Spiritual Direction is NOT Friendship
Spiritual friendships are invaluable to the life of a Christian and share many characteristics with spiritual direction. They differ, however, in a few very important ways. One key difference is that the emphasis of spiritual direction is the spiritual life. Spiritual friendships and mentoring relationships frequently include the spiritual life, yet they usually also have elements, activities, and interests that are peripheral (though sometimes beneficial) to the spiritual life. Another key difference is with respect to the intensity of the relationship. Using the personal coach analogy again, most athletes would never expect to have a friendly or passive level of accountability with a personal coach. Instead, they engage with a personal coach to be challenged, pushed, and encouraged toward concrete progress. The directee is ultimately in control, but when he or she seeks out a director, they are typically looking for a much higher level of accountability and direction than friendships often provide–even healthy spiritual friendships.
This is an excerpt from Dan’s book Navigating the Interior Life – Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God. To learn more, click here.
What is spiritual direction and my spiritual direction? What are my “blind spots” and how can I uncover them? What keeps me from all the spiritual riches Christ has for me? How can I better understand where I am in my spiritual progress?
Daniel Burke’s Navigating the Interior Life will give you the tools you need to understand how and why we grow and die in the spiritual life and what we can do about it.