I stumbled upon spiritual direction by accident. Having been introduced to the language of evangelical Christianity in college, I was familiar with the idea of discipleship. I even was lucky enough to have a few mentors disciple me when I was in college, and I would say I had a good grounding in the Christian faith as a result.
But between college and my next experience of intense growth in my Christian faith lay two decades of what I suspect represents the typical American evangelical church experience fairly accurately. Twenty years of weekly worship, bible studies, small groups, various life groups, incidental relationships with pastors and church staff, volunteering, leading, and general participating gradually turned into a lack of true spiritual vitality, and a loss of spiritual hope.
Providence walked into my life, thanks to my employment at a Christian institution, in the form of a grant for spiritual direction. I applied for it without knowing what spiritual direction actually is, what it looked like, or what I would be engaging in. I got the grant. I was matched with a spiritual director. We met. We kept meeting. A whole year. Then two. Then five. Now 10.
What is spiritual direction? The process basically looks like a meeting between two people, my director and me, in which I am invited to tell my story, or whatever I want to tell, with a focus on the ways that I can or can't see what God is doing in my life, and on where I do or don't experience him as I go through my days. The word "direction" is only partially accurate, as the relationship is less hierarchical than that word implies. There is an element of guidance, or direction. But the relationship might best be characterized as one of spiritual friendship, or companionship.
Spiritual direction is a place where you have the experience of being known by another person, and by God. Most likely, you will gradually come to know yourself more deeply, too. Spiritual direction is a space of honesty, openness, reflection, and inquiry. It is a place to explore your experience of God and his love, and his will, for you.
Reflection: Is there a relationship, in your life where you feel heard with regards to spiritual things? Can you express yourself fully with spiritual concerns and questions, as they apply to your life and you experiences? Do you have any spiritual friendships? Is there a person who truly hears your inner being and soul?