Buzz Words Strung Together? {Book Club}

I first saw Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero in a reputable seminary book store. Hmm, I thought.




Could we put a few more buzzwords in a title? I also remember thinking, “Well, that book is either spot on or WAY off.” And bought it to find out which it was.

I hope you have cracked the code that this book is a keeper (or it wouldn’t have been chosen for the book club!). I ended up finding it had so much to offer folks in our line of work I created handouts and lead training sessions with team leaders and member care providers. I also, um, talked about it a lot.

A few weeks ago a friend and his wife found out right after they had arrived on the field for a new term that his brother had died in a tragic car accident. They got on a plane and made the trek back to family and the awful task of burying a brother. I had the holy, horrible privilege of attending the viewing and spending a bit of time with them. As we chatted he referenced my love of  Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. Really, that’s what we’re talking about in this moment, I thought?  I want to be known for other things, but guess what was in my bag? The Emotionally Healthy Leader, Peter Scazzero’s most recent book :). We had a small laugh on a hard day.

I know I can be a bit over the top (did you see The Grove last week?), so it was with great delight that I did not suggest this book! One of the other editors did. And I smiled and cheered on the inside, while on the outside said in a calm voice, “Yes, I think that would be a great book to build our fall themes around.”

Here is one of the gifts writing gives to us: what I love, you can hate. And what you think is brilliant, I can think is pedantic. What changes one, can leave another feeling “meh.” So, I don’t want my love of this book to get in the way of what this book club is: a place to let the Holy Spirit use words and ideas to challenge and shape us. Sometimes that comes directly from a book itself, other times through our discussions, and finally through both.

With that said, let’s dive into chapter one. I appreciate Pete and Gerri’s honesty about what was going on in each of them as they lived this ministry life. This life where “work” and “ministry” and “socializing” can get so blurred we’re not sure what’s what.

I know life is not an exact scale, and I don’t think Peter’s point on the “different parts of who we are” was to become obsessed with balance. How would you say you, your marriage and family, your team, and your organization is doing valuing each of the five: emotional, social, intellectual, spiritual, and physical?

Have you ever felt “this is NOT working” in your life on the field? Or had others say to you that how you’re living is not working for them?

I liked the way The Message put Galatians 5:22: “What happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard.”

Scazzero goes on to say, “I believe, however, that the walls we hit in our journey with God are gifts from him. It is not God’s intention that we join the ranks of church leavers. He is changing and broadening our understanding of what it means to be a Christ follower in the 21st-century — in ways far more radical than we ever dreamed. Like with Abraham, he is taking us on a journey with many twists and strange turns in order that deep experience and life changes might take place in you and me through Jesus Christ.

“The sad reality is that most of us will not go forward until the pain of staying where we are is unbearable.”

We all can use growth and change, no matter how long we’ve been on the field. Amen? Amen. I look forward to growing and changing with you as we read this book together.

What stood out to you in this chapter? What surprised you about Peter’s story? What, sadly, was all too familiar? I’ll see you in the comments :)!

We will be giving THREE copies of this book away. Leave a comment at The Grove on Friday we’ll draw names … hopefully it’s yours (you can still enter if you have the book and give a copy to a friend.)


P.S. Next chapter 2-3 in Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero.

Disclosure : Amazon Affiliate links included in this post.  If you click through to Amazon, any purchase you make supports this site. 


  1. Beth Everett September 28, 2015

    Amy, I just got a kindle copy yesterday and I am already half way through and can hardly put it down! Such good stuff in there! I’m really looking forward to these next weeks of reading through these nuggets together as a community.
    As I look back over my life I resonate with this quote: “Pain has an amazing ability to open us to new truth and to get us moving” and the one you quote as well: “…most of us will not go forward until the pain of staying where we are in unbearable.”
    Scary good stuff.
    I think it is sad, but unfortunately too often true, that “the phrase ‘emotional aspects or areas of my humanity’ seemed to belong in a professional counselor’s vocabulary, not the church.” Maybe we can all start to make a small dent in that way of thinking as we move forward.
    Thanks to whomever recommended the book and for the work you will be putting into helping us work through it!

    1. Amy Young September 28, 2015

      I nodded my whole way through your comment! And one more thing I want to add … I love that the author is a man. These “emotions” aren’t just for women :). I’m glad too that we’re reading this!!

  2. Salem September 28, 2015

    I would SO love to win a copy of this book!! I’ve heard about for a while & would love to read it. I’m coming out of a season of working directly with survivors of trafficking & that can do a number on you! I want to learn to lead well from a place of overflow not from need or guilt!!

    1. Amy Young September 28, 2015

      Wow — what a great way to say it, “I’d like to lead well from a place of overflow not from need or guilt.” I hope you win one!!

  3. Keri September 28, 2015

    Dear Book Club,

    When I purchased this book for the discussions at VA, I was unable to connect Peter and Geri.  I had read her book “I Quit” and attended a retreat with her as the speaker for wives of leaders in fellowships about 4 years ago.  It was great to hear his deeper perspective on what was happening for him, his family, and his fellowship.  I look forward to reading the next chapter.


