I’m Not Supposed To Feel Like This by Chris Williams

I’m Not Supposed To Feel Like This by Chris Williams was recommended to me by my counsellor and I have found it incredibly useful.

Here is the blurb from Amazon:

Depression is so common that it has been described as ‘the common cold of psychiatry’. It is particularly difficult for Christians – there is often a feeling that Christians ‘shouldn’t’ get depressed, and that it and anxiety are the result of a poor or damaged relationship with God. I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO FEEL LIKE THIS is an empowering and practical response to such common feelings. In the style of a workbook, with constant reference to the Bible, and the example of Jesus, it helps the reader to understand why they feel the way they do, and to draw on God’s love and grace to find a path through depression and anxiety. The authors are all Christians, and experienced counsellors and psychiatrists.

This is a self-help book with a difference. It is interactive and Christian. The authors go into great detail explaining symptoms and causes, where you have the chance to make notes in the book that are relevant to you. The latter part of the book is about overcoming the problems and help for church leaders. The book contains realistic examples, uses the CBT technique to help combat the problem, has worksheets are the back to help work through the therapy as well as encouraging and relevant Bible verses and prayers.

As someone who suffers with anxiety I found this book incredibly helpful as the explanations were clear and concise. They explained everything from the initial start of the anxiety to what different types of medical help I can receive. Although a book written by Christians, it had realistic advice and uses techniques used by most psychiatrists.

I found this book so useful I am lending my copy to my boyfriend to read so he knows how to help me. It is accessible to all and the sections are easy to dip in and out of.

8/10

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The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg

This is a Christian book which I have had recommended to me several times. This is my sister-in-law’s favourite book.

Here is the synopsis for The Life You’ve Always Wanted:

The heart of Christianity is about transformation — about a God who isn’t just concerned with our “spiritual lives,” but who wants to impact every aspect of living. It’s realizing that God meets us not in a monastery but on Main Street, and that all of everyday life has the potential to be lived as if Jesus himself were the one living it. John Ortberg calls us back to dynamic heartbeat of Christianity — God’s power to bring change and growth — and shows us how we can attain it . . . and why we should attain it. Offering modern perspectives on the ancient path of the spiritual disciplines, Ortberg guides us on a journey beyond performance and externalism. As we learn not to run harder, but to walk with consistency, we’ll encounter joy, peace, kindness, and all the signposts of a faith that’s vital and growing. Paved with humor and sparkling anecdotes, The Life You’ve Always Wanted, an ECPA best-seller, is an encouraging and challenging approach to a Christian life that’s worth living. Life on the edge, that fills our ordinary world with new meaning, hope, change, and a joyous, growing closeness to Christ.

I found this book incredibly helpful. I found some of it washed over me, however, the key points were easy to remember. It is very informative, uses real life examples to help teach and is written well.

From this book I have learnt to do things as if Jesus were doing them, how to pray more effectively, how to mediate and study the Scriptures in a better method and change how I think when I am sometimes feeling low.

This isn’t a long book, only 220 pages and the text is broken up with a few diagrams, funny stories and tip-boxes to help put into action what has been read.

A helpful read.

8/10

Confessions of a Reformission Rev. by Mark Driscoll

Mark Driscoll is the leader of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington. It is one of the largest churches in the USA and currently has a membership of 8000 people. Confessions of a Reformission Rev. is his account of the growth of this megachurch.

Here is the Amazon synopsis:

This is the story of the birth and growth of Seattle’s innovative Mars Hill Church, one of America’s fastest growing churches located in one of America’s toughest mission fields. It’s also the story of the growth of a pastor, the mistakes he’s made along the way, and God’s grace and work in spite of those mistakes. Mark Driscoll’s emerging, missional church took a rocky road from its start in a hot, upstairs youth room with gold shag carpet to its current weekly attendance of thousands. With engaging humor, humility, and candor, Driscoll shares the failures, frustrations, and just plain messiness of trying to build a church that is faithful to the Gospel of Christ in a highly post-Christian culture. In the telling, he’s not afraid to skewer some sacred cows of traditional, contemporary, and emerging churches. Each chapter discusses not only the hard lessons learned but also the principles and practices that worked and that can inform your church’s ministry, no matter its present size. The book includes discussion questions and appendix resources. “After reading a book like this, you can never go back to being an inwardly focused church without a mission.

Even if you disagree with Mark about some of the things he says, you cannot help but be convicted to the inner core about what it means to have a heart for those who don’t know Jesus.” – Dan Kimball, author, “The Emerging Church”. “…will make you laugh, cry, and get mad…school you, shape you, and mold you into the right kind of priorities to lead the church in today’s messy world.” – Robert Webber, Northern Seminary.

I really enjoyed this book. I came across Mark Driscoll last year and have thoroughly enjoyed listening to his preaches so was looking forward to reading this book. It took me just over a day to complete the book, which is just under 200 pages long. Even my BF, who is a slow reader read this book in a matter of days.

