Assessing Spiritual Growth

What does spiritual direction actually do for a person? How can we assess whether this practice is contributing to our spiritual growth? It takes time and the power of observation, but those questions can be answered rather concretely. The longer you see a spiritual director who gets to know you quite well, the easier it [Read More…]

Simple Questions to Help you Discern

Discernment doesn’t have to be some heavy, serious, complicated process.  Just this week I was reading a denominational booklet designed to help churches discern their growth strategy, and it was exhausting to read all the intricate instructions. It even suggested that groups spend time discerning whether or not to use that particular discernment model. You [Read More…]

Basic Principles to Help You Discern

You could fill a library with books written about spiritual discernment. Here’s a distillation of what some of the better ones have to say. I have noticed about 12 key principles always mentioned in writings about discernment.  They come from the Christian traditions of St. Ignatius (Catholic) and the Society of Friends (Quakers). When at [Read More…]

Discernment as a Way of Life

Out of our awareness of God and our trust in God grows the practice of discernment.  Discernment asks the question, “What is God’s presence inviting me to be or do in this situation?” Whenever we come to an important choice in life—what work to pursue, who to be in relationship with, how to spend our [Read More…]

Silence in Spiritual Direction

Silence is sometimes referred to as God’s first language. But how you feel about silence probably has a lot to do with your personality type, your neurological make-up and your upbringing. Introverts may be more comfortable with silence than extroverts. People who were punished with “the silent treatment” may avoid silence at all costs. No [Read More…]

Awareness of God

The first step in any spiritual journey is awareness–becoming open to a reality beyond yourself. Many people enter spiritual direction to become more aware of God’s presence in their life and in the world. They want their belief in a Higher Power to make that journey from head to heart. They want to feel the [Read More…]

What spiritual direction cannot do for you

Spiritual direction is not professional counseling. Even though there may seem to be some overlapping practices (such as active listening), there is a vast difference between therapy and spiritual direction. Spiritual direction is primarily a wellness practice. First and foremost, spiritual directors do not diagnose or treat disorders of any kind. For example, if a [Read More…]

What Spiritual Direction can do for you

At its best, spiritual direction can help you become more aware of where God is active and moving in your life. It’s designed to help you savor and remember God’s goodness and discern how it is you are being invited to follow God into a broken and hurting world. Spiritual direction is also helpful for [Read More…]

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 [Read More…]

It’s about Contemplation

Spiritual Direction is a contemplative practice. By contemplative I mean it values contemplation, which is a form of quiet resting in God’s embrace with no need for words or particular actions. It is what the Psalmist meant when writing, “Be still and know I am God.”  The late Walter J. Burghardt, Jesuit theologian and spiritual writer, defined [Read More…]