Description: Is anxiety “un-Christian”’
Many Christians believe the answer to this question is yes! Understandably, then, many Christians feel shame when they are anxious. They especially feel this shame when well-intentioned fellow believers dismiss or devalue anxiety with Christian platitudes and Bible verses.
Rhett Smith, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, helps us understand anxiety in a new way. Rhett argues that, rather than being destructive or shameful, anxiety can be a catalyst for our spiritual growth. Using Biblical thinking and personal examples, Rhett explains how anxiety allows us to face our resistance and fears, understand where those fears come from, and then make intentional decisions about issues such as career, marriage, money, and our spiritual lives.
Allow this book to challenge your view of anxiety, and allow God to use your anxiety for good.
My Thoughts: I have struggled with anxiety for most of my life. When I was 9 years old, I was with my grandparents when my grandfather had an abdominal aortic aneurism and passed away. This event was a turning point in my life which altered how I looked at life and circumstances. It left me reeling, and I began to worry constantly about loved ones dying, picturing the horrific events that could happen.
I shared my “worrying problem” with a trusted person in my church and was told that this was sinful because I wasn’t trusting God enough. This caused me to feel ashamed and frustrated with myself. Prayer has helped my anxiety to a large extent but I have “flare ups” where it gets difficult to deal with.
One such “flare up” occurred when my dad had a lung transplant in 2015. After the surgery, I had a panic attack. I was struggling to function properly at work and wanted to stay home all the time. At that point I decided to share my problems with my doctor, who prescribed medication for my anxiety and referred me to a therapist.
I struggled a lot with the medication because, as a Christian, I felt like I was giving up on God and relying on medicine instead. I had family members who were not happy with me taking the medicine because they didn’t like that it altered brain chemistry.
All of this was said to show that this book was a breath of fresh air for me. Anxiety is something that still has negative connotations, like many mental health disorders, especially in the church. I have rarely or never seen anyone ask for prayer for their anxiety or depression but every week, people ask for prayer for broken bones or flus or other physical ailments.
The author, Rhett Smith doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk. He also has dealt with anxiety and he explains how it can be used for good. I found myself with tears in my eyes as I read this book because there have been moments since I was told that my worrying was sinful when I’ve said to my husband, “why did God make me this way?”
Reading this book helped me to see that God used my anxiety to get the help I needed. Since seeing my therapist and taking my medication (and praying daily, giving all my worries to God), my anxiety has greatly decreased. It still rears it’s ugly head from time to time, but this book has shown me that perhaps it’s God’s way of speaking to me, showing me that I need to take action in some area of my life.
I highly, highly recommend this book to my anxious Christian friends out there. It would make a great Bible study group read as well.
I received this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.