The Center for Leadership Excellence, in partnership with COSROW, is pleased to lift up the voices of women in ministry encouraging fellow women in ministry. Please enjoy this month’s Encouragement from Amanda Rigby, Pastor of Christian Education and Spiritual Formation at Edenton Street UMC and Executive Director of The Well Mental and Spiritual Care. You can reach out to Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow The Well @thewellraleigh on Instagram.
Anyone can sign up to receive Encouragement emails here.
The Companion, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I told you. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:26-27, CEB)
Everyone I encounter these days is overwhelmed – by schedules and events and commitments. By expectations and responsibilities and the demands of ministry. By relationships and parenting and caregiving for aging parents. Overwhelm is the thread running through the lives of family and friends, church members, colleagues, and even strangers I run into out and about in the city.
Everyone is overwhelmed, and I feel it. In the quiet moments, in between the events and the commitments and the demands, the crushing weight of all that we are collectively bearing settles in. I wonder if you feel it, too.
If only the reasons behind our overwhelm were simple, it might be easier to stumble our way into some peaceful relief. But there is so much contributing to this experience – loss and grief, ongoing COVID realities, so much violence, human rights issues, economic uncertainties… and that list doesn’t even begin to cover all that weighs us down in our daily lives.
In the words of Barbara Brown Taylor, the thing that is saving my life right now in the midst of all of that is actually the Holy Spirit. The last few years of my life have been spent leaning into the things of the Spirit through an experience called spiritual direction.
Spiritual direction is a discipline that most often takes the form of a monthly, hour-long meeting between a trained director and a seeker. The work of that time is looking together for the ways God is moving and working in and around the seeker. “Directors” don’t actually direct; instead, we are trained to be companions on the journey of spirituality for those who are seeking greater spiritual depth.
What I’m learning through spiritual direction is how to encounter the peace that Christ offers to us… how to not only glimpse it but also cling to it and share it. This is a peace I have yet to find anywhere else. It is a peace given not as the world gives.
Whether you meet with a spiritual director, or find someone who can be a “soul friend” for you, I hope you will join me in searching for disciplines that invite you to lean into the presence of the Spirit. It just might be the thing that moves you from overwhelm to overwhelming peace.
Center for Leadership Excellence and the Commission on the Status and Role of Women