I have had a number of conversations recently about emotional health in life and ministry. Some have argued that boundaries are necessarily for health and sustainability in ministry, while others have suggested that faithfulness calls for sacrifice. As I am currently in a rather demanding season of life wrestling through these issues, I was looking forward to reading Geri Scazzero’s I Quit!: Stop Pretending Everything is Fine and Change Your Life (Zondervan, 2010).
While the book is written from Geri’s perspective, it is co-written with her husband, Peter (co-author of The Emotionally Healthy Church). The book offers eight areas one might need to quit in order to pursue a healthy sense of balance emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, and vocationally:
- Quit Being Afraid of What Others Think
- Quit Lying
- Quit Dying to the Wrong Things
- Quit Denying Anger, Sadness, and Fear
- Quit Blaming
- Quit Overfunctioning
- Quit Faulty Thinking
- Quit Living Someone Else’s Life
In these areas, Scazzero uses personal and biblical examples to show how ‘quitting’ in these areas offered release and freedom from the overbearing and unhealthy demands on her life as a wife, mother, pastor, and leader.
Scazzero does not shy away from her conviction that personal boundaries are healthy, necessary, and too often neglected for fear of not being seen as a “good Christian.” This is a highly personal book and, at times, felt too personal as the author aired frustrations with marriage and family life throughout the book. Some of the examples and corresponding solutions felt a bit extreme, causing me, as a reader, to question whether my more moderate situation actually required the drastic changes encouraged in the book. While the book helpfully examines the common tendency to do too much, I wish there had been a more explicit focus on ‘being’ as an alternative to ‘doing.’
I Quit! provides a helpful and encouraging call to examine one’s life. The book asks good questions and demands personal reflection yet may offer an overly myopic focus on boundaries and ‘saying no.’ As such, it may need to be read alongside a more balanced and positive vision for healthy spirituality in order to truly start living an ’emotionally health life.’
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher.