How to get Spiritual Direction: a book review

Abba, Give Me a Word: the Path of Spiritual Direction by L. Roger Owens

I do not see a spiritual director regularly; however I have benefited from spiritual direction at a couple of key moments in my life.  I commend the practice to you and I think that this resource does a good job of talking about what spiritual direction is, what to expect from it, and what it means to receive direction.  L. Roger Owens, is a pastor and has Spiritual wisdom of his own to impart; yet this book is primarily an opening up of his own journey and how his spiritual director helped him to pay attention to his own longings as he sought to discern the will of God in his life.

What is spiritual direction? Spiritual direction is  a relationship between a director (a wise guide or spiritual friend) and someone receiving direction, so to aid that person in discerning God’s presence and will and to aid them in their spiritual formation. Within spiritual direction, the director is really listening with you to your life to help you discover what God is doing there and how you should respond.

In Abba, give me a word, Owens walks through seven aspects of finding and receiving direction. Along the way he shares some real gems as he opens up about his own experience with his director.  He addresses Longings (paying attention to what we really want in life), Finding (a director and starting direction, Releasing (letting go of expectations), Offering (giving ourselves to God as an act of worship), Trusting ( your director and ‘obeying’ their direction), Attending (learning to pay attention to your life, including your desires, anger, joy, etc), and Going Well (leaving Spiritual Direction as someone who is whole).

While this book is primarily an introduction to spiritual direction, each of Owens points apply in general to the spiritual life. What I appreciated most about this book was the way Owens opened up his own experience, sharing the ways in which his spiritual director helped him come to realizations about himself.

So if spiritual direction is new for you, or you just like stories of spiritual growth, this is a good book for you. I have read several other books on spiritual direction which go more in-depth at various points, but I loved the conversational tone of this book.   It is well written, engaging and accessible.

Thank you to Paraclete Press for providing with a copy of this book in exchange for this review.

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I am a pastor, husband, father, instigator, pray-er, hoper, writer, trouble-maker, peacemaker, and friend. Who are you?

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