    1. Amy Young September 28, 2015

      Keri, I’d love to hear more about this — what was the event with Geri like? :)? I’m ever curious!!! Amy 🙂

  4. Keri September 28, 2015

    Ahh!  I tried to make the picture very small and yet when I uploaded it, the picture took over.  Please help me delete the photo…

  5. M'Lynn September 29, 2015

    Amy, One of my favorite things about you is your excitement! This book has been pretty exciting for me as well, and I also find it coming up in my conversations. In Chapter 1, I underlined his translation of Matt 11:30 “I have crafted a life for you, a yoke for you to wear that perfectly fits who you are. It is light and easy, I promise.” It’s been refreshing to think through and muddle over my own questions that come from my reading…who am I? who did he create me to be? and…am I currently embracing or rejecting who he created me to be? Good stuff!!!

  6. Meredith September 29, 2015

    I’m raising two kids under two in a foreign country and serving alongside my husband in full time ministry. Most days I wonder if living emotionally healthy spiritually is even an attainable reality. Looking forward to reading more!

    1. Ellie September 29, 2015

      Ha, Meredith, you made me laugh (in a good way!) “most days I wonder if living emotionally healthy spiritually is even an attainable reality.” Yep! Right there with you, although I think I might be gradually creeping up the slope to thinking it’s possible even if I can see it on a hill in the distance! 😉 Bless you. Self-patience and discernment to you in your list of all the things.

  7. Ellie September 29, 2015

    Ah, and Amy, I’d like to read the book and I’m pretty sure I won’t get round to ordering one by Friday! So if you put me on the list and I win one I’ll be more likely to read it with you! 😉

  8. Felicity Congdon September 29, 2015

    Saw the quote on Instagram tonight and thought to myself where have I read that recently…then I realized I read it for this book club a couple days ago. It’s been a long day and I just wanted to say thank you all for faithfully reading and posting. I feel like a mad woman today and am going. To bed early rather than spending the next hour writing what I planned to write in response here. Maybe I’ll find time later in the week or maybe I’ll see y’all next week!

  9. Melissa September 29, 2015

    “Have you ever felt “this is NOT working” in your life on the field? Or had others say to you that how you’re living is not working for them?”

    Yes and yes. I think I need to read this book. I’d love to win a copy!

  10. Amber September 29, 2015

    This book sounds amazing.

  11. Mel September 29, 2015

    Reading this type of book scares me, I confess! I know it will probably be good for me… like a job interview… or the dentist… but if I don’t read it alone, maybe it will be ok.

  12. Rachel September 29, 2015

    I’m new to this group and am interested in joining the Book Club. Thank you SO much to everyone who puts time and energy into managing and contributing to VelvetAshes. It has been such an encouragement to me even in the short time I’ve been following.

    I was wondering if someone could update the main page of the Book Club. I think it shows the January 2015 book as the current book. Now that I’ve read this post, I know what book we are on! Is there any other way to know what books are coming up next so I can order/download them early?

    Thanks again to everyone who keeps this group running. I am excited to join you all on this journey.

  13. Kaylee September 29, 2015

    Definitely intrigued. . .especially after reading all of the comments! 🙂 I would love to win a copy.

    1. Kaylee September 29, 2015

      And I realize now that this was on the MTI recommended reading table. . .but not one I grabbed so definitely interested! 😉

  14. Catherine Fitzgerald September 29, 2015

    I’d love to win a copy of this book!  Just landed in my new country 2 months ago and I’m feeling all the emotions now…

  15. Davita September 30, 2015

    When I saw that this was the book for the fall I almost laughed out loud (I was at work so I restrained myself). Seriously, the day before both my pastor and my mentor recommended this book; separately, without conferring with each other. My pastor even loaned me his copy.

    I was thinking God had something for me with this book when two hours after my pastor loaned the book to me, my mentor suggested we go through the book together. And then the next day I see this is Velvet Ashes fall book and I wanted to laugh and cry. I may be dense but I think God wants me to read this book. 😉 I look forward to seeing the discussions on this book in the book club and going through this with my mentor.

    I’ve read 3 chapters already and am almost overwhelmed with the challenges as, already, I see the need for a lot more healing that only Christ can do.

    Looking forward to it. 🙂

  16. Monica F October 1, 2015

    I would LOVE to win a copy of this book and read it with my husband….and thanks for this post.  We just had a conversation last night with a friend who is a pastor and we were talking about ministry, expectations, all that good stuff, and I quoted some things from your blog!  Great timing!

  17. Becky October 2, 2015

    For a while now I’ve been thinking about how to walk through some emotional healing with Jesus and really fully heal in areas of my life, I have to admit I need more patience with myself, recently I’ve much preferred the microwave over the slow cooker of process.. and it leaves me running ahead of the Lords process, only to be reminded again to go into His process.

    I’m excited to go through this book as I work through some emotional healing in my life, being real and authentic without a facade as talked about in the other blogs.

    The part where the author mentions 2 Corinthians 5:17 was pinpointed a subject I’ve been pondering over. The verse mentions old things passing away, the author actually notes our need to actually lay them to rest. After reading this it just confirms that I can’t just cover everything up with faith in me being a new creation, but I must get to the roots and truely let those things pass away.

  18. Rankin October 4, 2015

    He says,  “Ignoring any aspect of who we are as men and women made in God’s image always results in destructive consequences.”  Growing up, I was taught that my emotions were wrong in so many ways. I was taught that strong feelings got in the way and needed to be stuffed. I can relate to what Scazzero writes when he talks about how he thought if only he could just pray more, or read more then it would be okay.  Don’t we just wish healing was that easy?   It is only in the past few years that I have begun to start to realize how to integrate emotional health into my social, intellectual, physical, and spiritual health.  I have read this book before, but I look forward to reading it again as it has so much to offer!

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.