Spiritual direction can help you find deeper meaning and purpose in your life by encouraging you to engage on a deeper level to what God is calling you to be and do. In spiritual direction sessions we create space to cultivate the awareness of the presence of God in your life. We reflect deeply on how God is communicating or wanting to communicate with you in this season and come up with ways for you to respond to God's call.
Most of us get overly busy or burned out from time to time, however we can learn how to slow down just a little to allow God's grace to enliven and refresh our minds, bodies and spirits. It is especially important for those of us that serve in leadership roles such as clergy, pastors, and ministry leaders. There is a constant demand for our attention to be turned outside of ourselves, especially in these roles. We can sometimes forget to pay attention to the dynamics of our own interior lives and our own spiritual growth. Spiritual Direction can help us with that.
As a busy leader myself, spiritual direction helps me to more acutely envision and articulate what God is wanting from me and also what He is wanting to give to me. It is a time for me to inquire of and speak my truth and have another witness it. In doing that I find nuggets of insight and revelation that would have been missed otherwise. I like to say that spiritual direction sessions are often like panning for gold. The golden nuggets that God has placed in each and every one of us.
There are many schools of thought on the topic of Christian spiritual growth, but for simplicity's sake I will share from a book entitled Invitation to a Journey by M. Robert Mulholland. In chapter 8 of his book he describes the "Classical Christian Pilgrimage" as having four stages. Check them out to see where you fit:
I will paraphrase by saying this is the stage where we begin to awaken to God's call to wholeness. It can happen over time or suddenly. It can be a mountain top experience or hardly noticeable, it is when we begin to recognize that God is something far more than we thought, and we are invited into a new way of being. We have come to a threshold of some sort and there is the need of a response. Most of us are ambivalent about waking up, because even though we feel an invitation to something that is awesome, there is still something inside of us that resists the call.
Mulholland states this second stage is "the process of bringing our behavior, our attitudes, our desires into increasing harmony with our growing perception of what the Christlike life is all about." This is when we make our best attempts of renouncing known and unknown "sins", identify and release strongholds and come into a more trusting relationship with God.
The third stage - illumination - is my favorite. This stage is characterized by a number of things, but the biggest shift is going from seeing God as " out there" to a true experience of God present deep within our being. Sure we all know that the Holy Spirit lives inside of us, but this stage goes beyond head knowledge to an actual heartfelt ongoing experience of His presence inside of us, which is difficult to describe using our language.
The final stage of the Christian pilgrimage according to Mulholland is union. This is the stage that the desert mother's and father's as well as some early mystics were able to experience. Other words for this would be, ecstasy, spiritual marriage, etc. There is a total abandonment to the grace of God, because at this point we know we cannot get here by our own efforts, that it is truly a gift from God. This is where we mostly resemble our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, in
These stages don't happen in a vacuum, we weave in and out of them for many decades on this pilgrimage of conforming to the image of Christ.
So again I say- which stage are you?