Today we’re discussion Chapter 4 in Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero: Know Yourself That You May Know God. This chapter title encapsulates why I love this book. We embrace our humanity and seek to understand ourselves. But the ultimate goal is through knowing ourselves we can know God.
The theme (and power) of knowing ourselves has come up before. For instance, when we know if we are a pre- or post-griever and that our spouse, child, teammate, or parent is a different style, we can process and understand what’s going on. Or at least we can understand it a little bit better, right?
Scazzero wrote that “feelings are the beginning of the revolution” and that many Christians have been taught some version of “feelings are bad.” It’s helpful to read the research he referenced about the eight many groups of feelings: anger, sadness, fear, enjoyment, love, surprise, disgust, and shame.
“It never entered my mind that God might be speaking to me in the ‘feeling’ realm in a way that did not compromise his truth. How could I listen to my desires, dreams, and dislikes? Wouldn’t they potentially take me the way of rebellion, away from God?”
I have a feeling (ha!) many of you/us were taught some variation of this as well. Can you remember how you got this message? Was it overtly said? Or something you just “knew?” Where do you land on it now? I appreciated all the scripture he shared, showing God’s wide range of feelings and that we all feel, even if we’re not aware of it.
What did you think of “The Great Temptations Toward a False Self?” A little convicting, eh?
Temptation one: I am what I do (Performance). Wow, this one hits close to home, doesn’t it? We’ve talked about the “hero” mentality when it comes to this calling and how others like to keep us up on a pedestal. But our true selves are not about what we do, or where we do it.
Temptation two: I am what I have (Possessions). Well, now I feel a little better. Or do I? I was able to keep a car in the U.S. for about the first–oh my word, don’t judge me, okay? Please?–thirteen years I was on the field. When it came time for Margo (my car) to move on, it about undid me. That car meant so much more to me than people might think. First of all, she linked me to my pre-field self and knew more of my story than all the people in my life who had “only” met me on the field. Also, as I aged and most of my friends got married, had kids, and bought houses, was it too much to ask that I have one measly car?! Could I not have one thing I could point to as being mine? Something others recognized as “adult behavior” and that I was a real adult?! Okay, so, this one might have hit a nerve I didn’t think was there. Let’s look at …
Temptation three: I am what others think (Popularity). When all you have in this whole world is one old car, what others think can grow and grow. If I’m thought of as spiritual, good at living overseas, fun, well-balanced, deep, helpful … well, then, I haven’t forsaken worldly possessions for naught? Have I? Have I?!
This, dear ones, is why we need to read this book and discuss it. These temptations are real, aren’t they? What people think of our language ability or parenting or scripture memory or whatever. These are not bad things. No, they are wonderful, but they are not the source of our identities.
To know our “authentic self” Scazzero had four suggestions:
- Pay attention to your interior ion silence and solitude.
- Find trusted companions.
- Move out of your comfort zone.
- Pray for courage.
This was a rich chapter and I can’t wait to hear what stood out to you, what was stirred in you, and what you’d like to discuss. See you in the comments :).
P.S. Next week is chapter 5 in Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero.
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