Thursday, August 3, 2017

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero

At long last, someone has written a book about a truth I realized many years ago: one cannot be more spiritually mature than one is emotionally mature because our emotionally stuck places become our spiritually stuck places. Scazzero does a fine job describing the process by which we get stuck, and while he proposes processes to help us become unstuck, some of his proposals were too general. For example, the author outlined the effects of his childhood, which led him to overfunction, overperform, have cultural expectations for marriage and family, resolve conflict poorly, and not let himself feel. But in the crucial chapter about enlarging your soul through grief and loss, Scazzero often talked about what not to do but not what to do, saying that grief is often dealt with by being practical, freezing in time, becoming addicted, and denying and minimizing wounds. He advocated “dropping our defensive shields” and turning toward pain, with common defenses by paying attention, waiting in the confusing in-between, embracing the gift of limits and “climbing the ladder of honesty”, all of which strike me as being more cerebral than emotional. The author encouraged a couple of habits to help the reader become more aware of God’s presence, including keeping “the daily office” and the Sabbath. New skills proposed to overcome emotional immaturity include embracing conflict, speaking and listening well, and clarifying expectations. While I think this book provides a good start toward emotional maturity, I would not recommend it wholeheartedly because it was lacking, both in methods to work with oneself--by learning to recognize and admit truth--and others. It is vital to associate with emotionally mature adults in order to become one, and this was not emphasized. I received this book for free in exchange for my unbiased review through the Thomas Nelson BookSneeze Program.

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