Top Ten Symptoms of Emotionally Un-Healthy Spirituality

by Pete Scazzero, from the book, "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality"

1. Using God to Run from God

Getting busy with a lot of "God-activity in order to avoid difficult areas in my life God wants to change."

2. Ignoring Anger, Sadness, and Fear

"To the degree that we are unable to express our emotions, we remain impaired in our ability to love God, others, and ourselves well."

3. Dying to the Wrong Things

"We are to die to the sinful parts of who we are...[but] we are not called by God to die to the 'good' parts of who we are... God never asks us to annihilate the self. We are not to become 'non-persons' when we become Christians. The opposite is true. God intends our deeper, truer self, which He created, to blossom as we follow with Him."

4. Denying the Impact of the Past on the Present

"The work of growing in Christ does not mean we don't go back to the past as we press ahead to what God has for us. It actually demand we go back in order to break free from unhealthy and destructive patterns that prevent us from loving ourselves and others as God designed."

5. Dividing Life into "Secular" and "Sacred" Compartments

"It is so easy to compartmentalize God, relegating Him to 'Christian activities' around church and our spiritual disciplines without thinking of him as we navigate [most of life]."

6. Doing for God instead of being with God

"Work for God that is NOT nourished by a deep interior life with God will eventually be contaminated by other things... Our activity for God can only properly flow from a life with God. Doing for God in a way that is proportionate to our being with God is the only pathway to a pure heart and seeing God (Matthew 5:8)."

7. Spiritualizing Away Conflict

"Jesus shows us that healthy Christians do not avoid conflict. His life was filled with it!... Out of a desire to bring true peace, Jesus disrupted the false peace all around Him. He refused to spiritualize conflict avoidance."

8. Covering Over Brokenness, Weakness, and Failure

"The pressure to present an image of ourselves as strong and spiritually 'together' hovers over most of us. We feel guilty for not making the grade... [but ] the Bible does not spin the flaws and weaknesses of its heroes... We are all deeply flawed and broken, There are no exceptions."

9. Living Without Limits

"The core spiritual issue here related to our limits and our humanity. We are not God. We cannot serve everyone in need. We are human... Few Christians make the connection between love of self [taking care of themselves] and love of others..."

10. Judging Other People's Spiritual Journey

"...Many of us have no trouble at all dispensing advice or pointing out wrongdoing. We spend so much time at it that we end up self-deceived, thinking we have much to give and therefore little to receive from others. After all, we're the ones who are right, aren't we? This often leads to an inability to receive from ordinary, less mature people than ourselves. We only receive from experts or professionals... Sadly, we often turn our differences into moral superiority or virtues... Like Jesus said, unless I first take the log out of my own eye, knowing I have huge blind spots, I am dangerous. I must see the extensive damage sin has done to every part of who I am—emotion, intellect, body, will, and spirit—before I can attempt to remove the speck from the eye of another (Matthew 7:1-5)."