The practice of spiritual direction rescued me. I never felt I fit into the conservative church I grew up in, so I set out as a young adult to find a spiritual path that focused on God’s unconditional love of creation. The journey took considerable time. My new path had little to do with the institutional church. I didn’t discover it in worship, bible studies, social justice activism or through the adoption of a new theology. I found it by… Read more

If I were to poll spiritual directors and ask what is the most common concern people bring to direction, I’m guessing most would say “I want to pray more, but I just don’t.” Wanting to do something but not getting around to it is known as an action block. And with our sped-up, highly technological, “do-it-now” culture I’m not surprised that slowing down for prayer is a challenge. In fact, to be honest, it’s one of my biggest challenges. It’s… Read more

Many Christians observe the season of Lent with 40 days of a spiritual practice of their choosing. Lent is traditionally the fast of 40 days before Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday, and it helps us clear out space in our lives for a deeper relationship with God. It’s a small way we honor the suffering of Jesus in the last days of his life. Throughout Christian history, Lent has been a time of taking responsibility for our failures and sin—penance—and… Read more

One of the advantages of having a lot of spiritual direction training programs around these days is that—at least in some areas of the country—you have a lot of potential spiritual directors to choose from.  Even with supply at its highest, it is important that you are comfortable with the person you choose. Finding that Good Fit First, spend some time in prayer asking God to guide you to the right spiritual director. Do not skip this step! As a… Read more

All relationships have a lifespan, and the relationship between a person and their spiritual director is no different. It is a shame when people hang on with a spiritual director out of a sense of duty or obligation. If you find you are no longer growing in the way you had hoped to grow spiritually with your director, then it is time to say goodbye. And it doesn’t have to be terribly awkward or sad for either party. As one… Read more

Have you included “getting spiritually grounded” on your list of goals for 2017? If so, you may find the practice of spiritual direction helpful. Spiritual direction is a contemplative look at what really matters in your life. Here are 5 ways spiritual direction can be helpful to you:   Spiritual direction provides a safe, confidential space for you to share your hopes, dreams, beliefs, doubts, spiritual experiences and longings. A spiritual director is a nonjudgmental presence who can assist you… Read more

The field of spiritual direction harbors an unfortunate bias against young adults becoming spiritual directors. Some training programs will not consider anyone under 30 for admission and others reluctantly accept those in their 30’s but really believe that anyone under 40 doesn’t have enough life experience to be a spiritual director. The message is:  wait until you are old to do this work.   The Bias Conventional wisdom holds that a spiritual director is someone who is “farther down the… Read more

Many churches and faith based organizations do good work in the present but have difficulty catching a vision for the next chapter in life, be that the next three months or the next three years. Change takes them by surprise, the congregation or group’s anxiety ratchets up, and fear about the future begins to drive decision-making. It feels like a crisis, but is actually an opportunity to rediscover the spiritual practice of discernment. What Usually Happens When the crisis-of-change hits, the… Read more

An elderly minister I visit regularly in my job as visitation pastor for my church told me today that “spiritual direction will be greatly needed in the days ahead.” He was one of many people I know deeply troubled by the reports of hate crimes and hate speech directed at people of color, the LGBTQ community, women and immigrants after the election of Donald Trump as President. Regardless of how you feel about how the election turned out, the fact… Read more

With only a few days left before the 2016 Presidential election there are still those who have not yet decided whether to vote for Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, third party candidates or a write-in candidate. So it’s time for an outline of 5 basic spiritual discernment questions—culled from the writings and teachings of Ignatius of Loyola in the mid-16th century–that may be helpful. Discernment is the spiritual practice of listening deeply within your heart for God’s wisdom guiding you. It’s… Read more

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