I was reading a book a few weeks ago about a Christian woman who lost her husband to melanoma. While hard to read at times, it was also very enlightening and inspiring.
But then I got to a part where she talked to her spiritual guide for encouragement and insight about what to do next. A spiritual guide who used tarot cards and spoke to the lady’s husband after he passed.
And it hit me—oh no, is that what people think I do?
I serve as a Christian spiritual director, and I know that term is new for a lot of people. I also know there are a lot of misconceptions about what that actually looks like.
So today, we are going to tackle those ideas head on and separate fact from fiction. Then, not only can you decide if working with a spiritual director is right for you in this season of your life, you’ll also be able to clarify it for your friends when they start bringing up all the rumors they’ve heard.
We are just going to jump right in with these five misconceptions. Are you ready?
Misconception #1: Spiritual directors have a New Age worldview.
Here’s the truth: some spiritual directors do have a New Age worldview. That’s why it’s so important to be discerning and ask some questions before you sign up to work with them. Even ones that claim to be Christian.
Spiritual directors are not exclusive to the Christian community. I’m guessing that each religion has its own version of a spiritual director.
But a true Christ-following spiritual director will not hold a New Age worldview, nor engage in any of their practices.
This includes things like psychics, reincarnation, tarot card readings, using crystals, and astrology—which is different from astronomy. Astronomy is the study of the sky, while astrology includes things like horoscopes and Zodiac signs.
So when you work with me, you know I’m not going to point you toward any of those things. I’m going to point you to Jesus.
Misconception #2: Spiritual directors channel angels and spirits.
This one kind of goes along with the New Age one, but it’s distinct enough that I want to mention it separately.
In the book I was reading, the woman’s spiritual guide shared messages from the woman’s husband—who had already passed away.
My friend, I do not talk to the dead. I also don’t channel angels. Now, if an angel happens to appear to one of us, that’s great! But I do not pursue angels. I pursue Jesus.
God is very clear when it comes to mediums and those who trust in them. It’s not okay. In fact, He calls it evil.
As a Christian spiritual director, God is the one you and I will pursue together. The one holy and true God, who gave His Son Jesus for us.
So when you work with me, don’t expect me to call up your dead ancestor. That’s not what I do. I point you to Jesus and only Jesus.
Misconception #3: Spiritual directors talk to God for me.
Here’s what I want you to know about this one. Do I pray for my clients? Absolutely. I love to pray for them and intercede on their behalf.
But do I pray for them—meaning, they can’t pray and they have to go through me to get to God? Absolutely not.
You, my friend, have the amazing privilege of talking directly to the God of the universe, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Father who loves you more than you could ever imagine.
Isn’t that amazing?
Misconception #4: Spiritual directors are all Catholic.
Spiritual direction has a rich history in the Catholic church, that is true, but I am not Catholic, nor are many other spiritual directors.
There are several places online where you can find the differences between the two, but I adhere to a Protestant faith.
Those who work with me can tell you that I continually point you to the Bible as God’s Word. We read Scripture together and talk about what God is sharing through that.
We also look at ways God is redeeming those broken pieces inside of us and transforming us more into His image, making us more like Christ in the way that we live.
Now does that mean that Catholics can’t work with me? No. In fact, I’ve had one client for over a year and half who is Catholic and she and I get along very well, because we agree on what is most important and leave space for the things we might view differently.
What’s important is that you find a Christian spiritual director that aligns with your beliefs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of any spiritual director you are interested in working with.
Misconception #5: Spiritual direction has to take place in person or via video.
Sitting face to face with someone in spiritual direction is incredibly powerful. The gift of their presence, knowing that you are both there in that sacred space to pursue Jesus together, is like nothing else.
Yet I have found spiritual direction to be quite effective via email as well. And so have many of my clients.
For those of us who are more introverted or quiet, we cherish the time that email allows us to think and reflect and pray before we have to respond. There is far less pressure to give the answer that is expected, or to say something you haven’t fully thought through yet.
Not many Christian spiritual directors are practicing via writing these days, but I’ve discovered several who used letters to correspond with their clients. Padre Pio, Pere Didon, and Frances de Sales to name three of them.
Working with my clients via email has been such a blessing—for them and for me. Not only does it give space for both of us to reflect and respond, it also gives us a written testimony to the work God is doing in their lives. It’s incredible.
An Invitation to Work with Me
So what do you think? Is Christian spiritual direction something God is inviting you into during this season of your life? And if so, does it seem like you and I would be a good fit?
You can learn more about me and my personality and beliefs just by listening to more episodes of this podcast. It’s one of the reasons I have it here: so you can get to know me and see if you’d like to work together.
You can also learn more about my work as a spiritual director at lovedoesthat.org/spiritualdirection. I do limit the number of women I work with at any given time, so if that’s something you’re interested in, please either sign up for a spiritual direction package or message me about the possibility of working together.
And honestly, if you’re not sure and want to try it out a little bit first, the best way to do that is through my Journal Gently program. It’s a little different from 1:1 spiritual direction, but it will give you a taste of what it’s like to work with me and seek God together. You can learn more about that at lovedoesthat.org/journalgently.
Journal Prompt: What Question or Desire Are You Holding Before God Right Now?
For this week’s journal prompt, I’ve love for you to consider this question: What question or desire are you holding before God right now?
Part of spiritual direction is coming to God with our questions or hurt or a desire that is weighing particularly heavy on us. And then we wait and see what He has to say.
So what question have you been holding lately? Is there an unanswered desire or hope that you are carrying around? Is there hurt or grief or bitterness that you just can’t seem to let go of?
Write it down. You can write more about it if you’d like, or you can just write down the question or desire. Dare to name it before God.
Today, I’d like to end with a few words from a prayer written by Douglas McKelvey for those who work with individuals who are grieving or dying. It’s one I often refer to in my work, as I rely wholly on God to do the work that only He can do.
O Spirit of the Living God, who raises
your people from death to life.
The comforting of your children…
is your work, not mine.
I am neither wise enough, nor compassionate
enough, nor tempered enough by present griefs,
to form prayers adequate to serve these your
people in the face of an enemy so formidable
I am wholly unfit to enter the holy sufferings of
others, to give guidance of true comfort,
to speak words of consolation that would name
the wounds of dying and grieving hearts,
or wrap them in compassionate
embrace, or remind them
that there remains a firm, eternal hope.
If this is not your work, then I would not have it
be mine. For I would not bid the grieving hang
their sorrows or their hopes on any words that
cannot bear their weight…
Let my insufficiencies be met
by the multiplying power of your grace….
- Episode 25: What is Spiritual Direction, How Do I Know If I Need It, and Other Frequently Asked Questions
- Episode 33: Written Spiritual Direction: How Letters and Messages Can Create Space for God
- Episode 66: [Written Spiritual Direction Session] Loneliness
Learn more and register for Journal Gently, an 8-week program designed to help you use writing as a way to process hurt, grief, and trauma with God.