Tag Archives: Emotions

Book Review: The Emotionally Healthy Church

I began reading The Emotionally Healthy Church a couple months ago when Dan asked me to read it with him. Then life happened. The book found its way to the bottom of a pile of books on my nightstand. I noticed it again a couple weeks later. After I finished it I knew I wanted to share this book with all of you.

Despite the title, this book is for everyone (not just pastors or church leadership). As I said last week, we as Christians tend to focus on the spiritual, physical, and intellectual sides of our being, but rarely take a look at the emotional part of our being. This is not healthy. We are not like Data from Star Trek who, with a tweak of his neck, can shut off his emotions at will (as much as I wish otherwise ;p).

Instead of recognizing and learning to deal with our emotions, we bury them. I believe in the Christian community we view emotions with suspicion or worse, as sinful. Peter Scazzero addresses this issue. In The Emotionally Healthy Church, he talks about his own journey as a pastor; how he learned that the emotional baggage he carried from his past, his family, and trying to please everyone almost shipwrecked his marriage and his ministry.

This book has been insightful and helpful on the emotional roller coaster I have been on recently. It covers topics such as grieving and loss, boundaries in ministry, learning to forgive, etc… in a biblical and healthy way.  I am learning to be honest with how I feel, both with God and myself instead of burying the hurt and anger. In turn God is healing my heart, expanding my capability to love, and showing me how I can comfort others who are hurting.

I definitely recommend The Emotionally Healthy Church.

The Emotional Christian

I currently finished a book that both reinforced what I have learned the last few years and challenged me to take the next step. I won’t give away the title yet, that’s for next week’s blog. But the topic this book touched on is emotional maturity.

Huh? What? Yeah, I never heard that term before either. But once I started reading this book, I knew what the author was talking about. It is something I have come to learn in my own Christian walk: the need to be honest with both God and ourselves.

More often than not, we as Christians are encouraged to take care of ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. We need to live a balanced life. But rarely are we encouraged to take a look at the emotional part of our lives or how to balance it.

I think this is because this is a subject we don’t even realize exists. We are so busy putting our lives in order, exercising and eating right, making sure we have time for our daily devotion, reading to keep mentally fit (you are reading, right?), but we seldom if ever slow down to take stock of where we are at emotionally.

Why is that? After all, we feel everyday. Perhaps it is because of busyness. Or perhaps it is because we have no idea how integrated feelings are in our lives. Perhaps it is because we subconsciously see emotions as a pediment to a stronger Christian walk. After all, mature Christians don’t get angry, depressed, or lonely. That’s too close to sin, right?

Wrong.

We ignore the stirrings inside our hearts. We do not face them. We do not acknowledge them. And in doing so, we are not being truthful with ourselves and with God. God knows how we are feeling. He’s even been there. Jesus was fully human. He wept (look at how he reacted when Lazarus died), he was angry (yep, remember when he cleansed out the temple?), he felt anguish (in the Garden of Gethsemane). Yet I think we think of Jesus being more God than man. A stoic teacher above such base feelings.

Feelings are not a bad thing. After all, God did not make a mistake when he made humans and put feelings inside of them. It’s what we do with them. But we can’t do anything with them if we don’t even acknowledge our feelings in the first place. And many times we are too busy, too scared, or too uncomfortable to take a deeper look at what’s going on inside of us.

Next week I will share the book that prompted such thoughts. So stay tuned!