He writes honestly and humorously. There is a lot of theology in the book, as well as practical advice, however, it is written simply and flows smoothly so it is so easy to read.  He covers the complete growth of the church, from the first day to when they hit the 4000 people mark.

This book has opened my eyes to what happens behind the scenes in church leadership, the struggles pastors and elders face and has inspired me to step out and serve more at my local church – which has a membership of just under 1000 people at present.

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to everyone, even non-church goers.

9/10 – the theology and practical advice was sometimes a touch heavy-going.

Mums@Home by Sophie King

I received this book as part as a book ring. I have never read Sophie King before and I was not let down by Mums@Home. I would describe this is as chick-lit, very good chick-lit.

Here is the Amazon synopsis:

Love, laughter, and logging on…Calling all mums! What would you do if your husband had a fling? Have you ever had to keep a terrible secret from your kids? Do you sometimes wish you had a life outside being a mum? Are you pregnant and alone? Caroline, Mark, Susan and Lisa are as different as the parenting problems they face and each has their own reasons for logging on to the Mums@Home website for the very first time. At first they are cynical about the site – how can faceless people possibly help or understand what they are going through? But as the weeks pass and their family problems escalate, each of them begins to realise that Mums@Home has become a lifeline – somewhere to go for advice, to be heard, to escape, or to belong…Sophie King captures the zeitgeist once again with this warm, moving and engaging look at modern parenting and finding friends.

This was very well written, I managed to read 200 pages in one sitting. I wanted to get to the end to see how everything would turn out, but when the book ended I wanted there to be more so I could see what was happening in their lives. King put in twists which I did not see coming, which added to the enjoyment of the read.

My favourite characters were in fact the children. Although I loved all the characters and engaged with them all, I found myself forming a soft spot for the children as they had to face difficulties in their adolescent as well as bearing the problems their parents were facing.

My only complaint was at the end of every chapter there were extracts from emails to people which were fragmented and sometimes unclear who they were aimed at and from.

A really enjoyable, fun, quick read.

9/10

A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis is famous for The Chronicles of Narnia, but what might not be so well known is he is the author of many Christian books. A Grief Observed was written a few weeks after the death of his wife. It is a collection of notes he has jotted down to help him through the mourning process. It is very short, only 60 pages, and I read it in a day. However, I did not find it an easy read. As it is just notes, it is a bit jumbled as we follow his train of thought. He talks about himself, his wife and God. We see his heart and attitude change as he heals and understands he will always miss his wife but it doesn’t have to be so painful. I felt I was intruding a bit in his mind and found the book hard to follow.

5/10

When the Darkness Will Not Lift – John Piper

When the Darkness Will Not Lift by John Piper is a Christian book for those suffering with depression, or people aiding those who are suffering. It was an Amazon recommendation when I purchased another Christian book on depression.

Here is the Amazon synopsis:

John Piper offers insight into depression and spiritual darkness, and the Christian response to them. For sufferers and carers, he provides reason for hope that God will lift them out of despair and into the light.

This is not a long book, only 79 pages. However, it did take me quite a while to read this book. Piper has some very helpful things to say, and he includes lots of quotes from famous people, such as John Newton and C.S. Lewis as well as many quotations from the Bible. Some comments I found related to me personally, such as the fighting to get out of bed when feeling down. It was also interesting to learn that sometimes in order to help ourselves we need to help others, that way we will experience God’s grace.

However, some of the quotes used were written in very old fashioned English so I struggled with some of the meanings. I don’t like Piper’s writing style either. I find it does not flow easily and sometimes his sentence structure throws me.

All in all, this was a bit of a tough read but with some very helpful advice.

7/10

The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis

Like Roald Dahl, these are books which are not just for children. The Chronicles of Narnia are beautifully written with the Christian message throughout.

The Magician’s Nephew
is the first in the trilogy and is the creation of Narnia. Here is the synopsis from Amazon:

Polly’s hand went out to touch one of the rings. Immediately, without a flash or a noise, she vanished. When horrible Uncle Andrew starts experimenting with magic, Digory and Polly find themselves in another world, and at the beginning of an incredible adventure, as the doorway to the magical land of Narnia opens…This is the first adventure in the exciting Chronicles of Narnia.

It took about half the book to get to Narnia, but honestly, that was not a problem. This gives time for character development, the meeting of the witch and the exploration of other worlds, which I would not have none existed had I not read this one.

My favourite character, like most others, is Aslan the lion. He seems to intimidating but has such a soft heart, what an amazing creature. The description of him is stunning.

As mentioned, the Chronicles of Narnia are based around the Christian story – but do not be put off by this. The Magician’s Nephew replays the Creation Story with Aslan creating Narnia and breathing life into the characters and the Tree of Life and how Diggory was not to eat from it or steal from it.

There is a stark warning at the end to not let our world fall into evil and decline.

I enjoyed this book, and would recommend you read it even if you are an adult. Lewis writes in a fluent and entertaining way, it is easy to follow and very enjoyable.

8/10