Many of us come from different families and backgrounds as well as diverse religious upbringing. Since history tells of Jesus’ ministry over 2000 years ago, his ministry and mission have stayed the same but our culture seemly has changed drastically in our emotional and spiritual practices to continue Jesus’ fruitful work.
We can be emotionally and spiritually healthy to allow Jesus to work more fully in and through us to love God and love others well! Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero has key elements that we will explore: looking at the problems we face emotionally that tend to be unhealthy, knowing yourself as to meet God honestly, looking at our past to help with the future, breaking our barrier or wall, surrendering to our limits and humility, honoring God daily with spiritual practices that are time tested and taught us by Jesus, maturing as an adult to love well and always putting the Love of Christ above all else in life.
Scazzero also does a very good job to provide very intentional prayers after each chapter for reflection. Please take this journey with me and I pray:
Oh Lord, thank you for who you are and what you have done to ease our burdens. Please honor the gifts you have given us and recognize those gifts for you, the Body of Christ. Please bring us closer in the understanding of your plans in the family of believers. Please reveal and help us through any barrier that may exist in our relationships so we may rise to your occasion. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.
So you think it’s a lovely world? Looking closer we see on a global scale of consumption, advertised to seek any and all pleasures. Include Adam and Eve as our first parents of disobedience, we are experiencing many negative aspects of humanity that make it difficult to have sincere relationships with our Heavenly Father and with others in our own life. Family traditions are steeped with traditions that also keep us unhealthy. As illustrated in the book(pg 17) we only show 10% of who we are versus 90% is hidden. It’s in the 90% unseen we explore our emotional health and its connection to spiritual maturity. First let us agree God made us in his image (Gen 1:27). So we are not junk! We should then respect the whole person and this includes the ‘emotional’ side. Our culture views how strong you should be, the first in everything, accumulate wealth, fame, material goods and especially do not show emotion or any weakness. On the emotional side, Scazzero points out ten symptoms of emotionally unhealthy spirituality but we will look at two to illustrate. First is ignoring anger, sadness, and fear.these Many Christians believe these are sins to avoid and then have a tendency to inflate or puff up false confidence in themselves trying not to be overwhelmed by these feelings. So we have this underlying avoidance to not express our feelings and our hurt. We are told Christ is the visible image of the invisible God (NLT 1 Col 1:15). We also know Christ had many feelings as witnessed in scripture, even anger.(Pg 45) Secondly spiritualizing away conflict or unresolved matters in families, churches, and communities. Few of us do this well or come from families that do this well. Jesus was around conflict most of his ministry but remember the solitude he took and the friends he made with the apostle as a model and will mention later in this critique. We remember God showed through Jesus’ weakness in death that Jesus now lives in the power of God (NLT 2 Cor 13:4), we too have this hope through our savior Jesus to live in this power and transformation from our weakness.
Know Your Self to Meet and Love God
Augustine wrote in Confessions, AD 400 ‘How can you draw close to God when you are far from your own self? St Teresa of Avila wrote in The Way of perfection: ‘Almost all problems in spiritual life stem from a lack of self-knowledge’
Old versus New – Who are You Mr. Magoo?
Our Bible text “to put off your old self…and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness’ (Eph 4:22,24). Mr. Magoo was a fictional cartoon character back in 1949 that had nearsightedness compounded by his stubborn refusal to admit the problem at hand. The unfavorable situations seemed to work out but put him no better than he was before of the situation. With our strong generational pressures and spiritual warfare, look to live in our true self in Christ showing our discipleship. So dropping that old self like a Mr. Magoo and putting on a new self may look different in bringing our gifts to God. Scazzero provides a scale from 0 to 100 in differentiating true self(pg 59-61). We see four ways working toward a true self but will look at two. First to be silent daily in front of God allowing yourself to feel emotions in front of God. No censoring or criticism of these emotions but allow God to talk to us and maybe journal what God is saying. Review your journal and watch the pace of your life slow down for God to talk with you and discern His emotions and understanding yours. Secondly, find trusted companions. Roadblocks in this area are pressure to keep living that is not our own or living a life not what God is asking of us and our deceptive self-will contaminates divine growth without trusted mature companions. Suggested to pray and be open to different persons that might help, paying attention to what God is showing us.
Back to the Future
Blessing and sins can go back three generations and discipleship require dumping sinful patterns of the family of origin. We then relearn how to be and do live in God’s family.
Our Family, Our Own Ten Commandments, Jesus Christ, Biblical Models
The power of family generations past is unknowing to us and the subtle messages that they conferred affect our current relationships and our self-esteem. Our Bible sites many truths of sin and blessings that get passed to each generation. Furthermore, a more startling picture in today’s family is the families ten commandments (pg 78). The list is mostly very self-centered and behaviors that have been passed down by generations. If we are followers of Christ but still influenced by our unseen family dialog that is contrary to Christ’s dialog, we are in serious trouble if we live out these earthly commandments. The good news that we can be adopted into the family of God. Jesus has called us already to his family and declares us loveable and good enough in Christ. Then our discipleship can be worked out in truth and love. We have to be willing to work out our fear of keeping secrets in the dark that have wounded us in loving God and others. Take the good things from the past and leave the ugly in the past.
Travel Through Your Barrier
Stages, Dark Side, God’s Grace and Allowances
Surrender, Limits, Humility
Defend or Not to Defend
Daily Office, Sabbath, God’s Holy Space
Spiritual Disciplines, God’s Holy Day, How Much Rope ARE WE Accepting from God?
Mature Adult Skills to Love Well
Relationships, Speak Easy, True Peacemakers
Love of Christ Before All Else
God to Rule My Life