Let's talk about what goes on in our heads. It's a lot of thoughts and noise that we tend to keep bottled up inside...especially when it comes to our spiritual journeys.
At least that's me.
I went through the first 20 years of my life *barely* talking about my faith out loud. I went to high school in the northeast and you just did NOT talk to people about Jesus. You quietly went to church on Sundays and got confirmed at some point. Yep. That was it.
So you'd imagine my surprise when God guided me towards a school in the middle-of-nowhere-Texas halfway through college. I didn't quite understand why I loved the school (Texas A&M) and wanted to transfer, but I rolled with the transition. I was partnered up with a random roommate for my first semester (I didn't know a single soul in Texas at the time) and then I slowly started to get it.
My roommate was Catholic, like me, and she was the first friend I ever talked to about my faith. About Jesus. About issues I was having with my faith. She was the first friend I got to talk through things with. And all that opening up was a pretty important little step on my faith journey!
Transferring to A&M also led me to St. Mary's. If you're Catholic and live in Central and Southern Texas...you know about St. Mary's. Heck, if you're really Catholic and are involved with Catholic students at other colleges throughout the country, you probably know about St. Mary's. It's the most incredible Catholic church in the country (excuse my bias) but I'm going to save my ramblings about it for another post. However, one important thing I got out of St. Mary's that was vital for my spiritual growth and development was spiritual direction.
I have had the opportunity to be guided by priests, nuns, and lay people during my time at St. Mary's. The cool thing about this guidance is that it always reminds me of the patient, gentle guidance of Jesus.
No one has held me down and forced me to pray one rosary a day in order to grow in my relationship with God. I haven't been mentally slapped around for my lack of scriptural knowledge. My spiritual directors have simply reflected back to me what I have said, and have made great suggestions on ways to delve deeper into my personal relationship with God based off of this.
It's pretty cool!
If you or anyone you know is struggling with their faith, I really do suggest looking into spiritual direction. Lapsed Catholic, Catechism-thumping Catholic, or non-Catholic--you'll get something out of this guidance. If your church doesn't offer spiritual direction (for shame!) or you just don't feel comfortable heading down that path yet, that's fine; talk to a trusted friend or family member. Having someone you can talk to about what's going on in your spiritual life is a blessing.
We're all on our individual faith journeys and it's easy to feel like what we're going through should remain within us. I know when I first started becoming involved at St. Mary's, I felt so far behind the rest of the students who had been going on retreats and mission trips for years. I saw their personal relationship with Jesus and worried that I could never have that; I worried it was too late.
But it wasn't. It's never too late. We are where we need to be right now, and talking to someone about deepening our personal relationship with our God can only be a step forward.
Have you ever experienced spiritual direction, or would you consider it?