“In Blessed Are the Unsatisfied, Amy Simpson considers questions many Christians think about but have been unwilling or unable to openly express. In her personal and engaging style, Amy encourages us to embrace the unsatisfied life because it leads to greater intimacy with the only one who is able to satisfy. A must-read for any believer struggling to live out the ‘Christian life.'”
–Matthew S. Stanford, author of Grace for the Afflicted
“In Blessed are the Unsatisfied, Amy Simpson puts a positive spin on what is usually perceived as a negative state of mind. She avoids making unrealistic promises of full and perfect satisfaction in this fallen world, as some are inclined to do. Instead, she shows how ‘unsatisfaction’ can motivate us to pursue a deeper relationship with God and with others, to learn, grow, and change ourselves, and to invest our energies in making this world a better place for others. Seems we could all use a little more unsatisfaction.”
–Carolyn Custis James, author of Half the Church and Malestrom
“The first emotion I had reading Blessed Are the Unsatisfied was sheer relief. Raised in the church, I’ve heard a thousand glib assurances that anyone who trusts Jesus for salvation will be completely satisfied—and I’ve despaired a thousand times as I’ve felt that satisfaction elude me. How freeing to hear that being unsatisfied doesn’t mean I’m a defective Christian! The second emotion I felt was hope. Simpson gave me permission to stay hungry for ultimate satisfaction while providing strategies for pursuing the abundant life of which Jesus spoke.”
–Drew Dyck, senior editor, CTPastors.com, author of Yawning at Tigers
“The truth is that there are promises of Jesus that are ‘here and now, but not yet thoroughly experienced’ until we are in heaven. Amy Simpson does an exceptional job of digging deep into God’s Word and exposes the truth that we are not completely satisfied in Jesus in this life.”
–Brad Hoefs, president, Fresh Hope for Mental Health
We know that our material comforts and temporal accomplishments are not enough to fully satisfy us. Momentary pleasures, whether of pure or darker motivations, are fleeting at best. But Christians often hear the idea that following Jesus means that we should be living a life of full satisfaction. How many of us actually experience that kind of life?
Amy Simpson wants to debunk this satisfaction myth in the church. After forty years of walking with Jesus, she writes, “I am deeply unsatisfied not only with my ability to reflect Jesus, but also with the very quality of my intimacy with him. I strongly suspect that the abyss of my nature has not been entirely satisfied by Jesus.”
Hers is a freeing confession for us all. Simpson explains that our very unsatisfaction indicates a longing for God, and understanding those longings can bring us closer to relationship with him. And that is where true spiritual health and vitality reside. Read on to discover anew what it truly means to be satisfied in Christ.
Our culture is frantic with worry. We stress over circumstances we can’t control, we talk about what’s keeping us up at night and we wring our hands over the fate of disadvantaged people all over the world, almost as if to show we care and that we have big things to care about. Worry is part of our culture, an expectation of responsible people. And sadly, Christians are no different.
But we are called to live and think differently from the worried world around us. The fact is, worry is sin, but we don’t seem to take it seriously. It is a spiritual problem, which ultimately cannot be overcome with sheer willpower–its solution is rooted entirely in who God is.
How can we live life abundantly, with joy, as God has called us to do, when we’re consumed by anxiety? We are commanded not to worry, not only in the well-known words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 6, but also throughout the Old Testament and the epistles to the church. The Bible makes it clear that the future belongs only to God, who rules and is not subject to the limitations of time. To live with joy and contentment, trusting God with the present and the future, is a countercultural feat that can be accomplished only through him.
Challenging the idolatrous underpinnings of worry, former Christianity Today executive Amy Simpson encourages us to root our faith in who God is, not in our own will power. We don’t often give much thought to why worry offends God, but indulging anxiety binds us to mere possibilities and blinds us to the truth. Correctly understanding the theology of worry is critical to true transformation. This is a book not just for people who worry; this is a call to the church to turn its eyes from the things of earth and fix its eyes on the author and completer of our faith.
Mental illness is the sort of thing we don’t like to talk about. It doesn’t reduce nicely to simple solutions and happy outcomes. So instead, too often we reduce people who are mentally ill to caricatures and ghosts, and simply pretend they don’t exist. They do exist, however–statistics suggest that one in four people suffer from some kind of mental illness. And then there’s their friends and family members, who bear their own scars and anxious thoughts, and who see no safe place to talk about the impact of mental illness on their lives and their loved ones. Many of these people are sitting in churches week after week, suffering in stigmatized silence.
In Troubled Minds Amy Simpson, whose family knows the trauma and bewilderment of mental illness, reminds us that people with mental illness are our neighbors and our brothers and sisters in Christ, and she shows us the path to loving them well and becoming a church that loves God with whole hearts and whole souls, with the strength we have and with minds that are whole as well as minds that are troubled.
© 2012 Amy Simpson.