Sunday, February 16, 2014

Christians and Emotional Health

For the past six weeks, our church has been going through a series built from Peter Scazzero's Emotionally Healthy Church and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality (both the books and the study guides). The following links will connect you with blog posts summarizing six primary areas of focus concerning our emotional health. Most of the main points come from Mr. Scazzero's work. I note when I quote him directly, but his biblical insights provide a foundation for the entire discussion. Learn more about him at his website and his blog, and by all means order his books and read them thoroughly.

Look Beneath the Surface:  "We need to honestly acknowledge our inner life – then study it with discernment. We can’t just feel and act (or react). Emotions are a gift from God, but not all the ways we experience them are healthy and holy. If we want to be disciples of Christ, our emotions must be submitted to His lordship as well. We must understand them and learn how to use them appropriately."

Break the Power of the Past: "The legacy of our family profoundly impacts us (Exodus 20:4-6; Exodus 34:6-7; 2 Samuel 12:10). History is not destiny, but it is significant, and perhaps the most formative influence of all is our family of origin. How we were “parented” -whether by our biological parents or others who filled the role – will impact in many ways.  It can even influence our view of God."

Live in Brokenness:  "Luke records a story where Jesus was in the house of a Jewish religious leader when a “sinful woman” shows up to wash his feet with very expensive perfume.  They criticized him, but he responded:  “Whoever has been forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:47)  It’s not that the Pharisees didn’t need forgiveness –they just didn’t think they did. They didn’t know what it was like to feel the weight and the cost of their sin – and then find forgiveness, healing and hope."

The Gift of Limits:  "True self-care is not a selfish act. It’s good stewardship. It’s within God’s boundaries that we reach our full strength capacity effectiveness. Sometimes, we have to see opportunities and not become involved. None of us can help everybody or do everything. God raises people up 'for such a time as this' (Esther 4:14).  If we aren’t; careful, we forget how specific that is: 'For this time. Now.'"

Embrace Grief and Loss: "The depth of our grief reveals the weight of the thing we lost.When is the last time we considered that God is honored when his people offer songs of lament about their grief and loss?  Jesus was a 'man of sorrow, acquainted with grief.' If grief is a gauge of love, then both his love and his grief was deep. Perhaps we, too, should grieve deeply that which we love deeply, and do it without shame. If nothing else, we show all those around us what matters most in life."

Make Incarnation Your Model: "To most effectively represent God and connect God and His word with our neighbor, friend, co-worker, child, or spouse, we need to genuinely connect with their world.  You want to talk to little kids effectively? Kneel when you speak. You want to show your spouse you care? Plan a date he or she wants. You want to connect with your kids? Play music they like too while you are driving. You have to enter their world."

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