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.
How do I know if I should see a spiritual director? Do I need to be at a certain point in my faith journey? Is it just for people new to faith? Or is it just for people who have been walking with God for a long time? Is there a tell-tale sign that spiritual direction is for me?
As with most things, the question of ‘is this for me?’ comes up. From beginning to meet with a mental health professional, to trying a new style of movement, to showing up with a picture of a new hairstyle at your next appointment, the question we wonder is if this new thing is for us; are we the person this program, experience, style, or adventure is for?
Today we are diving into who spiritual direction is for.
In my own experience, I first sought out spiritual direction when I was going through a hard time as someone who loves Jesus but also the practice of yoga. I found myself in tears when receiving emails from people sharing their belief that what I was doing was wrong. I was continually feeling discouraged, like I had to hide who I was, and like people forgot there was a real human being on the receiving end of their words. Where was love and seeking understanding? Where was the conversation with someone, instead of speaking at someone? It was during this trying time I came across the practice of spiritual direction on Instagram from an account I follow, the Yoga Abbey. When I read the description of spiritual direction from one of the directors, there was a stirring from the Spirit so I went to visit her profile, then sent an email to inquire about spiritual direction. We’ve now been meeting together since the beginning of 2020 and it is truly a gift.
From my experience as a directee, spiritual direction was for me as someone searching for a safe space to land when the world wasn’t feeling safe anymore. To be asked questions about how I experienced my life, my life with God, and to acknowledge the presence of God throughout our sessions began to seep out into my days even more. It is a place of sharing struggle and celebration and pondering and listening.
As a director, I’ve welcomed and journeyed with people through all different stages of faith and life from discerning ‘what’s next’, to walking through loss, or general curiosity at having a place to find connection with God in a new way.
So, who is spiritual direction for?
Spiritual direction is a practice that any person who considers themselves to be on a journey of faith could benefit from. Whether you’re just discovering God and are looking for someone to talk to and join you on this new adventure, you’re someone whose experience with religion or faith is changing and you’d like a safe space to share doubts, ask questions, or show up authentically, you’re someone who has been on this journey for a while and is looking to explore new depths, or, you’re anywhere in between, you may find spiritual direction valuable.
Those who may especially benefit from pursuing spiritual direction are:
- Those who are going through a difficult season of life and who are perhaps wondering where God is in their story, or who are looking for support through this time.
- Those who are in the midst of big decisions and are seeking assistance discerning what God might be inviting them into as they explore options.
- Those who are at a place in their faith where they have doubts, questions, and are wrestling with ideas as their faith changes.
- Those who are feeling stuck or burnt out.
- Those who crave a deeper connection to God but who are unsure how to go deeper.
- Those who want to explore new spiritual practices and explore their faith experience outside their regular practices and disciplines.
- Those who find traditional spaces to not be welcoming or safe or who have felt hurt by traditional spaces who still desire exploration of their faith and connection with God.
- Those who lack a faith community to connect with about their faith.
- Those who find themselves entering onto new paths on their faith journey and are looking for support and encouragement.
- Those who are in a season of consolation and want to explore their growing in and moving towards more faith, hope, and love.
- Those who are in a season of desolation and want to explore their feelings of distance from God with compassion, love, and curiosity.
- Those who have big feelings that often don’t find support from others.
- Those who crave soul nourishing and a spiritual companion as they move through life. Someone to hold be with them in their grief and pain, someone to celebrate their joy and success, and someone to be with them in every space in between.
Similarly to other avenues of wellness and care, individuals often first seek out spiritual direction when there are shifts and changes in their life and they are looking for support. These shifts and changes can be ones that are challenging, exciting, or anywhere in between. Often those who seek out spiritual direction during these times continue with the practice due its benefits (see What are the Benefits of Meeting with a Spiritual Director?).
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.