My personal challenge is how to relate to people in love. The Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Course by Peter Scazzero has helped me deal with my past and allow me to grow up and mature. Now this book takes me to the next part of my journey where I can learn the skills needed to have healthy relationships.
This blog is not to cover the whole course but to look at the ideas behind the book and give an overview of the first chapter. Peter and Geri Scazzero give a framework on how to communicate in a healthy way and in love.
When we become a Christian we are called by God to grow towards spirituality that enables us to love well. To love well we need to connect with others including God, ourselves and with other people. We learn to love well when we practice the presence of God and also the presence of others. When we read the book of Corinthians, we read that the Corinthian Church did not get this. They did not operate out of love and so 1 Corinthians 13 is one of the most powerful chapters that teach about love. In Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus summarised the Bible by saying "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your would and with all your mind." This is the most important commandment. The second is to "Love your neighbour as yourself". All the Laws and Prophets hand on these two commandments. So simply, true spirituality is about loving God and others.
A short video of what the course is all about.
The course covers eight emotionally healthy skills:-
The Community Temperature Reading (CTR)
Stop Mind Reading and Clarify Expectations
Genogram Your Family
Explore the Iceberg
Listen Incarnationally (Or Incarnational Listening)
Climb the ladder of Integrity
Fight Cleanly (or Clean Fighting)
Develop a "Rule of Life" to Implement Emotionally Healthy Skills.
Chapter 1: The Community Temperature Reading (CTR)
When we become part of the new family of Jesus, our relationships flow from love. We move from brokenness (Genesis 3) to wholeness (Genesis 1 & 2). The diagram below shows how our nature changes as we allow Christ to grow us in Him.
The idea of having a Community Temperature Reading is to discover and express your God-given voice and to build healthy relationships with others. Very simply, it is about briefly sharing to someone else.
The Five Catagories
1. Appreciation - Appreciation for the person is very rarely expressed. This is so important when communicating with others. eg: I appreciate that you rang last night to see how I was going. I felt loved.
2. Puzzles - These are used when we do not want to make negative assumptions about people, especially when we do not have all the information. It allows us not to jump to conclusions but to slow down and ask questions instead of making a judgement. eg: I am puzzled that you did not ring me back when I rang last night.
3. Complaints with Possible Solutions - It is normal to have a relationship where there are things we do not like. This process allows us to express our complaints and deal with small irritating and annoyances that arise each day in a constructive way. Giving a solution ensures the person with the complaint is also responsible for the solution. eg: I noticed that our meetings start late and I prefer that we start on time.
4. New Information - This includes events, appointments and solutions, achievements, opportunities or activities. We grow in relationships when the people in our lives know what is happening in our lives and we know what is happening in their life. eg: I am looking at ways to get fitter.
5. Hopes and Wishes - this opens a window into our unique would and reveals a significant part of who we are. This enriches our relationships. eg: I am hoping we can get away on the weekend for a break.
Peter Scazzero presents each chapter with his wife. I encourage you to listen to the first chapter which can be found by clicking HERE. (Essential viewing!)
Finally, when we try to love in our own strength, we discover we cannot. We naturally fall back to unhealthy ways of relating, especially under stress. We need Jesus' love to flow into us if it is to flow out of us.
I encourage you to seek God to complete the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Course or this Emotionally Healthy Relationships Course. If you do, the 40-day devotional book is an essential part of the course.