Spiritual Direction: Why I Make Time For It – Kathy’s Story

August 26, 2019

Welcome to the new series: Spiritual Direction: Why I Make Time For It. I’ve invited four people who are not spiritual directors, to share what spiritual direction has meant to them in their own lives, why they have made seeing a spiritual director a priority, and the impact it has had. I know you will enjoy reading the words of the men and women who will share with us. We start with my dear ministry colleague and friend, Kathy Powell.

Before I started seeing a spiritual director, a new year would come and one of my resolutions would always be something vague like “pray more” or “get more serious about my faith.” But, like my annual goals to “lose weight” and “be healthier,” my spiritual goals would also quickly fall to the side. When I look back at the 10+ years that spiritual direction has been in my life, it is clear to me that seeing a spiritual director has given me a support system to accomplish my spiritual goals in ways that are sustainable and life-giving.

In some ways, a spiritual director is kind of like a personal trainer. Just like you could get healthy or lose weight on your own, you can also pray and navigate your journey with God by yourself. In the same way that a personal trainer can personalize your end goal to lose weight into “you should do these exercises this many times a week,” a spiritual director can sharpen and help focus your want to “have a deeper relationship with God” into a personalized plan and then walk with you as you live the plan in real life. Having a spiritual companion has made walking my faith journey, and simply living in our busy world, much easier.

Now, when I feel like I should pray more, I have prayer methods that my spiritual director has taught me and encouraged, like the examen and prayer of the imagination, that I know I can lean on. When I feel like my life isn’t centered around God and want to get more serious about my relationship with God, I know I can turn to my director to walk with me to God and to gently guide and direct me. I know what my prayer can look like in happy times and hard times – what St Ignatius would call desolation and consolation – because I have walked through them, bringing my whole self to God because of the support of my director and the intentionality that setting aside time to meet with a spiritual director brings. I can see the difference in my decision-making after walking through the rich tools of Ignatian discernment with my director in the many times I came to a meeting with big choices weighing heavily on my shoulders and left feeling like the weight was lessened as I had surrendered “my plan” to God. In general, I have become much more aware of God at work in my life and knowing in my depths that I am not alone.
Spiritual direction came into my life about 12 years ago, as I became involved with Charis Retreats for young adults and began working at Ignatius House Jesuit Retreat Center. I started looking forward to being on a retreat so that I could sign up for a 20-minute session with a spiritual director. I was surrounded by qualified, kind, and available spiritual directors, so it made sense for me to start meeting regularly with one for a full hour. Though we often met monthly, I also took periods of time off, especially to have my children. I can remember a time a few months after having one of my children, when my husband very kindly said, “I think it’s time for you to return to spiritual direction.”  He was right, and he made sure I knew that there was no guilt in taking that time and money for myself and my relationship with God. Motherhood and sleep deprivation strip you to the core, and knowing that I had someone to accompany me and help me center myself around God again, made a tremendous difference in my quality of life and the lives of those who live with me.
I think that’s the key to why I make time for spiritual direction. In the end, it helps me to be centeredon God and spiritually healthy to be able to pour into my family, ministry, and work. My “spiritual health” is something that tends to be easy to forget, but spiritual direction gives me a time to focus on it, the support to do it well and sustainably, and the tools to bring that into my daily life.

Online Busy Person’s Retreat

Go Deeper: Spiritual Direction

How do I find a spiritual director?

Cultivating Space for God Together:

  • Septemeber 23-36: Registration for the Online Busy Person’s Retreat, the retreat that comes to you with one-on-one online spiritual direction, September 23-26, is NOW OPEN! Find out more here.
  • September 3-6:  Lay Ecclesial Ministers & Deacons Retreat, Diocese of Jackson, LA
  • October 17:  Ignatian Spirituality Course at Immaculate Conception in Denham Springs (October 17, 24; November 7, 14)
  • Sign up for my Prayer Team and pledge to pray for the weekly prayer requests posted on my Facebook & Instagram, and for the attendees of upcoming events. Email info@beckyeldredge.com.

Kathy, a big-picture thinker and passionate nonprofit and faith-based communications professional, lives in Roswell, Georgia with her husband Kent and three children. When not brainstorming up new ways to push Becky out of her comfort zone, Kathy spends her free time reminding her kids to use their inside voices, cooking without recipes, and walking with families who have lost a child due to miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss.

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