I enter the room for spiritual direction. My director, J. is there, lighting a candle and smiling as she greets me. I meet with her about every four-six weeks, depending on our schedules. Meeting with a spiritual companion is one of my spiritual disciplines, which are things I regularly do to deepen my relationship with God. With a spiritual companion I have someone who listens compassionately as I discern God’s presence and movement in my life.
We sit in chairs facing one another, near the windows looking out onto a meadow, and together we wait in silence, in prayer.
“I don’t know what to talk about today,” I say.
“I’ve been working on some writing projects ….” My voice trails off.
She attentively waits.
“And I’m writing some stuff for my blog but I think I have offended some people.”
J. raises her eyebrows and asks, “Really?”
And in this moment I see that I have no idea if someone was offended. God reveals to me that I am very fearful of rejection and criticism—I am afraid of offending someone who will in turn reject me. And I see my fear as something God wants to heal and transform in me.
“I’m afraid and I feel very bound up by fear,” I say.
“Well, how do you pray about your fear?” she asks.
“I often pray, ‘Perfect love casts out all fear,’” I say. “But I don’t know if I believe this is true because I feel so afraid.”
“Do you want to talk to Jesus about your fear right now?” J. asks.
I nod yes and she leads me in a guided meditation where I offer my fear to Jesus but also ask him to help my unbelief. I use a lot of tissues during this prayer time.
We conclude the guided prayer and I feel some relief, some resolution, but I know this is a lifetime struggle for me.
J. says to me, “The opposite of fear is freedom that comes from faith. I suggest a breath prayer like, ‘Set me free Lord, set me free.’ I think if you focus on this prayer for the next several months you will begin to experience some inner freedom.”
I agree with her and tell her I will begin using the prayer this very day. She doesn’t often suggest a specific prayer or assign “homework” but because I trust her—her wisdom, experience, and faith–I do as she suggests. We sit in a comfortable silence until I say, “Thank you—even though I didn’t have anything to talk about today, God certainly had a plan!”
We laugh together then she closes our time with prayer. My spiritual director shares her time, presence, and wisdom and through our sessions together I have a greater awareness of God’s healing, transforming movement in my life. We set our next meeting, I pay her, hug her, and leave the room knowing that I have encountered God during this time of spiritual companionship.