Emotionally Healthy Spirituality

Written by Carl Greene

September 25, 2019

What kind of wake do I leave behind? 

Am I mindful of the impact my life has on others as I navigate through life? 

In the world of water recreation, boaters need to be aware of “no wake” zones where they travel in a manner that minimizes the waves created behind them.  There are certain zones in which shore lines can be eroded or personal property damaged if large waves are created as the boat passes through.  On the other hand, there are times in which creating a wake, or significant waves behind the boat creates great fun for a water skier to enjoy.  The key is being aware of the wake that the boat is creating, and how it is impacting the people around the boat.  Thinking about our wake is important when it comes to Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.  Honestly, what is my impact on the people around me when they experience the “waves” that I create in my family, church, and community?  Do people celebrate and thrive riding those waves, or are they pummeled by a barrage of white water?

I think a lot about spiritual health.  I think less about emotional health.  I think even less about the intersection of emotional health and spiritual health and the wake, or waves that I make based on my emotional/spiritual health.  Recently, two other SDB Directors and I read through The Emotionally Healthy Leader: How Transforming Your Inner Life Will Deeply Transform Your Church, Team, and the World (2015) by Peter Scazzero and looked for places of application in our own lives.  An eye-opening quote from a companion Scazzero study guide says this: 

Emotionally unhealthy spirituality wreaks havoc in our personal lives and our churches. When, for example, we deny the past’s impact on the present, judge other people’s spiritual journeys, or spiritualize away conflict, we hurt both ourselves and those around us. An emotionally unhealthy spirituality also hinders us from breaking deeply rooted, unhealthy relationship patterns and maturing in Christ. The problem is twofold: First, we neglect to pay attention to what is going on inside us. And second, we are too busy to stop, slow down, and be with God. As a result, we run the high risk of remaining stuck as spiritual infants, failing to grow into spiritual/emotional adults in Christ.[1]

If you are looking for an opportunity to slow down in life and consider the wake, or waves that you are creating in your family, your church, and your community, I would recommend reading the Emotionally Healthy Leader or one of Scazzero’s companion books.  Not that you will agree with everything that you read, but it might be a good practice to slow down and examine the wake you are leaving behind as you navigate the waters of life.

Carl Greene, Executive Director, SDB General Conference of USA and Canada

[1] Scazzero, Peter.  2018.  Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day.  Grand Rapids:  Zondervan.  19.

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