A space with no agenda
The following is a short selection from my recent podcast interview with Tara Owens. As we tried to get clear on what spiritual direction is, we eventually talked about the "goal" of spiritual direction.
(Note: this transcript has been heavily edited for clarity and conciseness. You can hear the whole conversation here.)
Brandon: In therapy, there's a particular problem you're working on. Likewise, discipleship has the goal of forming you to be Christ-like. And these are wonderful avenues through which God does his work!
But in spiritual direction I say, "I have no idea what the goal is here. Neither do you." This is a God directed thing. The goal is always presence.
Along the way God sometimes says, "I want you to go up this hill or down this valley." But those are not the goal. Those things come out and you talk about them, but the underlying landscape is the relationship. The relational aspect of just being with him and him just being with you.
Tara Owens: And I think in so many of our spaces, in so many of my spaces and places, I'm the one in control. I am architecting the experience, I am setting the goals. But in spiritual direction I'm just not in charge. Both in my own receiving spiritual direction, but also in giving it.
And there's this wonderful surrender into the work and agenda of God that is always better than I think it is. One of the things I love about spiritual direction is that God is always showing off. God is always more loving than I thought, and more present than I thought, and sitting in his presence with no agenda is always fruitful!