Published by IVP on May 25, 2021
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life
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Why do I feel this way? Sometimes life is a mess and we get overwhelmed by all sorts of conflicting, difficult emotions. We might be stressed or weary, anxious or fearful, paralyzed by insecurity or crushed by pain. Worse yet, some well-meaning people invalidate our feelings and tell us to just cheer up and forget our worries. Rather than bypass the reality of our feelings, we need to enter into them and listen to what they're telling us. Psychology professor and personal development coach Dr. Peace Amadi helps us navigate the complexity of our emotions, from discouragement and hurt to trauma and depression. She explains the dynamics underlying what we feel and gives practical resources for living through our emotions in healthy ways. With insights from both psychology and Scripture, this book offers you a clear plan to get your peace and freedom back and find your joy again.
I have been looking forward to this book for months, and it was just as excellent and helpful as I had hoped. Why Do I Feel Like This?: Understand Your Difficult Emotions and Find Grace to Move Through is a well-organized, wise, and encouraging exploration of common emotional issues and how Christians can respond to them. Dr. Peace Amadi is a psychology professor and mental health expert, and throughout this book, she shares personal stories and testimonies from previous clients, illustrating common struggles in a specific and meaningful way. Reading this book is like hearing from a wise mentor, and even though a single book cannot address every life struggle or mental health issue, Amadi provides a holistic roadmap towards wholeness and health.
At the beginning of the book, Amadi warns against “the danger of spiritual bypassing,” encouraging Christians to face their struggles instead of bypassing their pain through platitudes or biblical teachings that are completely true, but don’t work as band-aids. She challenges her readers to face difficult life realities, struggle through them, and grow, and throughout the book, she does an incredible job of integrating Christian belief with current psychological understandings about thoughts, emotions, and mental health struggles. She writes about the impact of negative core beliefs and the importance of replacing them with truth, and she topically explores trauma, hurt, discouragement, anxiety, sadness, grief, depression, envy, and shame. At the end, she also includes a chapter with practical advice about when, how, and why to pursue therapy.
Amadi writes from deep expertise and experience, writes with nuance and clarity, and invites a wide audience while still adequately addressing people on different parts of the mental health spectrum. Whether someone has been in therapy for a mental health issue for years, or is just feeling lonely and stressed right now, this book can speak to them and encourage them in their specific circumstances. Even if someone’s presenting problem never comes up in this book, they can still benefit from its holistic perspective, recognizing how harmful core beliefs or issues such as discouragement are also affecting them. Also, readers with emotional struggles and life baggage that wouldn’t quality for any kind of diagnosis can find help here. Amadi doesn’t assume that every reader has a clinical problem or needs therapy, but provides general tools and paradigm shifts for people to accomplish inner work and move towards healing.
Even though women are the presumed audience for this book, Amadi doesn’t assume that all of her readers are female, and she shares some stories and examples from men as well. If you’re a guy who is wondering about whether or not this book could be a good fit for you, pursue it! Don’t let the pink cover turn you off. It’s full of great advice that applies to all humans, and unlike some female-oriented books about life struggles, this one doesn’t bash men or make any sweeping generalizations about the opposite sex. There is nothing in here that would be harmful or discouraging to a male reader, and it can be tremendously helpful and healing.
This is a refreshing, helpful resource for Christians who are dealing with emotional or mental health issues. This book perfectly integrates biblical truth and psychological science in a way that can help readers with different backgrounds. Christians who feel wary of secular therapy will find this integrated perspective reassuring, and Christians who are already invested in secular approaches can benefit from Amadi’s Christian perspective and its fuller, more complete vision of life. Amadi wrote this wonderful book out of her expertise, personal experience, and God-given wisdom, and every chapter provides perspective, hope, and paths towards healing. No matter where someone is on their journey with mental health issues or life baggage, this book can speak to them, and I highly recommend it.