Holiness is the destination, but it doesn’t occur through efforts at seeking perfection.
Holiness should not lead to exhaustion, but we get exhausted when we give free reign to our “inner critic.” Holiness involves removing obstacles to union with God. Finally, in the process of awakening to wholeness, we must learn to understand “our whole story." That is, it is essential that we understand ourselves in light of God's presence and purpose.
While we all seem to want to pursue self-improvement, he suggests we abandon the quest as a fool’s errand.
From this poetic awakening, De Groat moves on to address the question of holiness.
Part of that is my own failure to set boundaries and say no when necessary.
But again, I doubt that I’m all that different from many others, including members of my own congregation. Some would say, get some rest, but is that possible and is that the solution?
In the final chapter of part one, De Groat invites to use our brains. It is appropriate to note here that I’m not the most poetically attentive persons in the world.
That is, he addresses the question of neurobiology. Like many I’ve had conversations about being right or left brained, but the way we’ve been talking about brains might be a little off. Thus, he suggests that we seek to live a “whole-brained life.” Too often let the "reptile" brain, the oldest part of the brain dominates, but to find wholeness we’ll need to engage the neocortex, which is the most developed part of the brain. Because it’s not reactive like the reptile brain, but allows us “to love with a self-giving love, to discern our unique vocational inclinations, to write a poem, to envision a way to attain peace in the Middle East.” This part of the brain, which allows us to move toward wholeheartedness, apparently, isn’t accessed near as often as needed! Part two is titled "Awakening to Wholeness." In this section he seeks to point us toward models of wholeness, so we can move in that direction. Nonetheless the point is moving in a more contemplative manner so we can awaken to the realities of our lives, thus find ways of breaking free of our dividedness.
The result is that we fail to thrive, and because to thrive we fail to flourish.
That is important because we all struggle with our divided selves! Thus, I recommend Chuck De Groat's Wholeheartedness highly!
Rodney James Alcala (born Rodrigo Jacques Alcala Buquor; August 23, 1943) is an American convicted rapist and serial killer.
De Groat is a therapist and professor of pastoral care at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan.
He is the author of another book that I had the pleasure of reviewing: Toughest People to Love: How to Understand, Lead, and Love the Difficult People in Your Life -- Including Yourself, (Eerdmans, 2014).