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Summer 4: Heading in the right direction

Summer 4: Heading in the right direction

Summer 4: Heading in the right direction

15 January 2020

Sharing our faith journey with a spiritual director allows us to identify the true nature of God. Photo: Joshua Ness.

By Amanda Merrett

We all experience seasons where we deconstruct our faith. When I began questioning core elements of my spirituality a few years ago, I decided that having a spiritual director consistently journeying with me would be really helpful.

I had heard of other people having spiritual direction before, and it was my corps officer who put me on to my current director who I see once a month.

My spiritual director has helped me to differentiate the cultural Christian bubble that has spawned my spirituality. I realised that my faith was influenced by religious elements of the 1990s Evangelical American culture and also The Salvation Army faith tradition. Elements of these contributed to unhealthy understandings of who God was and how I understood myself.

Spiritual direction has changed how I position myself before God, and how I view God’s connection to me.

Before I began the process of deconstruction with a spiritual director, these unhealthy beliefs were almost unconsciously impacting my self-worth and how I positioned myself towards God. But now I am able to articulate them, let go of or challenge the beliefs, and instead find ways that reinforce that God is loving, kind and comes alongside us. I’ve been able to piece together a new understanding of God, but also be okay with he uncertainty of not knowing the answers to some of my questions.

By practising contemplative prayer alongside my spiritual director, I’ve learned to stop and engage with God. My experience growing up in The Salvation Army is that we value acts of service; doing and mercy and justice – things that are heavy on the hands. Contemplative prayer has taken a lot of practice, and I have used the prayers such as the prayer of quiet and Ignation contemplation to get into a rhythm of being with God.

Having a spiritual director and learning to just be with God has allowed me to become the best version of myself. In doing this, I’m able to bring that best version to leadership, to ministry and even just engaging in day-to-day life. It’s made me stop and be more aware of the world – and God.

Amanda Merrett is the Policy and Social Justice Advisor for the Policy, Research and Social Justice Department in Australia.

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