This blog is part of a series on Spiritual Direction designed to answer questions about the practice of Spiritual Direction. Click here to see the full FAQ series.
When we first start a new practice, it’s often because there’s a result we are seeking; when we start a meditation practice, we may be seeking a sense of calm. When we start a movement practice, we may be seeking heart health or strength. When we start a spiritual practice, we may be seeking depth or connection with God. When we start a journaling practice, we may be seeking clarity.
With many practices we start, we often keep at them for more than the original reason why we started. There end up being multiple benefits aside from our desired outcome that keep us showing up time and time again to our movement mats, to the pages of our journals, to the office of our mental health professional, or to the paths we walk outside.
The same could be said for spiritual direction.
Generally, those who seek out spiritual direction do so for a reason (see Who is Spiritual Direction For?). While journeying with a spiritual companion, they realize this practice has many other benefits that make it a practice worth committing to.
From my experience, I started with my own director during a challenging time. As I felt supported, seen and truly heard during our sessions, our monthly meetings became a natural rhythm that supports my spiritual life. From celebrating accomplishments (like becoming a spiritual director myself) to having somewhere to talk about the things I was still in the middle of (like a season of burn out), to being asked exploratory questions that I couldn’t get anywhere else that invited me deeper into awareness of God with me, this practice has kept me coming back month after month.
So, what are the benefits of meeting with a spiritual director?
While the initial value of spiritual direction in one’s life will vary depending on what they are looking for, the practice itself has many benefits that may include:
- A sense of connection. Having someone to share your life (thoughts, ideas, struggles, joys, experiences) with can make you feel less isolated and alone.
- Feeling supported and encouraged. Having someone in your corner who sees your growth, can connect the dots between sessions to notice patterns and encourages you along your journey, and supports you.
- A greater awareness of the presence of God. When entering a session and throughout, we make space to acknowledge and connect with the presence of God. This can often trickle out into your awareness of God in daily life.
- A greater awareness of the movement of God. As we explore your current lived experience in sessions, you may notice how God intentionally connects with you, as the unique person you were designed to be, and become more aware of the movements of the Divine in your own life.
- Deepening faith. A journey of faith is less like a path forward or backwards and more like a journey of depth. Intentional reflection with God, along with the sharing of spiritual disciplines, can facilitate an overall deepening of your faith experience.
- Greater self-awareness. Noticing your thoughts, emotions, and responses in a safe space can grow your self-awareness to understand more about you.
- Growing intimacy with God. Engaging in honest, real and authentic time with God cultivates intimacy with the Divine.
- Take-away tools. During sessions of spiritual direction, you may be introduced to new spiritual disciplines, go-to questions for reflection or other insights or experiences that become supportive systems and tools you reach for in daily life.
- Awareness and discernment of the Spirit. As we take slow, spacious time to intentionally connect with God, we invite discernment to our time; is this the Spirit speaking? What is the Spirit inviting me into? We practice discernment in a safe space so we can live it out in our daily lives.
- Unique faith and experience exploration. The questions asked to you during spiritual direction are often unlike questions you’ve experienced before. Contemplative and provocative questions with a focus on your experience with and of God offer something completely unique to your usual reflection.
- Self-acceptance. Your life is unique. There is no shame in being who you are and where you find yourself on your journey. You’ll find a safe, judgment-free and loving space to be exactly who you are
Each individual who has sought out spiritual direction would most likely have something else to add to this list based on their own experience of why they began meeting with a spiritual director and what has kept them coming back time and time again. The benefits are rich and during different seasons of your life, you may find what feels like the greatest benefit to you shifts and changes. During a season of doubt, having a safe space to share without judgment can feel like a life-vest. During a season of discernment, having someone to ask unique questions can help you approach all angles and get curious. During a season of joy, having someone to celebrate with you and reflect back to you the journey they have witnessed can be the greatest gift.
Whatever season you find yourself in, the benefits of meeting with a spiritual direction can be found.
If you think spiritual direction might be for you, click here to book a meet + greet and we can chat about spiritual direction, I can answer any questions you have, and we can see if we would make a great fit.