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Friday, February 13, 2004

spiritual GPS

In response to your feedback, I present a brief interpretive dance entitled "Finding a Spiritual Director," for which I will not be wearing a leotard.

This really should be an easier thing, but right now it seems like more people are looking for spiritual directors (which I'm going to abbreviate as SD), and they don't exactly hang out a shingle most of the time. So you have to do some work.

First, of course, you should start praying about it. I had my entire small group praying about it for a couple of months before I found my current SD. Pray for the right person to find you or be found by you.

The best place to start is probably the rector of your parish, or another clergy member. They're probably the most likely to know who has a gift for spiritual direction, either within your parish or outside of it. Spiritual directors aren't always clergy; some laypeople have a real gift for it as well. Whether or not you want to stay in your own parish, if that is an option, is a decision for you to make. Even before I worked at a church, I chose an 'outside' SD, because it gave me a space to talk about my ministry with someone who wasn't invested in it.

My SD is the rector of another parish in my diocese. I found her by asking people who are in the ordination process about their spiritual directors. Spiritual direction is often a requirement of aspirants/postulants, so if you know anyone who is working toward ordained ministry, chances are they have a spiritual director. It can't hurt to ask. The person who is in charge of vocations for your diocese may also know some SDs. Other places to look include convents and monasteries, since members of religious orders often do spiritual direction.

I meet with my SD once a month. I sometimes refer to it as couples counseling for me and Jesus (hey, at least I know which one of us has the problem!), but mostly it's a time to stop and really pay attention to what's happening for me spiritually. She mostly just listens, which is good because I tend to go into Massive Download mode as I sit down. She makes observations and suggestions and gently guides me out of the mental quicksand I get myself into sometimes. It's not counseling or therapy (although there was one time when we switched over from spiritual direction to pastoral care a few minutes into the meeting, because I was a mess about something specific). The best description I've found is that it is a holy relationship, and that the Holy Spirit is the third person in the room, guiding the conversation. I've definitely felt that presence.

All of the above information was provided by pulledoutofmyass.com, and may bear little to no resemblance to anyone else's actual life or experience with spiritual direction.
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Tuesday, February 10, 2004


Do you ever just find yourself in a place where you look up for a moment and realize that you are ridiculously blessed? I mean when everything is just sort of falling into place and it seems, for a moment, that you must be God's Favorite Person, that God must be boring the saints silly, the way He talks about you all the time. It's embarrassing is what it is. All these blessings piling on top of each other, like a big box of squirming puppies.

I'm really there right now. I'm basking in a time of being Not Afraid. It's a fine thing and I'd like to hang on to it as long as I can.
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