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10 Symptoms of Emotionally Unhealthy Spirituality

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Wouldn’t it be incredibly sad to have a booming, Jesus-exalting community and world transforming church, and yet be emotionally unhealthy and miserable?

Since the launch of Transformation Church on February 7, 2010, Jesus has blessed us in amazing ways.

  • Our staff has grown from 3 to 27.
  • Over 1,200 people have come to faith.
  • Hundreds of people are in Transformation Groups and being discipled.
  • We’ve adopted 3 public schools.
  • We’ve outgrown our current facility — twice — and we’re looking at other facility opportunities to keep up with our growth.
  • Nearly 1,000 people are being developed and discipled as they serve on TC ministry teams.

In the midst of this exceptional growth, it’s easy to “focus on the ministry” instead of “focusing on Jesus’ ministry in and to me.”

When we” focus on the ministry” at the exclusion of “focusing on Jesus’ ministry in and to us,” we become emotionally unhealthy.  The work we do for God begins to kill the work He does in us.

Veteran pastor, Dr. Pete Scazzero, in his excellent book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, wrote about the top 10 symptoms of emotionally healthy spirituality:

USING GOD TO RUN AWAY FROM GOD

  • “When I do God’s work to satisfy me, not Him.” pg. 25
  • “When I exaggerate my accomplishments for God to subtly compete with other pastors or churches.” pg. 25 (I see this on Twitter all the time and have done it myself.)
  • “When I hide behind God talk, deflecting any spotlight on my inner cracks and becoming defensive about my failures.” pg. 25

IGNORING THE EMOTIONS OF ANGER, SADNESS, AND FEAR

  • Our feelings follow our thoughts. Why are we thinking in such a way that results in feelings of resentment, inadequacy, anger, and depression?
  • If we don’t allow Jesus to deal with these negative emotions, these negative emotions will deal with us and those we lead.

 DYING TO THE WRONG THINGS

  • Pastor, what do you enjoy outside of ministry?
  • Pastor, are you having fun in life?
  • Do you enjoy your marriage and family?
  • Do you have friends?

DENYING THE PAST’S IMPACT ON THE PRESENT

  • When we receive Jesus, we are regenerated, justified, redeemed, glorified, forever forgiven, and baptized by the Spirit into the Body of Christ.
  • But this doesn’t mean that our past and origin of family won’t continue to influence us.
  • Growing in grace is the ability to let Jesus’ past accomplishments to influence us.

DIVIDING OUR LIVES INTO “SECULAR” AND “SACRED” COMPARTMENTS

  • “Church members divorce their spouses as often as their secular neighbors.” pg. 30
  • “Church members giving patterns indicate they are almost as materialistic as non-Christians.” pg. 30

DOING FOR GOD INSTEAD OF BEING WITH GOD

  • Ministry that is not rooted in God’s unconditional love and grace and His acceptance of us based on Jesus alone, will be polluted by ego trips and approval addiction from others.
  • Our supreme joy must be Jesus.  The overflow of enjoying Jesus is ministry.

 SPIRITUALIZING AWAY CONFLICT

  • “Say one thing to people’s face and then another behind their backs.” pg. 33
  • “Make promises we have no intention of keeping.” pg. 33
  • “Blame, attack, and give people the silent treatment.” pg. 33
  • “Tell only half the truth because we can’t bear to hurt a person’s feelings.” pg. 33
  • “Avoid and withdraw and cut people off.” pg. 33
  • “People please out of fear of not being liked.” 33

COVERING OVER BROKENNESS, WEAKNESS, AND FAILURE

  • Out of the fear of, “If people really knew me, they would reject me.”  Therefore, we hide our sin instead of being honest about sin. And we can’t be honest people if we aren’t  rooted in Jesus’ unconditional love.  Grace is amazing.

 

LIVING WITHOUT BOUNDARIES

  • “Jesus did not heal every sick person in Palestine.  He did not raise every dead person.  He did not feed all the hungry beggars or set up job development centers for the poor of Jerusalem.” pg. 35.
  • Boundaries are healthy.  There is only one Messiah, and He is not me or you.

JUDGING OTHER PEOPLE’S SPIRITUAL JOURNEY

  • We must never forget the grace that Jesus gave us.  If we do, we won’t extend grace to others.  Condemnation never made anyone fall in love with Jesus.

As a leader, I want to not only be theological and philosophically sharp; I want to be emotionally mature and healthy.  If I’m healthy, Transformation Church will be healthy.

Marinate on this,

Pastor Derwin

 

 

4 Responses to "10 Symptoms of Emotionally Unhealthy Spirituality"
  • Ajulo I P November 16, 2012

    These points are real as stated

  • Weekly Meanderings November 17, 2012

    [...] Derwin Gray, pastor and author, sketches some themes about spiritual lack of health. And Jeremy Affeldt discusses fellowship across the spectrum: “If we want to unify the church, we don’t have to look further than Jesus. Jesus is our perfect model. He hung out with everybody. Obviously He hung out with sinners. And think about who the disciples were. They were the outcasts. They were the ones that were cast out by the rabbis. They were the ones that didn’t make the cut, so to speak. The B team. And they were Jesus’ companions. But in addition to sinners and outcasts, Jesus hung out with the people who had status. He must have had enough pull that He could stand up in the Temple and preach, and people would listen to Him. He even hung out with the Pharisees, and He clearly had powerful disagreements with them! He didn’t necessarily say nice things to them, but He had dinner with them. He was okay with hanging out, and with talking. “I’ll go to your house to have dinner,” He said. “I’ll challenge your reasoning and your beliefs.” [Two professional athletes with a blog!] [...]

  • Chua Bian Hin November 17, 2012

    Those things you share are really great. I’ve very similar purpose as your ministry but I’m just starting it. May God continue to bless your church and ministry so that people would be transformed to be more like Jesus. God bless.

  • [...] Derwin L. Gray, former linebacker, shares 10 symptoms of emotionally unhealthy spirituality. [...]

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