I’ve been away for a month, resting, recharging, reflecting, and doing some soul work. Only one of those wasn’t fun. To help with the soul work on my sabbatical, I revisited Emotionally Healthy Spirituality with a pen in hand and a journal.
How I did it was skim a chapter, highlighting what stuck out. Then I’d paraphrase it in one color of ink.
Then I’d read the highlights, interacting with them in a different color ink. I would ask questions of the highlights, reflecting on how they applied, or take notes. This is where the soul work really happens, where inner darkness and issues are revealed.
Then if I needed to fix my paraphrase, I would use a different color ink.
A Soul Revealed
One of the things that was dug up was how I’m conflict-avoidant and still emotionally stunted. Emotions confuse me because I have a hard time knowing exactly what they are and why I feel them.
Then I learned how to develop my authentic self.
Part of it is the influence our families have on us. What were the unspoken rules that shaped you and their impact?
The next chapter covered the dark night of the soul. When we hit a wall and are stuck. I wrote out the dates from when I was in different stages, and reflecting on others I know, when they too hit a wall.
It explained a lot to me.
Walking through that dark valley is training and a better life is on the other side. A greater level of brokenness, a greater appreciation of mystery, a deeper ability to wait for God and easier to detach from things like I’m not in control and I will die. The world doesn’t revolve around me.
It makes you humble.
The next chapter covered how to grieve your losses and recognize your limits. The losses aren’t only people, but the endings in life. They also lead to greater humility.
In our modern life, we’re connected to the information superhighway and get ran over daily, seven days a week. Overbooked and overextended. The next chapter dealt with daily time alone with God, taking a day of rest, and effective vacations.
Personally, my time with God has been mostly with a thought towards later teaching what I’m looking at. Looking at old blog posts, I realized a lot of them came from my curiosity.
I was exploring the Bible and subjects out of curiosity, not duty or legalistic repetition. I have to go back to that.
Emotional maturity was next, along with how to relate to people. How to deal with conflict was also in there, learning how not to be conflict-avoidant and promoting a false peace, but a true peacemaker.
The final chapter was on how to craft a plan that keeps God at the center.
Then I started on the next book in the series. The Emotionally Healthy Leader. It syncs up well with this one and goes deeper in some areas.
The facing your shadow chapter wasn’t fun at all. The shadow is the damaged, but mostly
hidden, version of you. It ties into how your family and experiences shaped you. The plus is once you know your enemy, you can defeat them.
The next chapter was about how to lead out of your marriage, or singleness. It went by fairly quick since I only needed to read half of it. One paragraph was very awkward.
That’s as far as I got since I planned to do no intellectual heavy lifting when I left for vacation. Like Awkward Yeti’s brain and heart, I let the heart drive for once.
It’s been a fruitful time off. I’ll continue through the book, but I am back in my routine. It’s no coincidence though that Pastor Rod is preaching on the getting in the presence of God now. It’s added confirmation to slow down.
That our doing for God can only come from being with God.