Who comes to Spiritual Direction?

All kinds of people come to spiritual direction–there is no one “type.” Directees are lay people and clergy. They come from all classes of society. They are male and female. Gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgendered and straight. Some are very religious and some fall into the “spiritual but not religious” category.  They are seekers and lifelong believers. They come from a variety of religious traditions. Although spiritual direction as discussed in this blog grew from Christianity, not all people who visit spiritual directors are Christian, nor are they expected to become one as a result of being in spiritual direction with a Christian. You can also find spiritual directors who are Jewish, Sufi-Muslim, Buddhist and Inter-faith.

What we can safely say about people who come to spiritual direction is that they are seeking greater awareness of the mystery we call God in their life. Some are people wondering “where is God in this situation in my life?” Some find their relationship with God is growing and they want to savor and celebrate that. Others feel their relationship with God is stale and they want to understand and work on that. Some have had a profound or even disturbing religious experience and need help “unpacking” what it means for their life. Many come to spiritual direction because they need to make a crucial decision in their life and want help in discerning which way to go.

Groups or organizations may request spiritual direction because they want to be about God’s work, but aren’t sure exactly what that means for them. Countless people seek spiritual direction because they have lost sight of God’s desire for their life in the “busy-ness” of life, and they hope a spiritual director can help them see more clearly again. And others want a spiritual director simply because they crave time with someone who will listen to them and support them as they talk about things that really matter—God, prayer, their values and ethical choices.

In our next session, I’ll talk about what spiritual direction can do for a person.

For more about spiritual direction as I practice it, check out my website. If you have questions or comments about the content of Spiritual Direction 101, please let me hear from you in the reply section below.

 

About Teresa Blythe
  • Candice

    Mrs. Blythe,
    As a Christian, a directee and a current student in a Spiritual Direction Certification Program I have a question. If a non-Christian is seeking spiritual direction…….what spirit are they convening with? I know that as a Christian I believe in the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Therefore when I am in direction or ‘directing’ someone else I know that God, The Holy Spirit is the Spirit that is with and leading us. This seems like shaking ground to me……please advise.

    • http://www.teresablythe.net Teresa Blythe

      Candice,

      I appreciate the question. My theology is that God is reaching out to us all the time and the Holy Spirit has no limitations. So I trust that the Holy Spirit is working in and through that person as well–seeking a deeper relationship with God is a sign that the Spirit is working. I let God sort out who is and is not a Christian.

      I realize this is a really tough question for people who are evangelical or fundamentalist Christians. I am a minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC) which leans more progressive and is open to wisdom coming from many traditions.

      I wish you the very best in your certification program. You might ask your instructors this same question and see what they have to say. There are many ways to view spiritual direction.