Today we will conclude our discussion on this topic by looking at the Goals of Spiritual Direction:
"Help the other person to understand that we cannot attain the presence of God. We’re already totally in the presence of God. What’s absent is awareness" (Richard Rohr).
One of the goals is to help us understand that prayer is not just another thing we have to do, one more skill we have to learn in order to run the spiritual race and get ahead. Prayer needs to shift from asking for help to Holy Listening - and endless dialogue with an ever-present God.
We are hungry, and we don’t know for what. We want something, but we can’t name it. What we really hunger for is wholeness and God.
We need to break away from overvaluing progress, development and personal achievement - “On what level am I now, and how do I move to the next one?”
There is the story of the boy watching as the sculptor chisels out a lion from a block of marble, and asks, “How did you know there was a lion in there?”
The secret of the sculptor is that what he knows he knows by heart he can recognise in the marble. If he knows an angel by heart, he will see an angel in the stone; when the sculptor knows God by heart he will see God in the marble.
Another goal of Spiritual Direction is to help us create a pattern or rhythm of spiritual disciplines that provide structure and direction - creating a track to run on.
Helpful pattern: Pause - Pray - Play
Pause: Find sabbatical rhythm and find a way to rest mentally, emotionally and physically. A lack in any of these areas will lead to burn-out, and are the main reason why over 70% of Christian leaders do not finish well (Robert Clinton).
“Sabbath means quit. Stop. Take a break. Cool it. The word itself has nothing devout or holy in it. It is a word about time, denoting our nonuse of it - what we usually call wasting time.” Eugene Peterson.
The only part of us that never requires rest is our spiritual man. There is no such thing as spiritual exhaustion or burn-out. It is when we allow the spiritual tensions of kingdom warfare spill into our mind, emotions and body that we feel drained and weary.
Pray: Break though the barrier of your past experiences and explore different avenues of prayer, such as meditation, the examen, centering prayer, contemplative prayer, and praying God’s Word (lectio divina).
Play: Connecting what is fun with spirituality. What is it that makes you come alive? What is it that you don’t have to do, but when you do it you enjoy it, and you are refreshed by doing it.
If we are honest we will admit to the fact that we might need some help finding that rhythm. Hearing about it, or even being inspired by it usually does not last for more than a few days at best.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Mathew 11:28-30 The Message