Have you ever been in a place where you didn’t say anything but continued to serve or appease another person because it wasn’t worth the cost to address and share your true feelings? If so, it’s an indicator of being emotionally immature. Immaturity means, you continually avoid healthy conflict to keep peace and ignore and suppress your emotions to avoid conflict. Therefore, you lose your voice and your identity. If that’s you, then it’s time to learn the biblical principles to guide you into an experience of lasting, beneath-the-surface transformation in your relationship with others and God. He wants to “Restore to you the joy of your salvation, and make you willing to obey. Then you will teach His ways to rebels, and they will return to God,” Psalms 51:12-13.
Interestingly, our bodies know our feelings before our minds. Self-awareness is intricately related to our relationship with God. The challenge is to shed our old “false” self in order to live authentically in our new “true” self. Augustine wrote in Confessions, “How can you draw close to God when you are far from your own self?” Our goal is to know ourselves so that we may know God and fulfill our purpose.
Accept feelings and experience emotions:
The journey of genuine transformation to emotional healthy spirituality begins with a commitment to allow yourself to feel. Scripture reveals God as an emotional being who feels as a person. Having been created in his image, we also are created with the gift to feel and to experience emotions. Therefore, we must pay attention to our emotions. Too often our bodies know our feelings before our minds. Consider prayerfully the following. If there is emotion in regard to issues, such as: health, relationships, work, etc. Ask the Holy Spirit to walk you through each issue to gain back your voice and identity:
- What upsets you?
- What are you sad about?
- What are you fearful of?
- What makes you happy?
- Is it difficult to be your true self?
Going back to go forward:
These concerns can open the door to “emotional baggage”. Our goal is to walk in union with the Lord and to live joyfully in the present; however, it requires going back in order to go forward. We must recognize and break free from the destructive patterns of our past. If these issues are not confronted, just as a physical wall stops us from moving ahead, God sometimes stops us in our spiritual journey through a spiritual wall to radically transform our character and restore our identity and voice. Every follower of Jesus will at some point confront the wall. Failure to understand and surrender to God’s working in us at the wall often results in great long-term pain, ongoing immaturity, and confusion.*
A simple, clear “Rule of Life” is to love others and yourself. It will increase awareness of God’s presence throughout the entire day and give you grace when tempted to fall back. To love you and others is practicing, and integrating such skills as speaking respectfully, listening with empathy, negotiating fairly, and uncovering the hidden expectations we have of others and of ourselves. If we are to nurture a heart that treats every person with respect, we need to be intentional about our lives and grow spirituality with a thoughtful, purposeful plan. To develop this plan, follow these steps:
- No longer living out of a false self but developing a relationship with God and others.
- Use your voice to live out your identify by accepting changes, grow through them
- Trust God even when you don’t know the purpose now but choose to use every challenge as an opportunity to grow.*
- Embrace God’s plan and anchoring yourself in Him, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and all things will be added to you,” Matthew 6:33.
*Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Peter Scazzero.