so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Studies show that 1 out of every 4 adults in America will be affected by mental illness at some point in their lifetime. As I have become more aware of the issue of mental health and how it touches all of us in some way, I have appreciated how my home church, Saddleback Church, has built a wholistic mental health ministry on what they call The Hope Circle: five truths that each combat a negative message that hold people back from moving toward hope.
- “I don’t matter” —You have a purpose (Jeremiah 29:11)
- “I don’t fit in” —You belong (Romans 12:4-6)
- “I want to give up” —You have a choice (2 Corinthians 4:7)
- “I feel useless” —You are needed (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
- “I hate myself” —You are loved (1 John 4:10)
I looked over those negative messages and was surprised to realize that I could identify times in my life when I have felt all of them to some degree. Every one of those messages has had a residual effect on me, and, as a result, I have developed patterns and habits and relational breakdowns in those very areas of pain. So, even though I don’t suffer from the extremes of mental illness, I have come to realize that my mental health is a matter I should no longer ignore.
I decided to dedicate Season Two of our podcast, Study Gateway’s First Listens, to this universal and timely issue of mental health. I have curated a collection of sessions from seven Bible studies that speak to different aspects of mental health. These powerful teachings from a variety of experts all touch on the themes outlined in the Hope Circle. Share this podcast with your small group members so you can choose the study to go through that will best help you support family, friends, and church and community members with biblical truth and compassionate engagement.
First Listens, Season Two: Mental Health
Out of the Cave, by Chris Hodges: Aired November 8, 2022
Chris wrote this study during the pandemic, from a place of great personal darkness. He talks about the stigma of depression, and his teachings from the life of Elijah give us hope for getting out of the cave.
When Making Others Happy is Making You Miserable, by Karen Ehman: Aired November 15, 2022
When we get caught in the trap of people-pleasing, we’re letting people take the place of God in our lives. Learn to stop letting unpleasable people call the shots, and live for the approval of God alone.
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero: Airs November 22, 2022
It’s impossible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature. Discern which of the top ten symptoms of emotional un-healthiness are present in your life.
Rhythms of Renewal by Rebekah Lyons: Airs November 29, 2022
Take charge of your mental wellness by practicing simple rhythms that bring you back to God during the times when anxiety and panic come crashing into your life.
When to Walk Away by Gary Thomas: Airs December 6, 2022
In this careful study of the encounters Jesus had with toxic people, we can follow his example of walking away from toxic people and walking toward healthy relationships.
Get Out of Your Head by Jennie Allen: Airs December 13, 2022
Changing the way we think seems nearly impossible; we could waste away our entire lives if we never learn how to take our thoughts captive and replace our downward thought spiral with an upward spiral.
I Am Restored by Lecrae: Airs December 20, 2022
Grammy-winning hip-hop artist Lecrae suffered a breakdown from the buried impact of unhealed trauma. Hear his story, and join him in the studio for the recording of his biographical song, “Restore Me.”