by Gina Seebohm
My faith, for as long as I can remember, has been an important part of my life. At times, I have sought out new spiritual ground because of my love for God, for learning, and for adventure. At other times, I have moved to new ground out of sheer need. My stumble into spiritual direction and, subsequently, my call into training was a little bit of both!
In June, through the Nebraska Synod’s program, Seeking the Spirit Within, I became a certified spiritual director. During my twenty-two month training, I read a variety of books written by spiritual directors, pastors, and psychologists on topics such as different types of prayer, other spiritual practices, spiritual stages of development, active listening, forgiveness, and Christian mystics like St. John of the Cross, Julian of Norwich, and Thomas Merton. I learned and engaged with spiritual practices like lectio divina with scripture, contemplative prayer, walking through scripture, and praying through nature. With members of my cohort, I practiced being emotionally engaged and present and listening… listening to each other, listening to the Holy Spirit, listening for the “God questions” that may need to be asked of myself and of others.
As Christians, we are called to let God transform us, and I believe that part of our spiritual formation and transformation is discovering our own spiritual trajectory… our own spiritual direction… our True Self. We need to let God strip away the impediments… the false parts we may have acquired along the way in order to survive but now no longer need. The ministry of spiritual direction is one way to discover/uncover that True Self… the one God created us to be. Then we can better be what Henri Nouwen calls “wounded healers”.
In a one-on-one setting (a director/directee relationship), the purpose is for deepening the directee’s relationship with God. The director and directee meet about once a month for about one hour. During this time, the director listens deeply to the directee. Maybe the directee wants to talk about family, job, relationships with others, etc. as well as what is going on spiritually/internally. Often the process of being listened to without interruption and with no underlying agenda is a healing experience in and of itself. After listening, the director may ask the directee questions, or the director may pray with and/or for the directee. Or, the director may gently invite the directee into a time of reflection or may hold space for silence. What happens during the meeting really depends on where the director and directee feel the Holy Spirit, our Ultimate Spiritual Director, is leading.
If you are interested in or have questions about this ministry, you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on a Sunday morning. I would love to have a conversation with you.
Gina was one of twelve individuals certified as a new spiritual director at a ceremony on June 11 at Rejoice! Lutheran Church in Omaha. Others certified were from Lincoln, Omaha, Grant, Wolbach, Pender, Ashland and Spencer, IA. Applications for the 2018-20 cohort are currently being accepted. For more information, visit Seeking the Spirit Within at www.nebraskasynod.org or contact Connie Stover.