Our small group is going through Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero this semester. While I don’t agree with every word the author says, I’m very excited about this study because it explores an area we often ignore in churches: our emotional health.
Scazzero points out ten top signs of emotional unhealthiness:
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
As I read through this list, it occurred to me that not only do we often ignore these warning signs in our churches, sometimes we wear them as badges of honor. And church becomes the place where emotional unhealthiness thrives.
Being with God may be preached from the pulpit but people are made to feel guilty if they don’t participate in everything. Do more. Give more. More. More. More.
Limits? Those are for people who don’t claim Phil 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Which Scazzero points out is about being content with your circumstances not being able to do everything under the sun.”)
Conflict is buried because we think it’s more biblical to “just get along” than to practice Matthew 18.
And do we ever cover our brokenness, weakness and failure more than when we walk in the church doors and plaster on our Sunday smiles?
All of sudden perfect attendance, ignoring our families to do “God’s work” and pretending we never have problems become badges of honor.
But what would our churches be like if we came together to work through our brokenness, weakness and failure? If we encouraged each other to set limits – even if it meant saying no to good things? If we practiced biblical conflict resolution? If we stopped ignoring God in order to do more for Him?
I don’t know about you, but I think emotionally healthy Christians and emotionally healthy church bodies would look radically different from what we think of as church.
Do you see some of the signs of emotional unhealthiness in yourself? In your church? How do you think Christianity would look different if we were more emotionally healthy?