I can't remember when I first heard the term spiritual director, and to be honest, mine grew out of an already existing friendship and mentoring relationship. I got to know Elizabeth while we lived in Holland, doing an internship with our mission organization in between our time in Barcelona and Madrid. She came along at a very opportune time, took me under wing and began to mentor me in the area of worship.
Over time, our friendship deepened and the mentoring was really in a whole-life sort of way. Awhile back, she began seminary and training in actual spiritual directing. She herself began meeting with a spiritual director and the thought of it intrigued and appealed to me. So we made the arrangement a bit more official.
We talk once a month, for at least an hour. While spiritual directors are normally someone you meet with in person, it has worked well because of our prior relationship.
So why have a spiritual director? For me, I think it's a very good source of accountability and discipline. If left to my own devices, I know that I would not tend to my spiritual life in the same way. Inviting Elizabeth into my life in a deep and deliberate way helps me make sure that I am doing the work I need to do.
In all honestly, it doesn't always feel easy or natural, much like meeting with a counselor can be uncomfortable at times. I find there are many obstacles that get thrown up. But no matter what goes on before, I always come away from our conversations deeply grateful for them.
I would be interested in hearing your own experiences with the concept of a spiritual director, so leave me a comment!