Publisher and Publication Date: IVP Books. September 2014.
Genre: Christian nonfiction. Anxiety.
Audience: People who struggle with worry and anxiety. Christian topics are examined. Bible verses are given for reading and study.
I’ve read three books by Amy Simpson. All three I’ve given 5 stars at Goodreads.
1. Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission
2. Anxious: Choosing Faith in a World of Worry
3. Blessed are the Unsatisfied: Finding Spiritual Freedom in an Imperfect World
I love the direct statements about what this book “is not” and “is” in the intro.
1. This book is not a guide to worry free living.
2. This book is not a counseling session, and it does not diagnose or fix.
3. This book is not written with the intention of “shaming people.”
1. This book is for people who worry, but think they’re not that bad.
2. This book is for people who realize they are anxious and want to make a change.
3. This book will show how worry “poisons” the mind.
We must let go of the mistaken belief that life can and should be safe. That our powers extend farther than what God has granted us. That our chief purpose in this life is to avoid danger and accumulate treasures. That we possess and must preserve that which actually belongs to God. That the future, where all our greatest hopes and worries lie, is a promise we can claim for ourselves. Pages 11-12.
Until reading this book, I thought anxiety or worry was just a bad habit. Since I only worried sometimes, and some worry is probably okay. Nevertheless, I was fooling myself. When I read, “let go of the mistaken belief that life can and should be safe,” that statement stopped me cold. Now that I’ve had time to think, I’ve decided it was immature to have ever had that thought.
To be fearful is normal and healthy. However, to allow fear to cause, “mental distress and agitation,” or to cause sleeplessness and a gnawing in the gut is wrong responses.
Another statement that stopped me cold, “worry reinforces the idea that everything is up to us.”
Chapter three touches on several results of anxiety (a few examples).
1. “Physical suffering”
2. “Control issues”
The chapter ends with “a better way.” “Sabbath” is the better way. We are to, “trust in the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf.” Page 77. We are to rest in the provision God has given us.
In chapter five, when I am tempted to worry again, “You can start by reminding yourself where you place your trust.” Page 109. Simpson encourages memorizing Scripture as a way to combat worry.
Chapter six is on perspective. Pages 116-125 is my favorite part of this book. In brief, “God’s truth” changes our minds. It also changes our habits, things of importance, and our future. Subtopics in this chapter: “God calls us to peace,” “God calls us to trust,” ” God knows where we live,” and “We aren’t in control-but God is.”
Reading Anxious has been eye-opening. I’ve been convicted and humbled. I’ve gained key insight into why I am anxious, as well as teachings that have given me a new way of thinking, and has caused growth in an area I’d neglected.
A favorite quote from Francois de Fenelon (included on page 142).
The future is not yet yours; it may never be. Live in the present moment. Tomorrow’s grace is not given to you today. The present moment is the only place where you can touch the eternal realm.”