This book continues to rock my world each day as I read a new chapter. I am glad that I am only reading a chapter at a time and reflecting on it because there is so much in each chapter. Today I read “The Radical Antidote: Emotional Health and Contemplative Spirituality.” This chapter focussed on the link between emotional health and contemplative spirituality in our lives. Here is a brief definition of Scazzero’s use of these terms. Emotional health is concerned with such things as: naming, recognizing, and managing our own feelings; breaking free from self-destructive patterns; being aware of how our past impacts our present; and learning the capacity to resolve conflicts maturely and negotiate solutions that consider the perspectives of others. Contemplative spirituality focuses on classic practices and concerns such as: awakening and surrendering to God’s love in any and every situation; positioning ourselves to hear God and remember His presence in all we do; resting attentively in the presence of God; and living in committed community that passionately loves Jesus above else (pg. 45-46).
- The gift of slowing down: Here Scazzero talks about slowing down our lives so that we can pay attention to God. He talks about the balance between being with God and activity. This is an area that I have been working on big time since I have come back from my medical leave and I am enjoying it immensely. I am finding that the more that I slow down, the more strength and passion I have to do what God is calling me to do.
- The gift of anchoring in God’s love: Here Scazzero talks about experiencing God’s infinite love in our hearts and not just intellectually. I can relate to this one so well. I have preached and taught on God’s love for 12 years now but it is has only been in the last while that I have accepted God’s infinite love for me in my heart and not just intellectually (I may post more on this one at a later time).
- The gift of breaking free from illusions: Here Scazzero talks about how contemplative spirituality and emotional health give us perspective on the limits of all earthly pleasures, relationships and accomplishments. We need to break free from the illusions and pretence of our world. This is something that God is slowly beginning to do in my life. I am beginning to break free by: acknowledging my brokenness and vulnerability; freeing myself from the need to attach myself to accomplishments, things or people’s approval to feel okay about myself; and slowly removing selfish desires that consistently move me away from God to do my own will, not His.
Scazzero end this chapter with this powerful prayer: “O Lord, slow me down that I might pay attention to you through this day, that I might meet you . . . It is safe to walk with you whether or not I feel like it today. You are a secure place. Anchor me to you today, O Lord, amidst the storms and trials going on around me now. Break me free from all thoughts and ideas about You that are not true. Unleash a spiritual revolution in my interior, Lord Jesus. Set me truly free, O lord, that I may be a gift to those around me. In Jesus’ name, amen (pg. 61-62).