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The Ancient Art of Listening: Spiritual Direction for Evangelicals and Introverts

Over the past few years, as I have become more comfortable with my introverted preferences, I have found myself withdrawing from some aspects of evangelical culture -- especially where it tends toward hyperactivity and an unhealthy restlessness -- and I have discovered a quiet passion for spiritual direction. I have had a spiritual director for five years and I just completed a three-year training program to become a certified director. Of course, extroverts can be excellent spiritual directors as well, but I consider the gifts that many introverts have -- a readiness to listen, a rich interior life, and deep compassion -- to be wonderful assets of spiritual directors.   

I am grateful that evangelicals in recent decades have rediscovered the benefits of spiritual disciplines, though it seems that many still conceive of those disciplines as largely individualistic. Spiritual direction combines the cultivation of the interior life with the formation of a partnership with another person who can provide an alternative voice to our own, who can help us pay attention to the Voice that continues to speak, not through the wheeling stars but through his Son and his Word.  

Adam McHugh will continue to write on evangelicals, introverts, and the spiritual disciplines for Patheos' Evangelical Portal

3/4/2011 5:00:00 AM