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So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for God. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what God wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. –Romans 12:1-2 MSG
Pause. Close your eyes. Let everything go for a moment. Take a deep breath – breathing in God’s love. Exhale – breathing out God’s love to the world around you. Repeat until you feel grounded and present in this moment.
Romans encourage us to take our “everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life- and place it before God as an offering.” The spiritual practice of sacred listening creates a safe, welcoming space for us to be more intentional and aware of the life we are placing before God.
Sacred Listening, also called spiritual direction, spiritual companioning, or spiritual friendship, is a safe, confidential space to share your story, to be heard, and to hear yourself tell your own story. It’s a space for you to name who you are and who you are becoming in God’s love.
It’s a place with no interruptions, judgment, advice, or fixing. It’s a space to discern, to grow, to be challenged. It is a space to stop and be present with the holy God who is always present with you.
In spiritual direction it is you, in all your “you-ness” sitting before God in God’s love and grace. God is the spiritual director. The sacred listener with you is a spiritual guide, a companion who bears witness to your journey. S/he holds you in God’s love and light, holding, noticing, sometimes gently probing, and creating and opening a space to come to know God more thoroughly and deeply.
Spiritual direction is for anyone hungry to know God more, who wants to be more intentional in their spiritual journey, and who wants to be more aware of the life they are placing before God as an offering (Romans 12:1-2).
Sacred listening leads us to healing and wholeness with the abundance of God’s love and grace.
If you are interested in learning more about Sacred Listening and Spiritual Direction, consider being a part of our online course July 31-August 28, 2023. If you are familiar with Spiritual Direction and discerning a call to be trained as a spiritual director, read more about our Certificate in Spiritual Direction.
Deedra Rich is a teacher, spiritual director, and retreat leader. She has been part of the Spirituality Programs at Columbia for over 10 years in a variety of capacities, including her current position as practicum adviser. She also serves as an instructor and spiritual direction supervisor in the Certificate in Spiritual Direction. Deedra received her DMin from Columbia Theological Seminary and is ordained through the Baptist tradition. She has served both Baptist (CBF) and Presbyterian (PCUSA) churches. Deedra’s current interest and area of study is in integrating Benedictine Spirituality, specifically Benedictine spiritual practices and intentional rhythm of life, into one’s everyday life and spiritual journey. She also enjoys practicing centering prayer, yoga, gardening, and hiking. She lives in Atlanta with her two young daughters and her husband, Matt.