Over the past twenty years that I have been in ministry I have had numerous peer mentors, spiritual advisors, and accountability partners but, outside of my spouse, I don’t think that I have ever truly had a Soul Friend. And, truth be told, until recently I had never even heard the term or knew how much I longed for one.
So, what is a Soul Friend? Someone who willingly joins you on, and helps shape, your Christian journey. A person who intentionally enters into a long obedience in the same direction alongside you, not as an advisor so much as a traveling companion, and who offers spiritual direction during times of crisis or confusion. A brother or sister that shares in and helps you create a sacred space for such things as common prayer and contemplative practices.
The concept comes from the Celtic monastic tradition where an Anam Cara (literally translated Soul Friend) is considered an essential companion on the spiritual path–someone to share your struggles, as well as shape your life, with. In doing so they can become an anchor during a storm as they sit silently with you weathering the waves of grief and confusion all the while refraining from trying to simply fix your situation. What they provide is not answers per se but the ability to help you ask the right questions.
This is what I need. This is what I need to be.