Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139: 23-24 NIV
Difficult Seasons in Life
The bible records a very difficult season in King David's life from 2 Samuel 11-20. It's almost as if God's presence and voice are absent from these pages. Cracks developed in David's foundation. His spiritual and emotional life crumbled beneath the weight of poor choices and sin. David's later years were fraught with disappointment, family disaster and leadership failures. Alas, David was human. I am thankful to God the details of my difficult seasons are not recorded for others to interpret for all eternity. I believe God included the down and dirty details because he intends for us to learn important life lessons from this Shepherd Boy-Musician-Warrior-Superstar-King.
Difficult seasons can be prime time for us to take a time out and assess what is really going on in our lives. Mistakes can happen. People fail. Family and friends will act in ungodly ways. Our response to these normal human frailties reveals a lot about us and our belief about God. How spiritually healthy are we, really?
Consider the Top Ten Symptoms of emotionally UNHEALTHY spirituality:
1. Using God to run from God: I create God activity and ignore difficult areas God wants to change.
2. Ignoring the ungodly emotions of anger, sadness and fear: I was taught emotions lead to instability and are not to be trusted.
3. Dying to the wrong things: I am to die to defensiveness, arrogance, stubbornness, and judgmentalism not pleasure, joy, laughter, recreation and nature.
4. Denying the past's impact on the present: sanctification demands we go back in order to free ourselves from unhealthy and destructive patterns that prevent us from moving forward.
5. Dividing our lives into 'secular' and 'sacred' compartments: I separate my weekday life from my Sunday life. Jesus has little or no impact in my daily decisions at work or in my marriage.
6. Doing for God instead of being with God: I base my spiritual life on what I produce for God instead of who I am to God.
7. Spiritualizing away conflict: I hate conflict and move quickly to smooth it over but become resentful when there is no change.
8. Covering over brokenness, weakness and failure: I feel pressure to present myself as "having it all together." I could never be vulnerable with others.
9. Living without limits: I routinely add more to my life without subtracting anything. I can handle it all myself.
10. Judging other people's spiritual journey: I was taught it was my responsibility to correct others in error or sin. I secretly feel that I am more spiritually mature than others.
Be honest. Are you living the spiritual life you always dreamed about? Or is there something unhealthy about the way things are?
David was in a very unhealthy place during his later years. I believe he'd want us to learn from his mistakes. I think if he could write this blog, he'd say, "Connect with God daily. Stay humble. Don't let your life get so busy that the next generation pays the price for your arrogance."
I invite you to take the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Course I am leading this fall. Orientation begins Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at 6:45 p.m. Click here to register.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Psalm 51:10-12 NIV