Faith is a fundamental part of many people's lives. It provides a lens through which they see the world. It offers comfort in difficult times and multiplies joy during happy occasions. There are basic aspects of one's spiritual journey that are private and personal.
However, most faiths acknowledge the importance of relational support from others. Worship often happens in community, and other people can be rich sources of wisdom. A spiritual director is someone who helps you understand and explore your faith, and this relationship can have several benefits.
Safe Place for Doubt
A strong faith is not necessarily an unquestioned faith. Doubt is a natural part of sorting out beliefs and developing a deeper understanding of how faith manifests in your life. Many believers are nervous about sharing the doubts they have with others in their community for fear that they will be judged or ostracized.
Your sessions with your spiritual director are the perfect place to wrestle with whatever doubts you may have. A person who can be entrusted to your spiritual care is not likely to be scandalized by your misgivings. Instead, he or she can help you address your doubts so that they are helpful rather than harmful to your relationship with God.
Accountability for Spiritual Discipline
You may seek spiritual direction to help you be more consistent with your faith practices. An experienced director can even help you explore common methods for enhancing faith:
You may know about the practices that many people in your religion find helpful but need a little guidance working them into your daily life. Your director can assist you by providing gentle accountability. Just as exercising with a partner is a great way to stick to a regular workout schedule, it is often easier to be consistent with your prayer life if you know a trusted friend is going to check in.
Exploration of Life Purpose
There are many ways that people of faith can make the world a better place. It's normal to want to know exactly where you belong. In the same way that a career counselor or life coach can help you find the right path to your dream job, a spiritual director can help you match your gifts to the needs around you.
The strengths that make you unique are a great starting point for finding a purpose for your life. In any community of faith, there are many different kinds of gifts. If you just list the things that you think are valuable or the ways you are willing to help, it may be hard to sort through them to find the one or two things you are truly meant to do. A spiritual director can be a great sounding board for this process and help you narrow your focus.
Spiritual Encouragement and Growth
While spiritual direction is not necessarily a substitute for the comprehensive healing work of therapy, it can share some similar outcomes as they relate to your faith. Once you admit you are stuck in a rut and that you need help, reaching out to a trained professional is the next step to moving forward.
Spiritual directors offer more than just a listening ear. They can recommend additional resources that may be particularly helpful to you. With their training in spiritual matters, they can guide you to address the aspects of faith that are difficult for you to understand or accept. Your director may be able to make your prayer life more fruitful or engaging. The sessions are designed to help you with growth wherever you may need it.
No matter how personal your faith is to you, there is also benefit in sharing it with others. A spiritual director can help you walk through dry seasons of faith and keep you on track.