By Brian Martin Burkholder
I was first introduced to spiritual direction in seminary and had been meeting regularly with a spiritual director ever since. When I accepted a ministry position in a new state, I knew it would be important for me to continue this practice because I valued the resourcing and encouragement for my walk with God that came from receiving direction.
Our meetings are left open for me to explore happenings and themes as I feel led. I often reflect on my ministry and dynamics of faithfulness and leadership. Over time, patterns of thought and response begin to emerge as well as a sense of vision and desire. It has been helpful to have someone track these patterns with me and remind me of the path looking back and also projecting ahead.
In addition to ministry, family life has been fair game in our monthly time together. As I reflected on a recent challenging experience involving my relationship with a daughter, my spiritual director simply asked me how I was praying for her. I was caught short realizing that I had not been praying for her. Not at all. This simple question and the timeliness of it being asked became a formative experience for me. I carry the question with me to this day and readily apply it to other situations and relationships.
Spiritual direction has provided me a grounding place in my ministry and family life. Even though it’s only once a month, meeting for an hour of intentional conversation to focus on where and how I’m experiencing the leading of God is as much foundation for my faith as anything. I’m a better leader in ministry and in my home because of it.