Now here’s a funny thing. Recently, my spiritual director encouraged me to grow emotionally. She recommended Peter Scazzero’s Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, a book I had already read before, but obviously one I wasn’t mastering. So, my two companions in this threshold will be an over-the-top emotional dead French nun and an Italian evangelical pastor and teacher.
Sometimes new mentors may make you initially uncomfortable.
I pray that you will listen to the longings in your heart. What is it saying? Who will be your new mentors during this time? When your heart speaks, take good notes!
Building Relational Equity.
By nature we are selfish creatures. We live lives curved in on ourselves. In the unsettledness of threshold times we can resort to two age-old survival tactics: the walk-away and the power-play. We disengage from others, focusing on our needs and wants, or we dominate others, forcing our needs and wants on them. It is easy to excuse self- centered behavior on our need to be present to the moment. The kingdom of self is a heavily defended territory.
Think with me of the Christian husband who senses God leading “his” family to something new. He believes that to stop activity, suspend assumptions and reflect on motives is a failure of faith. So he moves into the future expecting the family to move into that space with him. They may be there physically but emotionally they are miles away. In subtle or overt ways they begin to sabotage one another. This is my story. When my husband was appointed International Director of Frontiers we had to move from Arizona to England. Our two teenage daughters grieved for years, turning that grief into anger at us, Frontiers and God. In a recent family counseling session he turned to our now two adult daughters and said, “If I had known the pain it would cost you I would never have become International Director.” Stunned by his humble and courageous confession, they began to cry. Healing is well under way.
What if back at that threshold moment when my husband was sensing new stirrings, he had friends who could have challenged him? Who could have asked him to think deeply about the timing of the move on his entire family? Two good friends and counselors to countless missionaries who knew us then told us later that if we had asked they would have discouraged a major move with teenagers.6
6 A good friend who brokers medical insurance for mission agencies told me that the increasing frequency of mental health issues among MKs is raising insurance premiums. The alternative to costly insurance payments is to forego mental health coverage.