My Journey toward Finding a Spiritual Director


My Journey  toward Finding a Spiritual Director

About four or five years ago, I recalled hearing friends talk about receiving spiritual direction. At the time, our young girls were participating in Challenge, a group run by Regnum Christi. From time to time, the girls were blessed with opportunities to speak to the Consecrated women. The girls would spend time in prayer and go on walks and talk about life and where Jesus was in their lives. Moms could also sign up for times to seek spiritual direction from these same women. While I look back and see the benefit of it, I never did take advantage of it.

And my oldest daughter aged out of Challenge.

Then our oldest son started participating in Conquest, the all-boys version of Challenge, and also run by Regnum Christi. I saw the benefit my son received from having priests he could just chat with about everyday things, in addition to priestly vocations.

For the past 10+ years, I’ve been blessed with an amazing support of Catholic women, from relatives to our parish community and online friends in the Faith who help keep me anchored; however, I began to feel that tug to investigate and pray for a spiritual director. Why? I don’t know. I didn’t really feel like I had a legitimate reason for seeking spiritual direction, but without it, I felt a bit lost running a blog with no one to help give guidance and suggestions and pray for the blog’s endeavor. So, I prayed. And asked around. And was turned down. And prayed some more. And was turned down again. Finally, I put it in the prayer hopper and decided to forget about it.

I knew the right spiritual director was out there for me, but little did I know it would be someone I was already in contact with.

Four years. FOUR YEARS I waited for an answer to that prayer.

Now, I should back up and say that I was blessed to receive spiritual direction for a time from a priest who is incredibly knowledgeable of social media and very popular in Catholic circles. As much as I am indebted to the time he gave to me in the beginning stages of Catholic Sistas, I couldn’t shake this undeniable feeling that I was still in search of who could really hold my feet to the fire.

Someone who…

…knew me really well.

…I worked with.

…knew what my work ethic looked like {the good, the bad, and the ugly}.

…knew my husband, and the importance of my marriage.

…knew my family.

…saw my son serve Mass each Sunday and funeral Masses.

…reported when he saw my car at a neighbors house {yes, my teenager was BUSTED}.

…knew our parish was so important to us that we moved

from a mere seven minute drive to the neighborhood that borders the church.

…blessed our new home.

…baptized our screamy baby.

…gets all kinds of crazy e-mails from me,

from I’m having an awful day, please pray for me

to thanks for listening to me rant, here is a funny picture to repay you.

…wouldn’t tickle my ears.

…understands that no matter what opportunities may be out there

with the blog, the home front always comes first and challenges me to always see that.

…would know how to challenge me to do more for the Kingdom.

…was our parish priest.

I’m guilty of e-mailing this.

After two years of monthly meetings with him as chairperson of our pastoral council, I couldn’t think of anyone who was a better choice. But, I still had to ask. And, true to his German roots, the response was exactly as I expected. I had to answer a series of questions as to the nature of spiritual direction, what I thought it was, and why I thought I needed it. Expected, yes. Nerve racking? YOU. BETCHA.

Though Father is not {by his own admission} super knowledgeable of some most all things social media, he does know a lot about leadership, discipleship, and running the largest parish in our diocese {20K+}. That counts for a lot in my book! I am so thankful that I no longer have to pray for a spiritual director, and am now in a place where I feel I can share my experiences, the good as well as all the warts, and know that someone else is helping me navigate this spiritual journey.

Have you been seeking a spiritual director?

Here are some tips I hope you find useful in your discernment process.

1. Pray. Yeah, I say this a LOT in my posts. But, it’s true. If you aren’t praying, don’t be surprised with what turns up. Not sure who to help assist you in your discernment process? Two saints to call on are St. Charles Borromeo and St. Ephrem of Syria. Want to expand your circle of prayer warriors? Try Jen Fulwiler’s Saint Name Generator. Don’t be surprised if it takes you a while to find a spiritual director. Keep faith that whatever the timeline is, two months, four YEARS – just know that God is in all of it, even the journey.

2. Ask around. You’ll never know if someone is a potential candidate for being a spiritual director unless you ask. Don’t be afraid of being turned down {not rejected…turned down!}. If you are seeking out a diocesan priest, keep in mind their schedules are crazy busy.

3. Resist the urge to go with someone who doesn’t know you very well. If you are looking for good, thorough feedback, it’s good to go with someone who is going to ask tough questions, and that generally happens with someone who knows you, warts and all. In the event that you don’t know someone well, make it a point to share a wide range of information about yourself so that your spiritual director can steer  you in the right direction while challenging you, spiritually.

4. Keep a monthly standing appointment. It’s good to receive direction as often as you go to confession. If you make it a point to meet monthly, at minimum, you will see the fruit of those meetings. It will also help your spiritual director keep things fresh in his mind as to the details of your life.

5. Prepare before your meetings. I’m a bit of a nerd, and a listaholic, so I tend to jot things down that are important to me that I want to talk about. Of those, only a couple of them are ever that important that I absolutely bring it up during our meeting. I have learned to be more ASL {As the Spirit Leads}, and trust that if it’s something I’m meant to talk about, the time will present itself. I currently have issues I’ve been chewing on for the better part of a year. I trust that when the time is right, it will come up. Until then, I let go and focus on what I need to deal with for the present meeting.

SOUND OFF: Are you currently receiving direction? Do you have any tips for our readers?

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