This Is Meaty! Brave It Out!
In a world filled with delicious and inviting distractions and excessive stress, it’s convenient and so easy to put off reflecting on what is going on inside of us and around us (that’s emotional health) and so, we are too busy to slow down to be with God (being contemplative and engaging in deeper spiritual growth).
When we ignore the emotional blocks in our lives, we just act out and go through the motions of Christian disciplines, activities and behaviors, but those ever so deeply rooted behavioral patterns from our past, continue to hinder us from an authentic, humble and vibrant life of maturity in Christ.
As a result, we sadly run the high risk of remaining stuck as spiritual infants, failing to develop into spiritually/emotionally mature adults in Christ.
We “Fail To Launch Forward” Spiritually and Emotionally.
The Items listed below are the top ten symptoms of emotionally unhealthy spirituality. Which of these symptoms are most relevant to you and describe your life?
Be honest! Be free!
The wonderful author Peter Scazzero has shared a great check list for us to honestly and in all humility consider:
- Using God to run from God.
Example: My prayers are usually about God doing my will, not me surrendering to His.
- Ignoring the emotions of anger, sadness, and fear.
Example: I am rarely honest with myself and/ or others about the feelings, hurts, and pains beneath the surface of my life.
- Dying to the wrong things.
Example: I tend to deny healthy, God-given desires and pleasures of life such as friendships, joy, music, beauty, laughter, and nature. At the same time, I find it difficult to die to my self-protectiveness, defensiveness, lack of vulnerability, and judgmentalism.
- Denying the past’s impact on the present.
Example: I rarely consider how my family of origin and significant people/events from my past have shaped my present.
- Dividing life into “secular” and “sacred” compartments.
Example: I easily compartmentalize God to “Christian activities” while usually forgetting about Him when I am working, shopping, studying, or recreating.
- Doing for God instead of being with God.
Example: I tend to evaluate my spirituality based on how much I am doing for God.
- Spiritualizing away conflict.
Example: I usually miss out on true peace by smoothing over disagreements, burying tensions, and avoiding conflict, rather than disrupting false peace as Jesus did.
- Covering over brokenness, weakness, and failure.
Example: I have a hard time speaking freely about my weaknesses, failures, and mistakes.
- Living without limits.
Example: Those close to me would say that I often “try to do it all” or “bite off more than I can chew.”
- Judging the spiritual journeys of others.
Example: I often find myself occupied and bothered by the faults of those around me.
Saul, the king of Israel, was instructed by God to fight and to completely destroy the Amalekites.
He gave in, however, to the wishes of his fighting men and did only part of God’s will due to a lack of self-awareness (emotional health) and yielding toward God (inward spiritual growth ).
1 Samuel 15:11 describes God’s and Samuel’s responses to Saul’s actions.
It’s worth reading to fully understand how easy it is to emotionally block God’s direction and warnings in life and how consequences take place because of this.
“10-11 Then God spoke to Samuel: “I’m sorry I ever made Saul king. He’s turned his back on me. He refuses to do what I tell him.”
11-12 Samuel was angry when he heard this. He prayed his anger and disappointment all through the night. He got up early in the morning to confront Saul but was told, “Saul’s gone. He went to Carmel to set up a victory monument in his own honor, and then was headed for Gilgal.”
By the time Samuel caught up with him, Saul had just finished an act of worship, having used Amalekite plunder for the burnt offerings sacrificed to God.
13 As Samuel came close, Saul called out, “God’s blessings on you! I accomplished God’s plan to the letter!”
14 Samuel said, “So what’s this I’m hearing — this bleating of sheep, this mooing of cattle?”
15 “Only some Amalekite loot,” said Saul. “The soldiers saved back a few of the choice cattle and sheep to offer up in sacrifice to God. But everything else we destroyed under the holy ban.”
16 “Enough!” interrupted Samuel. “Let me tell you what God told me last night.”
S aul said, “Go ahead. Tell me.”
17-19 And Samuel told him. “When you started out in this, you were nothing — and you knew it. Then God put you at the head of Israel — made you king over Israel. Then God sent you off to do a job for him, ordering you, ‘Go and put those sinners, the Amalekites, under a holy ban. Go to war against them until you have totally wiped them out.’ So why did you not obey God? Why did you grab all this loot? Why, with God’s eyes on you all the time, did you brazenly carry out this evil?”” 1 Samuel 15:11-17.
In what ways can you relate, or not relate, to Saul?
Not only was Saul unaware of what was going on inside of him (emotional health), he also did not develop a contemplative life with God (like David did). His “doing” for God did not flow from his “being” with God .
In the same way, our “doing” for Jesus must flow from our “being” with Him.
Far too often, we live vicariously through other people’s spirituality and relate to God while busily “on the run.”
What challenges keep you from slowing down your life to be with God?
What is your answer to that last question?
What challenges or emotional paralysis keep you from slowing down your life to be transparent and engaged face to face, heart to heart with God?
A Prayer of Risk and Determination To Get Your Life Out of A Destructive Cycle!
I must begin my day today by confessing that my heart has often been deceived into thinking that I am living a life of humble service when in reality, many of my motivations are grounded in selfishness.
I am so grateful You helped me to understand this about myself many years ago — and are still faithfully reminding me when I start to get off track again.
I am on my knees today asking You to help me understand that any influence I might have in the Body of Christ needs to be given by the Holy Spirit Himself and not by my own strength.
Remind me that it is far better to have no reputation at all than to attain great things on my own power.
I acknowledge this is a hard lesson for me to fully understand. I also realize that You have grown me up enough to recognize the things that You are blessing — so I will be able to join Your efforts to my own, where I will always find success.
The more I have come to understand how wise You truly are, and how Your Holy Word is so full of practical advice for my day to day living, the stronger I have grown.
You have blessed me with fruit that was planted solidly. Thank You that You are showing me that my feelings of inadequacy are actually good because they keep me from becoming self centered.
I look at the lives of those folks around me and the first thing I see is their humble attitude of service to others.
I see them putting You first, seeking to serve You at the expense of their own advances.
I see You richly reward them with Your own reflection shining brightly out of their innermost being.
Because I know I will never be up to the job You have chosen for me, it makes me realize how very dependent on You I have become.
I am so grateful I do not wait for my own strength to surface, but instead, rely on Your strength to point me in the right direction.
I pray today that I will become more like Jesus than I was yesterday. I pray I will be unafraid to act in obedience when I hear You call.
Make me more aware each day of the tremendous authority I have received from You, which helps me not blow it by claiming it as my own.
Please never let me misuse the gifts You have given me.
I close this prayer today by asking You to never let me become a stumbling block to anyone because I claimed authority that You did not give me.
Help me to never do anything that could bring harm to others by stepping out in anything other than the authority of the Holy Spirit.
Please, I beg you keep me humble in heart, grant me the nature of a true servant, and give me discernment and wisdom to be able to take my stand against Satan and his evil attempts to counterfeit and destroy that which You have been preparing for me.
Finally, Jesus, please keep me honest by recognizing that a true, humble servant of God is someone who is in agreement with what You are doing.
Remind me that true humility is the exact opposite of powerlessness.
True humility empowers and strengthens and casts out fears. Thank You for reminding me and keeping me pure and motivated by my devotion to You.
In His Shadow,
~ Mary Lindow ©
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Mary Lindow has a passion for encouraging others – all generations, careers or vocations to live expressing excellence through personal integrity, healthy accountability, and wise management of talents and skills. She’s a sought after keynote, inspirational, humorous speaker and teacher across the U.S.A and internationally in Ministers & Spiritual leaders Conferences, and training seminars for various organizations.