A Soul Companion - Part 2
Updated: Nov 11, 2021
In my previous blog, A Soul Companion, I introduced the ministry of spiritual direction by sharing about what it is and who might benefit from it. I noticed for many of you this topic brought up questions about the details of spiritual direction and what it is like to meet with a spiritual director. In this article, I’ll address some of the common questions that I am asked.
What happens in a spiritual direction session?
One of the most important things to note upfront about spiritual direction is that the term “director” is really a misnomer. The true director is the Holy Spirit. In her book, Holy Invitations, Jeannette A. Bakke says that “directors do not give answers or tell directees what to do in their relationship with God or when making life choices. Instead, they listen with directees for how the Spirit of God is present and active. Directors support and encourage directees as they listen and respond to God.” In essence, spiritual directors offer soul hospitality. They offer safe, non-judgmental space for you to have a conversation about your relationship with God and together you listen for God’s ways, desires, and invitations. Though every director is different and each session is distinctive, what you will likely encounter as you meet with a spiritual director is a welcoming, secure space to unpack the things on your heart. You will engage with Scripture, and you will take time in the session for listening to the Holy Spirit.
“What do people talk about in spiritual direction?”
A little of everything. We are beautiful human beings, each with our own unique pasts, characteristics, gifts, desires, and relationships. What a person brings to a spiritual direction session centers around their season in life with God and with others. In spiritual direction we look inward at thoughts and feelings, outward at relationships with others, and most importantly we look at God Himself. We notice God in the midst of our relationships - both with ourselves and with others. Any topic that helps you give prayerful attention to your relationship with God is something to bring to a spiritual direction session.
How often would I meet with a spiritual director?
It’s entirely up to you to decide how often you want to meet. Most commonly, people meet with a spiritual director for one-hour sessions monthly – and consider it a spiritual discipline. Some prefer to have spiritual direction on their calendar for a designated day and time each month. While others prefer to contact their director as needed in times that are most helpful for them.
Is there a cost for spiritual direction sessions?
A fee or donation for spiritual direction is usually discussed in the initial consultation and is likely listed on the spiritual director’s website or brochure.
Do spiritual directors abide by ethical standards?
Grafted Life Ministries provides a code of ethics used by Christian spiritual directors and to which all ESDA member spiritual directors abide. I have provided a link to that resource below. You can expect this topic to be addressed in your initial consultation with a spiritual director.
How do I prepare for a spiritual direction session?
The most helpful thing you can do to prepare for a spiritual direction session is to spend time in God’s presence thinking about your life and noticing what comes up. What are your joys and your concerns? What is going on in your relationships with others? What about your relationship with God? Below is a list of statements to help you think deeply about your life. Complete any of the statements that resonate with you. Journal or write down thoughts and questions that arise. These are the reflections you can bring to your spiritual direction sessions.
Words or phrases that describe how I experience God are …
I am preoccupied with thoughts of …
What I desire most from God is …
Lately, I’ve been feeling …
Words that describe my prayer life are ...
Spiritual disciplines that I practice are ...
I’ve been disappointed by God in these ways ...
I’ve been surprised by God when He ...
I have questions and doubts about ...
How do I find a spiritual director?
If it is your first time meeting with a spiritual director, you’ll most likely be offered a consultation session (usually at no charge) to get to know one another and to begin discerning whether you sense the Lord bringing you together for a spiritual direction relationship. Spiritual directors usually offer in-person and online sessions. Below are resources that offer lists of trained spiritual directors.
I hope these commonly asked questions are helpful for you if you are considering spiritual direction. I would love to hear your thoughts and questions in the Comments section below.
Resources for Finding a Spiritual Director
Holy Invitations, Jeannette A. Bakke
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