Eugene Peterson, in his book Under the Unpredictable Plant, offers this insight into the practiced ministry of spiritual direction (and this way of life):
“Direction carries an obvious connotation of taking charge and showing the way. But spiritual direction is more likely to be quiet and gentle, unassertive and reticent. One of the characteristics of spiritual direction is to ‘get out of the way,’ to be un-important, to be un-influential to a person. A paradox is in operation here: the goal is to be (really) present without being (obtrusively) present.” (p. 188)
The “direction” part of spiritual direction can be misleading. It isn’t direction as in “I am the director of your life with God.” It is the kind of direction a sign gives to a traveler. The sign isn’t telling you what to do. The sign is making you aware of how keep on track in your journey, helping you stay on the good path.
As you reflect on your own faith relationships, in what ways are you tempted to tell other people what they should do, rather than helping them relate intimately with God and be faithful to this relationship?
How is God inviting you to be really present without being obtrusively present in their lives?