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Five 5-Star Christian Books on Mental Health and Physical Disability

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When it comes to mental health issues, Christian responses are all over the board. That’s why I’ve been reading Christian books on depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. I want to hear a wide range of thoughts, but more importantly, I want to know which books to recommend on the topic. Out of my recent batch of a dozen books on the topic, I found five books worthy of a 5-star rating and worth reading if you have an interest in mental health from a Christian perspective.   Disability and the Gospel: How God Uses Our Brokenness to Display His Grace Michael S. Beates 2012 194 pages   Mental illness falls under a larger umbrella of physical illness and disability. Our theology for one ought to be the same for the other. I was absolutely delighted with the way Michael Beates went through the Bible discussing every instance of disability. It was astounding to read how many times God says...

Fresh Hope: Living Well in Spite of a Mental Health Diagnosis by Brad Hoefs (@bradhoefs)

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Fresh Hope by Dr. Michael Egger My rating: 5 of 5 stars When I was first diagnosed with a mental illness (bipolar disorder), I had an all or nothing approach that included Option A: a devastated life with mental illness, or Option B: complete and perfect healing by God. That was the only way I could think about it. And, in fact, I believe the church taught me to think about it in those terms. As I worked through the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of mental illness, I came to realize there was a better choice. I could accept mental illness and overcome it through diligence on my part and faith in God’s part until I reached a point of recovery, which is not the same as healing. Recovery means living with it, but overcoming it with God’s help. That’s what I liked most about Brad Hoefs’ book, Fresh Hope. He emphasized recovery as the goal and that goal gives us hope and...

Troubled Minds by Amy Simpson (@aresimpson)

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Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission by Amy Simpson My rating: 5 of 5 stars During Amy Simpson’s youth, her mother developed schizophrenia. She knows firsthand the traumas and difficulties of families with mental illness. That’s why she writes with such passion and compassion for others who struggle with mental health problems. In particular, she points out the many ways the church has failed people with mental health issues. In her book, Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission, Simpson addresses the practical and theological issues that feed misunderstanding about mental illness in church communities. But she doesn’t leave her message at “do better,” she goes on to share the success stories of churches who intentionally reach out to people through mental health ministries. She describes specific actions the church or individuals can take...

Bipolar Happens by Julie Fast (@JulieBipolar)

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Julie Fast’s book, Bipolar Happens: 35 Tips and Tricks to Manage Bipolar Disorder, is a quick read, but a thought-provoking one. She covers 35 problems people with bipolar face and describes not only her debilitating problems but her own tried and proven coping strategies. She covers everything from the fear of going to public events to bipolar spending sprees and more. For each problem area, she frequently offers a list of possible solutions. I had to pause to consider which problems I experience and which types of solutions could work for me. On one level there’s nothing earth shattering here. On another level, this small eBook does address a variety of concerns for people with bipolar disorder (and those who love them). One of the things I liked about her writing was her quirky and memorable analogies: The past is not a frog for you to dissect. Life is not a biology class....

The Entitlement Cure by John Townsend

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God is using The Entitlement Cure by John Townsend to change my life. I wouldn’t have thought of myself as “entitled”—a bit self-centered from being introverted, yes, but not “entitled.” According to the author, “Entitlement is the belief that I am exempt from responsibility and I am owed special treatment.”   Characteristics of Entitlement An attitude of being special. An attitude of being owed, of deserving something. A refusal to accept responsibility. A denial of one’s impact on others. As I read the first few chapters, I was uncomfortable with the content. I kept thinking about setting it aside to read later, but I also knew my discomfort was a sign I needed to press in to find the source of my uneasiness. As John Townsend began to explain the path of least resistance followed by people with entitlement issues versus the “Hard Way” followed by people who overcome obstacles in life...