Throughout college, I was heavily involved in campus ministry. The retreats, events, and small communities I was a part of there not only allowed me to foster my individual spiritual life as a Catholic person, but also served as a safe space where I made great friends, learned from other people’s spiritual journeys, and was inspired to be my best self.
When I graduated, I felt like that spiritual community disappeared. Without my college’s campus ministry resources available to me, I wasn’t praying very much, I wasn’t taking time to reflect, and I wasn’t feeling spiritually fulfilled. My faith has always been a big part of my identity, and I knew that I needed something — or someone — to help me make my faith a priority again.
One of my friends from college started meeting with a spiritual director, a person who is trained to mentor someone on his or her journey of spiritual growth. Her spiritual director helped her strengthen her faith, so I looked for one to guide me on my own journey.
After making some calls to churches, googling spiritual directors, reading bios, and making some preliminary calls, I connected with my spiritual director. She is one of the warmest and kindest people I have met. She has supported me not by reciting church doctrine, but rather by listening to my goals and encouraging my own well-being. Her kindness, compassion, and support has helped me strengthen my faith and guide me to live a more meaningful and reflective life. Whether you talk with friends, family, or a spiritual director, having some type of spiritual mentor can enrich your life in the following ways:
You will see how spirituality is embedded in your everyday life.
The Jesuit motto, “find God in all things” stands to be true as my spiritual director helps me to see how God is present in every single aspect of my life. I’m more grateful to God when I have a fun day with friends or share a home cooked meal with my family.
I also know that he’s there to help me through the difficult times. When I talked with my spiritual director about feeling stressed and anxious about changes happening at work, she asked me, “Where is God in that?” As I thought about the situation more, I realized that these changes could be God’s way of helping me to achieve a higher level of confidence. While I was worried about taking on more responsibilities, my spiritual director helped me to see that I am highly capable of being successful at my job, even when transitions happen.
Talking through life situations, good or bad, with any type of spiritual mentor can provide more meaning and comfort to everyday life.
You will take time to understand yourself.
Like many people, I can be highly critical of myself, especially when I see other people’s accomplishments. When I’m tempted to compare myself to others, my spiritual director encourages me to trust in God’s plan and embrace my own life journey.
When I first moved to New York, I found it difficult to meet people and join communities, and I told my spiritual director, “I feel like I should have already made friends by this point.” She told me, never say “should” because no one can tell me how my life should or shouldn’t go. The motivators telling me what I should do are coming from external forces like comparisons, envy, and peer pressure. Only when I stop to reflect, am I able to treat myself with kindness, see how loved I am, and embrace my own life journey.
You will receive comfort and support through difficult situations.
As a young professional in New York City, I have struggled to plan out my future, establish strong communities, and settle into a new home. In times when I have felt lonely, my spiritual director has not only supported me through conversation, but also provided me with prayers, relevant articles, and meditations. She even set me up on a call with one of her friends who runs a church group near my apartment, so I could connect with people in my area.
While my spiritual director has helped me immensely during the transitions in my life, my friends and family have also served as mentors. They lent a listening ear when I’ve wanted to talk about good or bad times, and I appreciate how they talk about faith and offer to pray for me on my journey.
Whether your spiritual mentor is a nun, priest, friend, sibling, parent or spiritual director, you’ll receive comfort, support, and confidence from talking openly with someone about how faith is embedded in your life. My faith enriches my life with joy, and love. It has been such a blessing to receive support from someone who helps me to experience those values more in my everyday life.
Originally published on October 29, 2019.