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Oct

The Components of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality

Posted on October 22nd, 2009

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I am often asked, “Pete, what exactly is emotionally healthy spirituality?”  The above chart describes her five different components.  1. Contemplative Spirituality (Slow Down to Be With God).   EHS is a commitment to slow down our lives in order to create a rhythm to be with Jesus. It is about creating space through contemplative practices (e.g. Daily Offices, Sabbath-Keeping, silence, solitude and Scripture) so that we remain in Jesus’ love.  We draw deeply from the radical movement of the desert fathers as well as Moses, Elijah and John the Baptist  in order that we might love others out of the love we have first received from Jesus Himself. 2. Emotionally Healthy Discipleship – EHS recovers a number of lost biblical themes often ignored in evangelical discipleship. These include  a theology of grieving (e.g. Psalms, Lamentations) and limits,  of breaking the sinful patterns of our family of origin and cultures, loving well and brokenness as the basis by which we measure spiritual maturity, and a willingness to go deep beneath our icebergs to embrace our humanity. 3. Emotionally Healthy Skills – In order to live in the new family of Jesus, we seek to create new ways of relating and a culture that reflects His kingdom. Over the past 13 years, we have developed 12-14 skills that are simple to understand but challenging to practice. This includes simple skills such as a Community Temperature Reading to more complex skills such as Clean Fighting and Climbing the Ladder of Integrity. 4. Emotionally Healthy Leadership – Applying emotional healthy skills to our leadership is critical if we are going to transform our churches and communities.  The church is not a corporation where we simply apply the skills of secular society, nor is it a fused group of people that avoids truth and reality. We are stewards of God’s revelation, people and resources.  We lead out of a place of reflection, prayer, contemplation before Him and introspection.  We seek His will and timing.  Letting people go, hiring, functioning as boards, confronting conflict, creating healthy systems, refusing to lie, spin or exaggerate, and a commitment to integrity are now approached differently with a commitment to emotionally healthy spirituality. 5. Emotionally Healthy Marriages (and Sexuality) – We as leaders  take seriously the limit and gift of our marriage vow (if applicable). This is our first priority after Christ. It informs our leadership decisions and commitments. We remain committed to investing in our marriages to such an extent that we might experience the power of the gospel at home. God intends our marriage relationships and our sexuality to be a sign, a pointer of the love of Christ towards His bride the church. This is a large spiritual formation issue rarely, if ever, discussed in leadership conferences. While the church wide curriculum and the small group materials are a great beginning, this is a lifelong journey. Thoughts? Questions? Reflections?

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