Discovering Our Identity
Today’s post is by Laura Bratton
As a student at Princeton Theological Seminary, I was wrestling with deep theological questions that seminary students ask: Who is God? How do I understand God’s presence in the world? I was also struggling with another question. What is my identity? As a person who had recently become blind, I asked myself: What is my identity? Does my disability completely define me? Am I less than because I am blind? How will I be received as a clergy who is disabled?
As I wrestled with these questions, spiritual direction was a powerful source of healing. The time spent each month with my spiritual director gave me the space to sit in silence and reflect on the question: What is my identity? Through each session I gained a deeper understanding of who I am. I became aware of my true, lasting identity. I am a beloved child of God. My identity is rooted and established in the fact that I am a beloved creation of the Creator of the universe. Words cannot describe the healing I received as this truth penetrated my mind and spirit.
Now as a spiritual director, how do I respond to people seeking their identity? How do each of us as spiritual directors walk alongside people who are searching for their identity? As an extrovert from the Southeast, I want to explain through encouraging and comforting words that each person is a beloved creation. I desire for the person receiving spiritual direction to understand that he is a beloved creation. Rather than explaining with words however, the deep powerful healing comes when you and I can hold the sacred place of silence while the person listens to the Spirit. Through the gift of active listening and intentional presence, we can accompany the person as he too becomes aware of the truth that he is a beloved creation. As you think about your ministry of spiritual direction, consider how you can use your unique gifts and experiences to help others become aware that they are beloved creations.
What an honor we each have as spiritual directors to provide the space for such transformational healing to take place. May we never take for granted the gift we have been given to stand beside people as they discover that they are beloved individuals. May we never forget that we too are beloved creations.