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Why You Need Spiritual Direction

A couple of years ago I had a drive that challenged and changed my life. Everyone needs a Spiritual Director.

I hate road trips. I hate them even more after driving nearly 1,800 miles this week. If you ever have a chance to drive between Las Crucas, NM and Austin, TX, don’t! But this week’s trip was a good one for me. Actually, it was potentially life-changing. Why? Because I mande this trip with my friend, Don. He is a kind of spiritual director for me and a lot of other men my age. Don is the father of two adult children, works for a non-profit and can afford the time to drive cross-country by virtue of being married to a wonderful woman who is also a physician. But what makes Don special is his honesty. He is honest with others, yes. But his honesty about himself gives his words an authenticity and truthfulness that all of us need in our lives.

As we drove and talked, I unpacked my entire ministry career – successes, learnings, failures, regrets, celebrations, and everything else imaginable. We did the same with my family of origin and my current family. And each subject was wrapped in discussions and processes of spiritual formation. These conversations are far too infrequent in Christian churches where pseudo-spirituality and fluffy-likability are exalted over genuine struggle and grasping for God. This is where spiritual direction can be helpful. As I reflect on the drive, I am reminded why everyone needs a spiritual director.

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Road Trip #4: Back Home

Wow! There’s nothing like coming home: your own bathroom, bed, and easy chair just can’t be beat. Unfortunately, when you leave town for a week, all your work is still waiting for you when you get back. That’s ok though, there are a lot of good things happening in my life and the Kingdom of God, so doing my little part is exciting.

I hope your holiday was refreshing, too.

Road Trip #3: Similarity

It’s easy for me to think that over time I become less and less like my family of origin. I suppose that comes from growing up and moving far away from home and not being able to get back very often. Over time, home seems less like the place that birthed you and more like a place that only seems familiar in the sense of a dream or past life.

Returning home, however, quickly changes that sense of difference. If it’s not your grandmother reminding you how much you look like your great-grandmother or the odd fact that you and that same grandmother order the same sandwich and chips at Subway, then it’s the fact that your brother and you somehow have exactly the same computer bag and sit down behind said computers whenever their is a minute to spare to get some work done.

My family doesn’t usually get together for large gatherings, so this weekend is quite unusual. Tomorrow we will celebrate Thanksgiving and, more importantly, football. Friday my brother and I will hit the sale at the local Apple store, and then my entire family will sit in club levels seats at the Atlanta Hawks vs. Toronto Raptors basketball game.

There’s not telling what the week will bring. I’ll keep you posted.

To be continued…

Road Trip #2: Surrender

We made it to the Atlanta. I spent the entire day wife my wife, daughter and grandmother adding my mom to the mix after we arrived tonight. The entire day I reminded myself, “Enjoy the view.”

Hey, it isn’t everybody that gets God commenting on his blog.

Anyway, I just finished watching one of my favorite TV Shows, “Scrubs.” It was the one when all the doctors parents come to visit and they have to deal with being adults and being good children all at the same time. I bet a lot of people are feeling that tension this time of year.

The show ended with Cheap Trick’s classic song, “Surrender”.

Here’s the chorus:

“Mommy’s alright, daddy’s alright
They just seem a little weird
Surrender, surrender
But don’t give yourself away
Hey, hey!”

Good Advice, I think.

Road Trip

I’m not a fan of road trips.

Never have been.

The idea of sitting in a car going across the country is almost death to me. My brother, Richard, is the complete opposite. He loves being in the car and driving. A guy who cannot normally sit down for five minutes can drive for hours on end. I don’t get that! He once thought about being a cross-country truck driver. That’s how much he loves it. I can’t think of anything I would dread more.

Anyway, tonight I find myself in the middle of a road trip. My family is off to see more family for Thanksgiving. In all honesty, I’ve been married to my wife for almost nine years, and today was the longest time we’ve ever spent in a car together (10 hours).

I hate road trips and I avoid them at nearly all cost.

But, alas, I broke down and now we’re spending the night in a Marriott in Jackson, MS, the city in which I was born. And tomorrow promises only more driving.

They say that you can learn a lot about a person on a road trip. I think my wife and daughter have learned something about me: I hate road trips. But then again, I could have told them that beforehand.

I wish there was something profound or inspiring to say about this experience so far, but there isn’t. I look forward to picking up my grandmother tomorrow. I look forward to seeing my mother, my brother, my best friend from high school who’s wife just gave birth to their first child, and I look forward to eating my mother’s cooking. I just don’t look forward to the seven more hours of driving ahead of me tomorrow.

Pray for me, y’all!