Discovering Jesus in Spiritual Direction
She just needed a minute. A quick question; clarification about something simple. An hour later, we were both hesitant to step away from holy ground.
He wasn’t sure he was supposed to be here. He wasn’t sure he was qualified, called, or equipped for this task. And he really wasn’t sure it was okay to tell anyone else that.
Her mask was so thick. The parroting voice and phrases she used suggested she was lost somewhere behind the façade. Did she even know where the mask ended and she began anymore?
The wounds were old and deep. She wanted to believe they were scars. When would this stop holding power over her?
How could he be sure? How did he know that this voice was God? Where did discernment become faith?
Spiritual direction is the ancient art of listening for God alongside of others. The desert mothers and fathers welcomed other pilgrims who were seeking a word from God. Together they listened to the music of life to find God’s melody and follow it.
In my own practice of spiritual direction, I wait to feel the wind of the Spirit and allow myself to move along with it. In each of the stories above, what people were seeking was the Word from God. Where is Jesus, the Living Word, in this story, in this moment of my life? And together we listen for where God has been and where we can seek God in this moment.
I discover Jesus as I listen to these stories. The very air becomes thick with holiness as stories are poured out in honesty. The story is holy, the person’s experience of the story is holy, and what happens in me as I listen is holy. I am changed by the stories that are told. I find new grace within me each time I hear what God has been doing. The Word speaks to change my journey as I hope to offer assistance to another’s journey. God never ceases to amaze me with the ways that others are seeking in the same ways that I am. God’s Spirit moves with purpose and order even as it is unpredictable. While I could never map the Spirit’s movement, I feel it moving in me like a strong river. The current is powerful and unrelenting.
Jesus is revealed to be present, at work, and larger than we often give credit for. This same God that created humans still breathes life into a newborn baby. This same God that created earth and seas still brings new life to them. The same God that created me is still creating and renewing and redeeming each of us. As each grain of sand by the shore is counted, God knows each of us as works in progress. None of us are finished being created into the image of God and everyone feels that change differently. How vast are your thoughts, O God, that you could know each of us in this way!
Spiritual direction is the place where I have rediscovered faith to be alive and active, Jesus to be fully human, and God to be faithful. As a spiritual director, I have the overwhelming grace-filled opportunity to offer these and more discoveries of this God who loves enough to become flesh.