How's Your Emotional Health?
“It’s impossible to be spiritually mature, while remaining emotionally immature,” asserts Peter Scazzero, a former pastor and author of a number of books on the topic. He continues: “The overall health of any church or ministry depends primarily on the emotional and spiritual health of its leadership. In fact, the key to successful spiritual leadership has much more to do with the leader’s internal life than with the leader’s expertise, gifts, or experience.”
Each of us has a “dark side” consisting of our past wounds and unhealthy habits. We can inflict tremendous harm to others if we attempt to minister to others without exploring and addressing this dark side. Scazzero suggests ten top signs of emotionally unhealthy spirituality:
Using God to run from God.
Ignoring the emotions of anger, sadness, and fear.
Dying to the wrong things.
Denying the past’s impact on the present.
Diving our lives into “secular” and “sacred” compartments.
Doing for God instead of being with God.
Spiritualizing away conflict.
Covering over brokenness, weakness, and failure.
Living without limits.
Judging other people’s spiritual journey.
The antidote, suggests Scazzero, is a combination of emotional health—naming and recognizing our feelings; initiating and maintaining close relationships; breaking free from self-destructive patterns, to name just a few aspects—and contemplative spirituality—awakening and surrendering to God’s love; communing with God through silence, solitude, and prayer; and loving others out of a love for God, among others.
In the church world, it’s easy to focus on what we think will bring spiritual health, without focusing on developing emotional intelligence and health. But the two are inextricably linked.
How would you rate your emotional health?
What practices and rhythms have you incorporated into your life and leadership context to grow in your emotional health?