What is Spiritual Direction?
Spiritual Direction is a form of soul care, a time where the Spiritual Director meets with the directee in a safe, confidential space, to explore together the directee’s journey in life.
We all live busy lives and at times need to sit with someone who helps to ask the right questions to lead us deeper into our relationship with God and how God is working in our life.
A Spiritual Director is not a counsellor, nor an advisor, nor a pastor, nor a life coach. They are a facilitator or guide on the journey of life with the directee. They together listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and through spiritual practices like contemplative prayers, Lectio Divina, gospel contemplation and silence, discern together the presence of God in our lives.
Why do we need Spiritual Direction?
God is always active in our lives and He is always drawing us closer to Him. At times, when life is busy or when things get complicated, it is helpful to have someone journey with us to help discern what He is doing and saying to us in this season.
“The assumption of spirituality is that always God is doing something before I know it. So the task is not to get God to do something I think needs to be done, but to become aware of what God is doing so that I can respond to it and participate and take delight to it.” ~Eugene Peterson
Goals of Spiritual Direction
- Draw you closer to God – to increase awareness of God’s presence in your daily lives
- Discernment of God’s voice – to discern the voice of God more easily and hear what He is saying in your varying seasons of life
- Be your true self – we are each uniquely gifted and wired and God is the creator of that uniqueness. We want to honour who are you in Christ and help you see the value in your uniqueness
Reasons to seek out Spiritual Direction
- learn new ways of connecting to God
- have someone to journey with you through the ups and downs, the struggles and joys of life
- hear together for God’s vision for your life
- learn more about your uniqueness, gifts and strengths as well as weaknesses
- seeing more clearly God’s influence in your daily life
- grow in intimacy with Christ
What We Offer
As we progress in our Christian life, spiritual guidance will come to us in many ways—from friends, teachers and many other sources. When, however, this guidance comes in the form of an intentional one-on-one conversation with the sole goal of one individual’s growth, this is spiritual direction.
This special process includes three persons: the spiritual director, the directee, and most importantly the Holy Spirit, who is at the centre of the practice of spiritual direction. Through regular meetings with a spiritual director, the directee comes to experience and understand God’s transforming work of the Holy Spirit, leading to an opportunity to more fully respond to God’s personal communication.
The Right Fit
Finding a Spiritual Director needs to be initiated by prayer, trusting that God will give you discernment. The first meeting is a one hour time together to hear each others’ stories and ask questions of each other to discern if the fit is right.
It is very important to feel comfortable, and to know that what is shared with your spiritual director will be held in confidence. You may wish to interview more than one director, paying attention to your comfort level. Don’t be afraid to ask about their theological and spiritual education, or whether they abide by particular ethical guidelines.
After a two week period of prayer and discernment, the directee as well as the director meets to chat about the possibility of entering into a Spiritual Direction relationship together.
After a few sessions, you should evaluate the relationship together, to be sure that both feel it will be beneficial — whether it is for a short time, or many years. If you don’t find that the spiritual director is a good fit for you, you can always seek another.
Fees and Meetings
Our directors’ rate is $80/hour + HST, and we offer a subsidized rate on a sliding scale as needed.
Together with your spiritual director, you will agree on a convenient time and location to meet. Typically our directors meet monthly with directee’s for one hour. Many directee’s choose an online format for these sessions, but face to face options are available as well. The first session is always free of charge to determine the right fit between both individuals.
The Hebrew prophet Isaiah states in poetic language that we are clay in the hands of God, our potter: “we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8) This is a beautiful description of the the formation of the Christian into an object of beauty. Spiritual formation is the organic, life-long process wherein God forms his adopted child into the image of the Son of God.
Teach me, and I will be silent; And show me how I have been wrong. (Job 6:24)
Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day. (Psalm 25:4-5)
God will show me the path of life. (Psalm 16:11)
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not lack. (Psalm 23:1)
My steps are ordered by the Lord. (Psalm 37:23)
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)
I trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. In all my ways I acknowledge Him and He directs my paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Whether I turn to the right or to the left, I hear a voice behind me saying, “This is the way, walk in it”. (Isaiah 30:21)
Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground. (Psalm 143:10)
The Lord will guide me continually. (Isaiah 58:11)
LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps. (Jeremiah 10:23)
I desire to do God’s will so I shall know whether it is from God. (John 7:17)
I follow Jesus so I will not walk in darkness, but I have the light of life. (John 8:12)
I hear Jesus’ voice and He calls me by name and leads me out. Jesus goes before me and I follow him, for I know his voice. (John 10:3-5)
The Spirit of truth has come and He is guiding me into all truth. He will tell me things to come. (John 16:13)
I am led by the Spirit of God for I am a son of God. (Romans 8:14)
It is God Who works in me both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. (Colossians 3:15)
I will stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. (Colossians 4:12)
The God of peace will make me complete in every good work to do His will, working in me what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 13:21)
The Christian church has a long history of modelling spiritual guidance after Jesus, the central biblical model for the practice of spiritual direction. In the New Testament period, the apostles and pastors exemplified this (Galatians 4:19). Later the monks of the Eastern church, especially those who came to be known as the Desert Fathers and Mothers, more formally defined an emerging tradition of spiritual direction.
Historically, there are three Christians whose writings have had an especially significant impact on spiritual direction, especially as understood and practiced by Protestants. St. Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle provides a clear path to spiritual deepening and growth. The Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross has given voice to the experience of the Christian when God seems to have vanished. St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) wrote of his prayer and experiences with God and developed a systematic model for knowing Christ, which he called the Spiritual Exercises.
In recent years there has been a rediscovery of these men and women, as well as others who left to us writings on spiritual guidance and direction, and a deliberate attempt to adapt their disciplines, practices and teachings to the needs of the modern church (both Catholic and Protestant, in separate, converging streams.) It is this modern application of the ancient art which, when rooted in Jesus, is so exciting for the life and health of today’s church. Among current Protestant writers, we are blessed by the writings of Margaret Guenther, Jeannette Bakke, and Gordon T. Smith.