Sometimes we need a reminder. This post by Stirred Up Leadership, blog of the US Willow Creek Association, was one of their most popular posts so we thought it was worth re-posting as a reminder for those of you in ministry. Please make sure you’re taking time to care for yourself.
Angela, in explaining why she had not attended church for over five years, asked me privately, “Why is it that so many Christians make such lousy human beings?”
Jay, one of our church members, recently shared with me: “I was a Christian for twenty-two years. But instead of being a twenty-two year-old Christian, I was a one-year-old Christian twenty-two times! I just kept doing the same things over and over and over again.”
Ron, the brother of a member of the small group that meets in our home, upon hearing the title of this book, laughed: “Emotionally healthy spirituality? Isn’t that a contradiction?”
Our problem revolves around misapplied biblical truths that not only damage our closest relationships but also obstruct God’s work of profoundly transforming us deep beneath the iceberg of our lives.
THE TOP TEN SYMPTOMS OF EMOTIONALLY UNHEALTHY SPIRITUALITY
The pathway for your spiritual life I describe in the book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality is radical. That is, it very likely cuts to the root of your entire approach to following Jesus. Trimming a few branches by, for example, attending a prayer retreat or adding two new spiritual disciplines to an already crowded life will not be enough. The enormousness of the problem is such that only a revolution in our following of Jesus will bring about the lasting, profound change we long for in our lives.
Before I prescribe this pathway, it is essential for us to clearly identify the primary symptoms of emotionally unhealthy spirituality that continue to wreak havoc in our personal lives and our churches. The following are the top ten symptoms indicating if someone is suffering from a bad case of emotionally unhealthy spirituality:
1. Using God to run from God
2. Ignoring the emotions of anger, sadness, and fear
3. Dying to the wrong things
4. Denying the past’s impact on the present
5. Dividing our lives into “secular” and “sacred” compartments
6. Doing for God instead of being with God
7. Spiritualizing away conflict
8. Covering over brokenness, weakness, and failure
9. Living without limits
10. Judging other people’s spiritual journey
Download entire chapter to read detailed descriptions of each symptom.
Pete Scazzero (@petescazzero)
Senior Pastor of New Life Fellowship Church in New York and author of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality