What is Spiritual Direction?
Spiritual Direction is the process where one Christian helps another to discern what the Lord may be saying, and doing in their life. In an informal discussion in a spirit of prayerfulness, the one receiving direction brings questions or observations about their life. The ‘director’ listens, both to the person, and to the Lord, and uses questions, Scriptures or observations to enable deeper reflection, and, hopefully, a clearer insight to the work and word of the Lord in the directee’s life.
The whole purpose of spiritual direction is to penetrate beneath the surface of a person’s life, to get behind the façade of conventional gestures and attitudes which one presents to the world, and to bring out one’s inner spiritual freedom, one’s inmost truth. It’s to seek to reflect the likeness of Christ in one’s soul. This is an entirely supernatural thing, for the work of rescuing the inner person from automatism belongs first of all to the Holy Spirit.Thomas Merton, Trappist monk, USA
Spiritual direction is to meet with a ‘director’ who provides a safe and comfortable place to process and grow in responding to God’s work and word in your life. It’s to provide a setting conducive to reflection, with gentle guidance, occasional periods of silence and reflection on the Scriptures, as they may speak to a particular situation. Spiritual direction is to hear the directee’s heart and to help him/her to discern what the Lord may be doing in their lives, or saying to them.
Spiritual direction is a guided, contemplative process of encountering and growing in intimate relationship with God, of being gradually transformed into His likeness. It is to live with questions, but to seek God through them.
“Spiritual direction is, in reality, nothing more than a way of leading us to see and obey the real Director — the Holy Spirit hidden in the depths of our soul.”
Contemplative life is a human response to the fundamental fact that the central things in life, although spiritually perceptible, remain invisible in large measure and can very easily be overlooked… The contemplative looks not so much around things, but through them into their centre. Through their centre she/he discovers the world of spiritual beauty that is more real, has more density, more mass, more energy, and greater intensity than physical matter.Henri Nouwen The Genesee Diary
How does Spiritual Direction differ from Counselling?
Spiritual Direction has to do with living the Christian life rather than thinking about it… counselling, even within the church, has become heavily psychologized and quite therapeutic. In counselling people deal with problems. But spiritual direction doesn’t begin with a problem. It commences with a desire to seek and know God better, and to discover deeper communion with Him. Spiritual Direction comes out of a place of relative wholeness and pursues Christian holiness. Inspired by some thoughts of Eugene Peterson
Rev Ron Brookman
has been trained in spiritual direction with Spiritual Growth Ministries, Aotearoa New Zealand. With 40 years of pastoral ministry, national leadership of Living Waters, a significant inner healing ministry, and with his own journey out of addiction, he has developed an ear to hear the Lord’s voice. His manner is to listen both to the directee and the Lord, and to help the 2 hearts connect in a deeper way.
It is worthwhile, once a rapport has been established to commit to 12 monthly sessions, or more frequently if warranted.