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Panning for Gold

The title "spiritual director" is a misnomer. We don't approach a directee with an assertive plan for their life, directing them on what to do with assumptions about what does or doesn't work. It's much more like panning for gold, approaching each area with wonder and curiosity, looking out for what might be missed in the rushing tides of our harried and hurried lives.

Practicing spiritual direction often requires a director to grab onto their assertions and assumptions with both hands, refraining from dumping them onto the vulnerable and often-eager directee waiting to hear words of advice and wisdom. Instead, a director listens for threads of gold, encouraging the directee that their instincts in noticing God and experiencing hardship are often correct.

Trust in God's care for the directee is essential, and so is trust that the directee will appropriately respond to God's invitations to a meaningful and experiential life, if given time and attention. We are noticers with our directees, not gurus telling them how to live. There may be resistance or avoidance to certain invitations, but we all experience that when we are concerned that change is inevitable.

Panning for gold isn't a luxury, either. It's necessary. In the middle of a stressed relationship, in difficult or draining work experiences, we need hope to catch our eye and infuse us with wonder and holy longing. Those who thirst for everything-being-made-right will be satisfied, so panning for gold stirs our hunger for satiation.

If you need someone to help you spot the gold amidst the rushing streams, you should consider spiritual direction.

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