I Stand Corrected: Emotional Well-Being Isn’t the Goal. Intimacy with Jesus is the Goal.

This summer, I’m speaking on emotional maturity and well-being in leaders. I’ve accumulated over ten years worth of research in therapeutic settings on how people can achieve well-being and happiness.

But something doesn’t seem right as I talk about boundaries, creativity, toxic relationships, balance, and all the other tricks one learns to protect oneself from anything distressing or negative.

I’ve gone too far. I realize how much I miss out on in the name of “emotional well-being.” I realize what I won’t allow, what I resist from God, where I won’t go, and what I won’t do in the name of my own emotional health. It’s too self-protective. It’s too self-exulting.

It’s an idol, really. At least for me it is. Emotional health trumps everything these days, and it feels wrong.

It’s good–in moderation–to apply boundaries and techniques for balanced, happy living, but when it comes right down to it, that’s not the primary goal of my life.

The primary goal of my life is to know and love God. It’s to learn the secret of being content in every situation–which, I’m ashamed to admit, isn’t the happiness philosophy of the day. The secret is that we can “do all things though Christ who strengthens [us].”

If God leads us to distressing places, we don’t resist to protect our emotional health. If God leads us to a hard-to-love person or a difficult circumstance, we don’t shy away in the name of our own need for comfort.

If God leads us to sorrow, a lack of balance, depression, anxiety, or pain, the first question isn’t, “How do I get back my emotional health?” The first question is, “How can I be with Jesus in this? How can I find the strength of God here?”

I have so much more to learn.

Do you think we’ve gone to far to protect our emotional health?

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  1. I agree with you that we miss out on far too many opportunities because we are protection “emotional health.” Rubbish. Roll your sleeves up and get into the battle! Let God give you the strength