Agnostic to Change

by Polly Baker

When walking into a spiritual direction session, a phrase that has been so helpful to remember as I offer this space of Spiritual Direction is to be “agnostic to change.”   When this phrase was first offered to me, it immediately stood out and something clicked in me.  I began to think of all the times when I was offering Spiritual Direction to others that I have felt this tension in me to want to jump in and help, solve, fix, advise and become the one who pushes for change.  And, there have been plenty of times that I did jump in,  and times that I didn’t, but regardless, there was always this struggle within me.  So, when I heard this phrase, it helped clarify why this struggle and tension I was experiencing was so prominent.  I realized that I was not being agnostic to change, I was actually looking for it.

As I have sat with this revelation,  it has been so helpful to notice that my desire to see change within my directees is actually from a place of deep longing within myself.  I have always struggled to sit in my own belovedness just as I am, and to learn that God actually loves me without an agenda. My own journey of experiencing Spiritual Direction was actually one of the first places where I was able to receive and experience this belovedness in a tangible way.  It was one of the reasons that I wanted to offer this practice to others.

And, I also believe the idea of change is a holy one.  We are all made in the image of a compassionate and loving God, and as ones who bear this image, we long to see healing, growth and expansion in ourselves and others, and I am so grateful that I long for these things in my directees.  And I can notice and hold that longing, while also acknowledging that my role as a spiritual director is not to look for change, in fact, it is to be agnostic to it.  My role is to behold their belovedness.

As I continue to learn this practice of holding this compassionate space for others, I have found that being agnostic to change actually frees me to witness the Divine within each of these humans without any agenda, and allows me to experience God holding me in my own belovedness exactly as I am.

– Polly Baker