Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Chapter 1

>> Sunday, October 3, 2010

I just want to start by saying that I am so excited about each and every woman that has decided to join me to go through the book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. I don't know about you guys, but I found this first chapter to be incredibly revealing and cannot wait to delve deeper into the book. I would also like to say that throughout this series I plan to be very transparent with my own life and spiritual journey. If you feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and insight in the comments section of this blog, please do so. If you would like to email me personally to discuss anything this book brings about, I would love that. If you just want to read along silently, that would be perfectly fine as well. I am just happy you are joining us and am excited to see where the book takes us!

An illustration was given in chapter one that compares individuals to an iceberg. Only 10 percent of what makes up an iceberg is actually visible. The other 90 percent is hidden below the water. I know many of us can relate to this, especially those of us who have been involved in the church for some time. The questions like "How are you this week?" and you answer "Fine." or the call goes out for anyone who needs prayer and you sit quietly with your hands folded in your lap, ready to pray openly for anyone but yourself. I am the number one guilty person of these types of responses. Why? Because although I have openly confessed that I am a sinner, who can only be saved through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, I don't really want you to know how bad of a sinner I really am. Why? Because although I proclaim Christ is all that I need, 90 percent of the time I living my life for man. I want to be liked. And at the end of the day, I keep everything on the surface because if I told you too much about what's under the water, you might not like me anymore.

So, in an effort to be transparent and encourage you to do the same, here is a breakdown of some of the components that would make up my iceberg.

What about you? I found this exercise to be a very good starting point. Here is a blank sheet if you would like to fill one out for yourself.

I found the author's re-occurring theme of "you have to look back in order to look forward" very interesting, especially when he describes his father saying "The way he functioned as a father, husband, and employee reflected his culture and family of origin rather than the new family of Jesus."

How do you define yourself?

I remember one thing that always bugged me during sorority rush in college. They would flash a girl's photo on a projection screen and in support of this girl someone would shout out "she comes from a good family." I know what it meant in that setting, but what exactly does that mean? I think it's wonderful when children are given the opportunity to grow up financially stable, with both their mother and father, in a Christian home. But far too often this is not the case. This was not the case for me. My parents divorced when I was in the first grade. And I love my earthly family very much. But in the fourth grade, I prayed to become a Christian and joined my new family of Jesus. I would like to raise my hand for myself and say, "I come from a good family."

I have heard the same type of phrasing is used when Christian leaders are mentoring young adults on finding a spouse. Does he/she come from a good family? What does that mean? Shouldn't the questions be "Does he/she love Jesus." Did Joseph come from a good family? The Joseph whose brothers thought it would be a good idea to sell him into slavery and pretend he died. The same Joseph whose father had 12 children by four different women. Joseph was falsely accused of rape. He was imprisoned for over 10 years. But did Joseph let his worldly circumstance, his family, or the way people viewed him define who he was? No! He concludes Genesis by saying " You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people." Genesis 50:20

Where has God brought you?

Are you at a level of spiritual maturity to be able to recognize that even the most seemingly senseless pain we endure can be for the glory of the kingdom? I will admit, I do not have this one down yet. Scazzero explains that "pain has an amazing ability to open us to new truth and get us moving." I have experienced immense pain this year with the loss of my younger brother, the destruction of my childhood home, and most recently the death of our first born {cat} child. And there have been moments where I just want to lay down, throw up my hands, and accept defeat. Scazzero says "the sad reality is that most of us will not go forward until the pain of staying where we are is unbearable." I'm there. I'm ready.

What about you?


Courtney October 3, 2010 at 8:02 PM  

I may have to join this book club! I like the issues and topics you brought up here.

The Abercrombies October 3, 2010 at 8:07 PM  

Stephanie - This seems like an awesome book. I love the illustration about the iceburg. I agree with you on so many points you made! I need to order this book!

christina October 4, 2010 at 1:08 AM  

I ordered this book because it looks really good and seems to bring up difficult issues. Thanks for the recommendation.

So sorry to hear about your sweet kitty! The posts just broke my heart.

Emily October 4, 2010 at 8:25 AM  

Oh my I need to get this book. What a great list you have. I htink mine may be twice as long but I need to practice this this week. This is going to be a good sunday practice!

Honeybee Ministries October 4, 2010 at 9:52 AM  

Stephanie...I LOVE your transperancy and your honesty. I litterally teared up reading this. Thanks for being honest enough to say things that most people won't so that others will feel that it's ok to do the same (and realize we are all messed up)lol. I am gonna have to go and pick up this book! :) Keep on keeping on chicky...ps- I went and sat in on a DL class a couple of weeks ago...it was weird not habving you there! :(

Anonymous,  October 8, 2010 at 7:09 PM  

I read your list, and the subtle anguish that ran through your post..... I read it sadly. I am personally a happy atheist. I have a family - 2 kids, husband and a dear little black dog. I do kind deeds, though, as we all do, I have my off days. And I just plain forgive myself for being a human being! I am involved in my children's school life. I help my husband when and where I can with his work. And I am glad that I don't feel the guilty pressure to 'atone' or 'fess-up' to an entity that seems to make others feel so badly about themselves.

Just saying.


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