"Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” The second son he named Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

emotional baggageTrue emotional health frees us from our past to live joyfully in the present. For many of us, this joy is hindered by ‘emotional’ baggage. Emotional baggage is a metaphor of holding a volatile mix of negative and unprocessed emotions that we've acquired throughout the years in battered old baggage. These feelings comes from people, places, behaviors and experiences from our past that still have a negative impact our present. It impacts how we deal with life situations and relationships. In our childhood, we start to carry an emotional Fannie pack. As we enter adulthood it becomes extra-large suitcases and difficult to carry.

Pastor Pete has counseled hundreds of people in his ministry. From a spiritual perspective, this emotional baggage morphs into something bigger and heavier because deeply entrenched parts of our past has not been touched by the power and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ. Instead of forgiveness, peace and acceptance, we have baggage bursting with anger, restlessness and regret. Jane, for example, is a member of a Sunday school class. She was abused sexually by an uncle as a teenager. Today, twenty-five years later, whenever an authority figure gives Jane suggestions or constructive criticism, she gets defensive and withdraws. She is unaware of how unexamined past chains her to unloving, disrespectful ways of relating in the present.

iceberg"For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord, because they have called you an outcast: ‘It is Zion, for whom no one cares!'"

Luke 4:18,19 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

 If you happen to come across an iceberg, only 10% of its form is visible to the naked eye. The 90% is deeply hidden in the dark icy waters. In Pete Scazzero’s book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, he uses an iceberg as a metaphor for daily life. This fact also applies Christians and non-Christians. The 10 percent represents our visible public persona. We try to represent ourselves as nice, friendly and respectful people.  For Christians, we want others to see us as morally good people who attend church and participate regularly. For many of us, the 90% remains hidden and untouched by Christ. It consists of our private pains, wounds and many other unprocessed emotional issues.  We try to ignore or hide it, but it will eventually impact the surface of our lives. This was the experience of Pastor Scazzero.

1995 was the turning point of my life. I had just graduated from college. I moved back into my mom’s house in the calm and peaceful quiet country area of Indiana. I had been a Christian for about a couple of years now. I enjoyed the church I attended in college because they helped me to study God’s word. But now, I had no exposure to Bible study or really to no church at all. I had no job, though I had been looking for one in the area. Two weeks into my “furlough”, I received a call from my college Bible teacher. She asked if I would like to move to Chicago where I could study and grow more in God’s word. The climax of my life had come. Would I trust in the world, in the things that I really wanted for myself – like living in the country? Or would I put all my trust in God and go to a huge city that I knew nothing about?