Pursuing Emotional Health

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“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” Proverbs 4:23

In the third part of our journey through a series called Gospel Transformation, we ventured into a conversation on the topic of Emotional Health (If you missed the message, you can catch the audio here). Our aim with this series is not to fully address and equip the saints to walk in full maturity in each of the topics covered each week, starting day 1. Rather, our aim for the series is to clarify for our church family in this vital season, where we believe Jesus has focused our attention in this next chapter of the life of our church.

Here are 2 things to consider before taking any next steps after this past weekend’s look at Emotional Health:

  1. The journey of reflection and inspection of our inner lives, as well as toward self-awareness, is hard work. At times and for almost everyone it will be painful and overwhelming. So we have to embrace gospel-endurance, Spirit-dependance, and keep the long view in mind as we take steps to address the condition of our hearts.
  2. You will have to step into vital relationships, both inside our church family and possibly outside via professional counselors or therapists. We will do the best we can to provide community, resources, and next steps for you, but we have limits. To take the journey toward whole gospel transformation, each one of us will have to take advantage of the opportunities, resources, and relationships available to us.

And remember, it’s okay to not be okay. And by God’s grace through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we don’t have to stay that way. 

So here are some initial resources we would recommend, and ideally in this order:

  1. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero. Scazzero does a wonderful job of helping the reader see the breadth and priority of emotional heath, and what happens when we don’t do the work of tending to our inner lives. You should expect to come away with a better understanding of what Emotional Health is (and isn’t), as well as some broad practical expectations for the journey.
  2. This talk by Gordon MacDonald is helpful in understanding the why and how of paying attention to your inner life. MacDonald’s personal story and the journey he’s been on are compelling and provide key next steps for healthy, godly self-reflection and the discipline of tending to your inner life.
  3. Wholeheartedness by Chuck DeGroat is a helpful tool that exposes the tendencies of the emotionally unhealthy heart and helps to provide ways to correct those tendencies. DeGroat operates from a Christian Therapist’s perspective, so the book delves deep into the science of the brain and one’s view of self, in light of the gospel.
  4. Lastly, when you have come to a place of increasing self-awareness, and have come to grips with your limitations and tendencies, a great practical guide to taking next steps on your lifelong journey of applying the gospel to your heart is Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald.

We have just scratched the surface of the matters of the heart. But the reality is the whole gospel transforms the whole person. Being in Christ means to be continually transformed into the image of Jesus, from one degree to the next (2 Corinthians 3:17-18, 2 Corinthians 5:14-21). So now, we must turn to the difficult but essential work of tending to our inner lives, in the context of healthy community, for the glory of Christ.

Praise Christ, we have not been left alone in the journey.

Texts for further reading:

Deuteronomy 6:4-6 (and Luke 10:27)
Ecclesiastes 3:9-11
Psalm 13
Psalm 63
Psalm 139
Matthew 11:29
1 Corinthians 13:1-8
2 Corinthians 3:17-8
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
2 Corinthians 5:14-21
Ephesians 3:14-21