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 Expanded Edition (8-week course) integrates emotional health and contemplative spirituality. Many sincere followers of Christ, 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.
Emotional health and spiritual maturity cannot be separated. It is not possible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature. We often neglect to reflect on what is going on inside us and around us (emotional health) and are too busy to slow down to be with God (contemplative spirituality). We run the high risk of remaining stuck as spiritual infants.
Self-awareness is intricately related to our relationship with God. True spirituality means to shed our old “false” self in order to live authentically in our new “true” self. The vast majority of us go to our graves without knowing who we are. Without being fully aware of it, we live someone else’s life. This does violence to ourselves, to our relationship with God, and ultimately to others.
Our past hands us a certain amount of “emotional baggage” for our journey through life. True spirituality frees us to live joyfully in the present. Living joyfully, however, requires going back in order to go forward. This process takes us to the very heart of spirituality and discipleship—breaking free from the destructive sinful patterns of our past in order to live the life of love that God intends.
Just as a physical wall stops us from moving ahead, God sometimes stops us in our spiritual journey through a spiritual Wall in order to radically transform our character. 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. Receiving the gift of God in the Wall, however, transforms our lives forever.
Loss is a place where self-knowledge and powerful transformation can happen—if we have the courage to participate fully in the process. Our culture routinely interprets these losses and griefs as alien invasions and interruptions to our “normal” lives. The choice is whether these deaths will be terminal or will open us up to new possibilities and depths of transformation in Christ.
Many of us are eager to develop our relationship with God. The problem, however, is that we can’t seem to stop long enough to be with him. Stopping for the Daily Office and Sabbath is not meant to add another “to-do” to our already busy schedules. It is the resetting of our entire lives toward a new destination—God himself.
The goal of the Christian life is to love well. Jesus was aware that true spirituality included not only loving God, but also the skill of loving others maturely. Becoming emotionally mature 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...just to name a few.
Nurturing a growing spirituality in our present-day culture calls for a purposeful plan. The problem however, is our busyness and lack of intentionality. Often, we find ourselves unfocused, distracted, and spiritually adrift. Few of us have a conscious plan for intentionally developing our spiritual lives. In this session we uncover another ancient buried treasure—a “Rule of Life.”
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.
The core of the Emotionally Healthy course is the Day By Day book. This book equips people to be with Jesus, which has proven to be the most challenging part of the course because many claim to know Jesus, but have a seriously underdeveloped relationship with him. By practicing rhythms of silence, solitude, listening, and loving union with Jesus, the Day by Day book develops in us a first-hand spirituality.
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.