Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality - Pete Scazzero

Loved this book.  I suppose I say that about all of the books I read...I guess because each one is kind of like a new friend:  you can learn something from all of them, even if they have some faults.  (Maybe that is why I don't like to give my 'friends' away...and my library grows too large!  haha)

I appreciate Pete's vulnerability - his willingness to lay before the public eye his weaknesses and even failures as a father, husband and pastor.  I don't look upon him harshly - I see only the path that we are all walking as believers:  believing the Word, praying, etc - but still noting that our struggles don't disappear.  The struggles of our world are intense and we feel as though we lack the tools to fight well.  We find our humanity is all too apparent and wonder where victory is.

The basic cry of this book is to SLOW DOWN and GROW UP and live the life God has designed for you only.  He repeatedly emphasizes that you cannot be emotionally immature and spiritually mature at the same time. They are integrated.  Knowledge alone does little to transform us unless we slow down, and allow the Spirit to reveal hidden strongholds and emotional 'allergies' that have followed us through life.

I could quote and list MANY things that impacted me but I will share just this one that list that hit me square in the heart:  a list from St. John of the Cross: "the seven deadly spiritual imperfections of beginners that must be purified."  And yes, I'm a beginner - I've been a believer for 32 years, have 6 years of Bible training and countless hours of conferences and sermons, and I am still a beginner:

  1. Pride: they have a tendency to condemn others and become impatient with their faults.  They are very selective in who can teach them.
  2. Avarice: they are discontent with the spirituality God has given them.  They never have enough learning, are always reading many books rather than growing in poverty of spirit and their interior life.
  3. Luxury: they take more pleasure in the spiritual blessings of God than God Himself.
  4. Wrath: they are easily irritated, lacking sweetness, and have little patience to wait on God.
  5. Spiritual Gluttony: they resist the cross and choose pleasures like children do.
  6. Spiritual envy: they feel unhappy when others do well spiritually.  They are always comparing.
  7. Sloth: they run from that which is hard.  Their aim is spiritual sweetness and good feelings.
Ouch.  'Nuff said.

One final application from this book - He recommends praying the "prayer of examen" by St. Ignatius Loyola at the end of each day.  This discipline asks us to stop in prayer before sleep each night and look over the events of the day with Jesus - and to stop and ask where we were walking in the Spirit or not.  I often drop in bed exhausted and 'save my praying' for the morning - but i would like to change that habit to a more mindful watching of my heart throughout the day. 

Sorry this is so long and quick - as someone once said, "I don't have enough time to write less."  So this will do for now...perhaps more thoughts will follow.

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