to consider whether you feel called to pursue spiritual direction with me. Or, perhaps you could share my information with another person/persons you feel led to share it with. Perhaps you might even share my website address with your pastor to be advertised in your local faith community. I thank you for helping me say “yes” to God and to connect with the people I am called to serve now in these ways, if you feel so moved.
To learn more about how I view and practice spiritual direction, and to move forward with an initial meeting, please read my newly expanded Spiritual Direction tab on this website.