Necessary Therapy

Jeannelle over at Midlife by Farmlight just posted a link in a comment to the following blog:

Necessary Therapy

It’s the blog of a pastor with bipolar disorder who has served a small parish for about 14 years since his diagnosis. If I read the information correct, he is now on some type of disability. I don’t think he’s Lutheran, but I haven’t gone through and read all the back posts yet. But it looks very promising. Please check it out!


On Rest and Mood

This is not any kind of great insight, but simply a realization I had this morning. I just had two nights in a row where both my wife and I were present to take care of the kids and get them to bed. Reading, catechism, prayers, etc. It is the first time we’ve had that for two nights in a row in WEEKS. AND we get to do it again tonight.


I can just feel myself relax and settle into the normalcy of life when such things happen. I feel like I have been wound up since before Lent, and that things are just now starting to rebound and come down to the usual chaos.

It is so important to simply have time to be a family, to gather together, to sing and pray, play outside, chase around, and do whatever you do in your family. I am grounded when these things happen. My mood improves, my patience improves, everything is better.

But I can’t see that when I don’t have it. I get so obsessed with GETTING STUFF DONE that I forget who I am as a child of God, as a husband and father and pastor and neighbor, etc.

Be at peace, friends. Get some rest. Don’t try to get everything done, for you may lose yourself in a series of tasks that seem important at the time, but ultimately don’t really matter.


The Cause of Happiness

Susan Gehlbach has a great observation in the post below about happiness:

Susan’s Pendulum: Happiness

Depression in my view is the extreme inward turning of the personality and the soul. It has physical, medical and spiritual causes. But one thing that I certainly know from my experience is that when I am depressed, it is very hard to see outside myself. When I am least depressed, it is because I am finding (being given?) contentment in the vocations God has given me. So Susan and her pastor are right. We sons and daughters of Adam and Eve are at our best when we are in service to our neighbor.

So how does one get outside of oneself to serving the neighbor, thus finding the contentment and happiness which only God can give. First, the Gospel. Only the Gospel can pull out outside of ourselves and into the lives our our neighbors from a spiritual perspective. Second, addressing whatever the medical or physiological aspects that are going on. This may happen via medication (traditional or non-traditional), therapy, exercise, diet, and a host of other elements that all come into play with our bodies.

That’s the way I see it. What do you see?


Who Switched Off My Brain? (Book Review)


Who Switched Off My Brain?
By Dr. Caroline Leaf

A parishioner of mine recommended this book to me, and so I read it a couple weeks ago. I checked it out from the library, so I don’t have it in front of me, but I wanted to give a brief review of it at least.

The author is I believe an evangelical Christian of some stripe. Basically what the book does is tries to explain in lay terms how the brain works, and the role that what she calls toxic thoughts and emotions have on your physical, mental and spiritual well being.

I found the book extremely helpful. It is easy to read, explains a lot of the things that many of us sort of know or suspect but can’t really explain, and does so in a positive, useful fashion. If you are trying to get a grip on how your mind works and why, this is the book for you.

I would also say that it would reinforce cognitive therapy in a general sense. Which I count as a very good thing.

My only caveat on the book is that because of her american evangelical background, she looks at forgiveness simply as a choice that one makes, and not as a gift given by God through the Word and faith. This didn’t distract me overmuch, but it is a caution. This, by the way, is also my general caution regarding cognitive therapy. It is a good and salutary method of counseling, as long as we can understand the role of God’s Word in creating faith in the process.

Anyway, it’s a good book. I recommend it, and I’ll probably buy it somewhere along the way here.


After Easter

We are now in the afterglow of the resurrection of our Lord. It is a good place to be.

For many pastors, Lent represents a trial of time, emotions, energy and just plain work. It is the six weeks which are both wonderful and incredibly taxing. Not to mention taxes coming right after Easter this year! So In the midst of all of this hoopla, I always find myself reveling in and enjoying the joy and festiveness of the season, but also breathing a little easier that the toughest six weeks of the year are behind me.

Of course, we put so many expectations on ourselves during this season. Easter sermons are the toughest to write and preach for me. A part of it is that I feel like I have to put on an unnaturally over-happy face on in order to get it “right”. This year I tried to embrace the challenge of Easter a little better, preaching the text (Mark 16:1-8) without using unnatural preaching styles for me. I think it worked pretty well.

So what do you do after Eastertide, oh pastors and people? Is it a time of relaxation, a time to return to “normal”, or something else?