Once a month I meet with a Spiritual Direction advisor. If you have no idea what a Spiritual Direction Advisor is, your first thought probably went to some sort of “Guru.” Mine did too, initially.
Prior to attending seminary, I had no idea what a Christian person in that role did. In Hinduism, a Guru is a spiritual teacher with this deep knowledge that can lead to spiritual liberation. You don’t necessarily have to have a guru to reach “enlightenment,” but many Hindus believe that it is easier to reach with one.
For Christians, spiritual direction advisors, don’t claim to hold any “special knowledge” but in some way, they help believers listen and watch for the movement of the Holy Spirit in their lives and discern the right path. Similar to Hinduism, you don’t necessarily need a spiritual direction advisor to hear the Holy Spirit, but when life gets complicated, and you may be unclear about where God is leading, it helps to have someone listen with you.
In Christianity when someone hears a “call” it basically means an unction or nudging from God to do or be something for Him. People can be “called” to a lot of things, and I believe we are all “called” to do something.
I’ve felt a Call from God to do various things over the course of my life and followed through on some, and probably ignored others. I’ve been called to seminary and maybe ministry, but it’s sometimes a little unclear what all that means. I’m also a wife and the mom of a potty-training toddler (send all the prayers!) and I’m a student who works part-time. With all of the noise from those things, hearing that still small voice of God can be hard. Much of the time, there is some lingering doubt about whether I’m even doing the right thing or if this is even what God wants.
My spiritual direction advisor is helping me to wade through the noise to discern where the Holy Spirit is at work and where God might be leading.
In our sessions, she often has me think back to when I felt my first sense of “call” and asks questions to help guide me in those thoughts and sometimes dispel the doubt. One of the things I have been thinking about lately when doubt rises, is, “How often do I think about God?” I cannot discount my sense of call when I ask myself that question. I think about God all of the time.
When I wake up, I pray first. I think about God.
When I’m brushing my teeth, I think about when I will have time to read a few scriptures.
When I’m getting my toddler dressed and, she is difficult, I pray for help in getting her out the door.
When we are driving to preschool, we sing along to gospel songs.
When I’m looking for a parking spot at the store, I ask God for help.
When I come out of the store and am tempted to leave the basket in the parking space, I think about what God would want me to do, then I promptly put it in the right place (thanks Joyce Meyer!)
When I hear some big political news, I think about how God might see the situation.
When I see an accident on the road, I ask God for the safety and peace of the people involved.
Before I take a zoom call, I sometimes pray for a good meeting.
I pray about what to cook for dinner
I ask God if I need to call a friend that crosses my mind.
When I see really beautiful fall foliage (especially since it takes so long to happen in Texas!) I think about the goodness of God and the beauty of His creation.
For me when I write down how frequently I think about God, it is pretty clear that He is pretty important to me and that seminary is the right place. The doubt about my sense of call disperses.
But that question made me think about where everyone else is on that spectrum.
How often do you think about God? How do you feel when you think about God? Where do you sense God the most? Has that informed the life decisions you make in any way?
Has that informed the life decisions you make in any way? Has that sense of God in your life led you to make different career decisions, or led you to a friendship that has made your life better?
Asking myself these questions often has helped make decision-making easier and led me to do things that have blessed my life and hopefully the lives of others around me. If you need some clarity or help to make a decision about something, just ask yourself and see where it leads.