In my almost-thirty years of pastoral ministry, there have been a handful of people I’ve interacted with whose lives exhibit the characteristics that the world calls bipolar. How should we understand a man-made psychological label like this, so that we may effectively ministry God’s grace and truth to them? Here’s a 30-minute podcast you should listen to.
In a recent episode of the Hope + Help Podcast, Christine Chappell interviews Dr. Charles Hodges about a book that I read years ago, which helped my ministry: Good Mood, Bad Mood: Help and Hope for Depression and Bipolar Disorder. During the conversation, Dr. Hodges summarizes the current diagnostic criteria for depression and bipolar disorder, and describes the differences between “normal” and “disordered” sadness. He also explains why recent scientific findings pertaining to brain plasticity offer hope to those labeled with mood disorders and suggests why over-identifying with a psychological diagnosis can stunt spiritual growth. Lastly, Dr. Hodges highlights the importance of setting God-oriented goals with counselees labeled with bipolar disorder, and offers words of encouragement for sufferers feeling hopeless for meaningful life change.