by Shantel Daniels
Early on in ministry, I wasn’t made aware of the importance that emotional development had to my life of faith. I was taught hermeneutics and exegesis, and how to help others make sense of their spiritual dilemmas. Little did I know I was also bringing an emotional life -and a way of being- to that ministry experience. And so were others- struggling to gain strength. Psychology and faith were on different sides of the fence, and integration of the two was next to impossible.
Being naturally curious about how people connected with each other and to God, I ventured first into the study of theology, and later down the path of understanding my own style of attachment, shaping my relationship to God, others, and myself. I searched for answers to help me break through my own limitations. For what I learned through theology was only part of the story.
Among people of faith, I noticed that we weren’t content with the level of enrichment our lives were yielding. I recall people telling me that they just couldn’t figure out how to apply faith to their lives and make sense of what was happening to them. ‘Wasn’t worship and the Word alone supposed to make every part of me better?’ I knew at the time I didn’t have all the answers, and continued on my path toward faith, later launching into becoming more versed in things relating to emotional development. I knew I had found a way of explaining why my challenge to access emotional resolve continued to stall my faith and emotional life. It was not to choose one over the other; the answer resided in addressing them both. Since doing so, I am more alive and secure than ever, and have maintained good balance, ready for each opportunity before me to thoughtfully and wholeheartedly help others to the same.
Shantel Daniels is anEmotionally Focused Couples Therapist (LMFT #105374), also specializing in the integration of faith and emotional wellness as well as facilitate groups. She practices at 230 N. Maryland, Glendale, California, 91206