Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Do you talk about God or do you talk to God?

"I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you". (John 16:12-15)

Spiritual direction (also known as spiritual guidance, spiritual friendship, or spiritual companionship) starts with a desire to live a life more centered in God and the knowledge that help and guidance are needed to do so. The person desiring direction (often called the "directee") seeks another individual to help guide, support, and listen together for God. The purpose of spiritual direction is to help people become aware of the mystery of God’s presence and action in human experience, and to assist them in making fuller and freer response to it.
Spiritual direction is the ancient practice of spiritual friendship and mentoring in which one spiritual seeker joins another on his or her spiritual journey, giving counsel and encouragement along the way. It is a discipline practiced in many religions and cultural traditions including shamanism, Christian mysticism, Islamic Sufi practice, and Hindu Gurus. All are considered to be valid attempts to follow a path which leads to a deep experience of God’s transcendent presence.

Basically, it is up to both the director and directee to listen for the voice of Spirit as the stories of one's life are related, grounding them in scripture, theology and tradition while still being open to the new thing that God may wish to bring forth. The difference here is that we are not just talking about God but relating details of our personal experience of and relationship with God.
Therefore, spiritual direction avoids the realm of talk about God which often enters into discussions of theology, belief systems, dogma and tradition. Spiritual direction is about entering into a relationship of sharing deeply one's actual experiences of God for the purpose of learning more about ourselves and the desires of the one who created us as we are.
As such, this is a daring adventure that cannot be entered into without significant investment of one's self and a willingness to reveal what lies at the depths of one's soul. The rewards are great but the risk is ultimate in that one who truly desires to know God and to be completely open to God can hold nothing back in the end. Of course, no one starts out at such a level of complete openness and honesty and often much time is required in order to reach the point of being so vulnerable and so completely transparent. This level of transparency can only happen when one comes to know the sheer depth of God's grace and when one understands the cross as a measure of the willingness of God to do whatever it takes to be in relationship with us.
The advantage of spiritual direction is that trained directors can often observe things about the way you tell your story that remain hidden to you. These little revelations are often the keys to opening up deep, hidden pockets of self-knowledge and ways of being with God that would otherwise remain obscured. If you sincerely desire to know God more intimately, spiritual direction may be worth considering as a way of getting beyond your own limits of understanding God and becoming open to the ways God seeks to be present in your life.

Peace and love,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

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