It didn’t take me long to discover that in Protestant circles, Spiritual Direction is not a familiar experience or field. Many think every pastor can and does provide spiritual direction.
Spiritual Direction is not therapy and it is not pastoral counseling. It is a one-on-one relationship organized around prayer and conversation, centered and formed around the structure of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. Clearly, this is directed toward deepening intimacy with God. Spiritual direction does not follow a standardized curriculum. Rather spiritual direction is a journey with others, who are committed to the process of spiritual transformation in Christ. As a spiritual director I can help you discern the presence and leading of the Spirit of God – the One Jesus sent as our true spiritual director.
A few years ago, when I suddenly found myself in the most challenging and demanding times of ministry, my spiritual direction provided me with the grace to respond in tenderness and grace. This left a strong impression on me that more people, more pastors and more churches would benefit from the experience of spiritual direction.
Jean Stairs in her book titled Listening for the Soul, writes,
“We listen foremost to hear the other into speech. We form a habit of soul inquiry and guide the telling so the focus does not drift to external realities but remains on the grist of the interior life of the one before us. Such intentional listening is not passive but evocative and actively responsive. It is all so that weary, troubled or hungry souls may discover a place that is safe enough to name the truth of their lives. And there is no place like home in God.”
Jean touches on much that is unique about spiritual direction. A spiritual director responds when they see and hear the places where God is present and doing work.