Our 'Emotionally Healthy Lives' series is inspired by New York pastor Peter Scazzero's transformative roadmap for discipleship with Jesus. Scazzero learned the hard way: you can't be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature. In this series we examine a model of spirituality that leads us towards an authentic faith and hunger for God. We can't avoid conflict, we can't ignore anger, sadness and fear, we can't live without boundaries. We need to recapture a biblical integration of emotional health and the spiritual practice of slowing down and quieting our lives to experience a firsthand relationship with Jesus.
It's most likely that all of Jesus's best advise on relationships and families are laid out in this passage of scripture known as the Sermon on the Mount. Comparison can cause us to undermine our own desire to serve our families as God intended. For those of us who are parents, we are without a job description, without a line manager and often without encouragement. When we uncover our God-given responsibilities to our family, then we can become free to live out our lives with wholeness and creativity.
We all get the points in our faith journey where we feel stuck or crisis hits. In some traditions this in known as the dark night of the soul. Do we bail or get help? Hitting a wall leads to an inward journey of growth and healing if we let it. Often a reframing of our faith and view of God is needed through the power of authenticity.
We all have a true self and a presenting self. Look beneath the surface. Validate your emotions, especially the more difficult ones. What does it look like to get to know ourselves, that we may know God? We must learn to love our imperfect selves.
Before we learn to deal with difficult people we must realise that at some point, in some way, we will be difficult people to others. However there are some traits or behaviours that we can eliminate to help us overcome these relational conflicts. If we don’t minister to those in emotional need in a healthy way we end up hurting ourselves and them. Manipulation, envy, neediness, or cynicism need to be address and overcome with healing and wholeness. We all of us need to step up in how we talk to others: with more respect and kindness. But when conversations become unkind, accusatory or disrespectful, we have a right to end them.
It’s OK to disappoint people. Healthy boundaries show where I end and someone else begins. It makes it clear what I am responsible for and what I am not responsible for. Blurred boundaries can lead to manipulation and control. When we create boundaries, we regain power over ourselves.
Life is a series of letting go, a series of losses. Youthfulness, expectations - every change gives a gain and a loss. Grief is a grace disguised. How do we deal with pain? Often through easy comforts and addictions. But deep forgiveness means we must allow ourselves to feel the pain first.
As individuals we have limits. As a church we have limits. To become spiritually mature we must recognise the season of life we’re in and the limits they provide. How do we live our lives without comparison to the lives of others?