There is no spiritual growth without emotional growth.
Does that seem like an overstatement? Perhaps it’s taking things too far, but the more I think about this, the more it seems accurate.
I have known people that on the outside seemed to have been pursuing spiritual growth for years, decades even. Yet they aren’t more peaceful. They aren’t better at managing their relationships. They participate in religious activities, even spiritual disciplines. Some of them have for years. Things like being part of a community of faith, attending worship services, reading the Bible, praying, perhaps giving to the poor. These are the kinds of things that we often assume a good Christian or spiritual person would do. And yet, these disciplines often seem to fail to bring about real and deep life change.
As I’ve reflected on my own pastoral experiences, and the piles of material I’ve been reading in preparation for the book I’m writing, I’ve come more and more to think that this gap between expected and real growth isn’t about the spiritual disciplines at all. I suspect it is because these people do not consider emotional growth to be a necessary part of growing spiritually. It just isn’t on the radar.