Not too many years ago, spiritual direction was completely foreign to me. I grew up in southern evangelical—mainly baptist—churches and it simply wasn’t part of our practice. We were taught to love God, go to church (often), pray, read our Bibles, and try to love our neighbors as ourselves—all good things. But more contemplative practices received less emphasis. As an adult, I sensed God’s call to serve the church and often did so full time. I loved teaching, leading, and mentoring others. I loved diving into the incredible stories of hope and restoration in the Bible and finding wisdom and grace for my own life that I could pass on to others.

But when my family and I entered a season of disruption, I found myself shaken by profound questions about what it meant to love God and people and who I was in the world. I prayed. I journaled. I met with lots of wise, kind, generous people to ask for their prayers and their help. I spent time in counseling.

All of this was valuable. But the brokenness that had seeped into my soul remained. And I could no longer ignore the deeper questions and fears that had probably been lingering under the surface for a long time. In this season, I started coming across the idea of spiritual direction. It sounded like a valuable way of being supported through a process of discernment and rebuilding and prayer. It also sounded like exactly what I hadn’t known I was searching for.

And so, I began meeting with a director. Through my time with him, it became clear that my connection with God had become too focused on right thinking over the years. For a host of reasons I understand (and some I don’t), my perspective of God’s power and sovereignty got tainted. This corrupted view had slowly overshadowed my grasp of God’s love and kind intentions. I had starting being scared of God and not in a good way. The truth was that it wasn’t my faith that was broken; it was my theology.

In the weeks and months that followed this recognition, I found the courage to start talking to God again and learned new ways to pray and tune into wisdom and trust my own discernment. And somewhere along the way, it became clear that God was inviting me to play a similar role for others. Now, it’s one of my greatest joys to serve as a soul companion, listening along with them to what God is surfacing, supporting them as they uncover God’s presence and the Spirit’s direction in matters of faith and vocation and love and pain and leadership and failure and success.