For those desiring to take steps in their Christian life and discipleship, to break free from bondage to the past and experience healing, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality integrates emotional health and contemplative spirituality. Many sincere followers of Christ, followers who are really passionate for God, join a church, participate weekly in a small group, serve with their gifts, and who are considered "mature," remain stuck at a level of spiritual immaturity—especially when faced with interpersonal conflicts and crises. This different approach to discipleship addresses this void, giving you powerful pathways to transformation that will help you mature into a faith filled with authenticity and a profound love for God.
Discern which of the top ten symptoms of emotionally unhealthy spirituality are present in your life: 1) Using God to run from God. 2) Ignoring emotions of anger, sadness, and fear. 3) Dying to the wrong things. 4) Denying the past's impact on the present. 5) Dividing life into "secular" and "sacred" compartments. 6) Doing for God instead of being with God. 7) Spiritualizing away conflict. 8) Covering over brokenness, weakness, and failure. 9) Living without limits. 10) Judging the spiritual journeys of others.
Summary of Session One.
Self-awareness is intricately related to our relationship with God. In fact the challenge of Scripture to shed our old "false" self in order to live authentically in our new "true" self strikes at the very core of true spirituality. Learn how to get to know who you are, what drives you, and what your passions are so that you can know your Creator more fully. The journey to emotionally healthy spirituality begins with a commitment to allow yourself to feel.
Summary of Session Two.
There are two essential biblical truths that point out the importance of dealing with our past so we can move into a healthy future: 1) The blessings and sins of our families going back two to three generations profoundly impact who we are today. 2) Discipleship requires putting off the sinful patterns of our family of origin and relearning how to do life God's way in God's family.
Summary of Session Three.
Emotionally healthy spirituality requires that we go through the pain of the Wall—some sort of crisis that turns our world upside down. Failure to understand and surrender to God's working in us at the Wall often results in great long-term pain, ongoing immaturity and confusion. But receiving the gift of God in the Wall transforms our lives forever.
Summary of Session Four.
We all face many "deaths" in our lives. We often use common defenses to protect ourselves from grief and loss, such as denial, minimizing, blaming, over-spiritualizing, rationalizing, distracting, becoming hostile, and medicating. The choice is whether these deaths will be terminal (crushing our spirit and life) or will open us up to new possibilities and depths of transformation in Christ.
Summary of Session Five.
Many of us are eager to develop our relationship with God, but we can't seem to stop long enough to be with him. God is offering us a way to deeply root our lives in him with two ancient disciplines—the Daily Office and Sabbath. These countercultural acts are not another "to-do" to add to our schedules. Rather, by learning to Stop, Rest, Delight, and Contemplate, we stay attuned to God's presence throughout the rhythm of our days and weeks.
Summary of Session Six.
Growing into an emotionally mature Christian includes not only loving God, but also the skill of loving others maturely. This requires learning, practicing, and integrating such skills as speaking respectfully, listening with empathy, negotiating conflict fairly, and uncovering the hidden expectations we have of others.
Summary of Session Seven.
Nurturing a growing spirituality in our present-day culture calls for a thoughtful conscious, purposeful plan. To do this well requires us to develop a Rule of Life. A rule is like a trellis that enables the vine to grow upward, becoming more fruitful and productive. Consider the rules you want to implement to nurture your relationship with Jesus and make it more fruitful in the areas of prayer, rest, work, and relationships.
Summary of Session Eight.
Pete introduces the overall focus of the course, and explains why he recommends you offer this as a course rather than a small group experience. EHS was developed as a discipleship pathway, and every member of your church should experience it as part of their spiritual development. By offering it as a perpetual course, you can integrate EHS into the life of your church. And by centralizing it, you can ensure a high quality experience for every participant. Pete also explains the importance of the EHS book, workbook, and the Day by Day book.
EHS is a centralized course with a high-quality small group table experience. Table leaders are responsible to facilitate a sense of community at the table and offer support. Pete teaches nine principles for being an effective table leader including Speak for Yourself, Turn to Wonder, No Fixing, and Trust & Learn from Silence. This session concludes with three discussion questions to help new leaders internalize these principles.
EHS has the most power when the pastor implements it as a church-wide initiative. Ensure the long-term impact of EHS with six strategies, including beginning with yourself and your leadership first, teaching through the principles from the pulpit, and embedding the course in the long-term life cycle of your church.
It takes boldness and courage to serve in the role of EHS Course Coordinator, but the fruit is tremendous. You are serving to create a safe space for people to open up and encounter Jesus. They will be talking about things rarely addressed in a typical discipleship class, so you need to recruit the right team and train them to facilitate these courses with care.