(Review) Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World by Max Lucado

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Publisher and Publication Date: Thomas Nelson. 2017.
Genre: Christian nonfiction. Anxiety.
Pages: 240.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: Excellent.
Audience: The book is written from the pen of a Christian pastor. The audience who looks at this book for purchase will primarily be Christians. However, there is a wealth of knowledge and help for people struggling with anxiety.

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Website for Max Lucado

 

I’ve read several books by Max Lucado. Anxious for Nothing is probably one of my favorites.

I’m seeing two recurring subjects in Christian nonfiction: anxiety and suffering.
Max Lucado states on page five, anxiety is the number one mental health problem with women, and it is second with men.
I know several people who have been diagnosed and are on medicine for anxiety. Some of these people have big stresses in their lives. For example: special needs kids, financial hardship, medical problems, marriage crisis, PTSD, and caring for aging parents. I listen to them about what is going on in their lives. I’m apprehensive about telling the person who has anxiety anything that may come off as what they are going through is trivial. And I’m preaching to the choir, because that list of big stresses in people’s lives is my own immediate family. Anxious for Nothing is just what I needed to read. Some of the illustrations and quotes have stayed with me long after reading.

Some of my favorite quotes:
“The mind cannot at the same time be full of God and full of fear.” Page 32.
“The widest river in the world is not the Mississippi, Amazon, or Nile. The widest river on earth is a body of water called If only.” Page 93.
“The good life begins, not when circumstances change, but when our attitude toward them does.” Page 93.

The book is divided into four sections with eleven chapters:
1. “Celebrate God’s Goodness.” This section is about rejoicing in the Lord despite circumstances.
2. “Ask God For Help.” Knowing God is in control and remain calm.
3. “Leave Your Concerns With Him.” Have a focus on gratitude.
4. “Meditate On Good Things.” The importance of my thinking. The type of thoughts that I think about.

My favorite part of the book is in the fourth section. Lucado encourages me to think like an air traffic controller. I am to select my thought pattern, like an air traffic controller decides when a plane takes off or lands. I decide what to think about. I really am in control of what I think about.
Gratitude. This is a word that feels like the last thing to do during a time of anxiety. Gratitude keeps me focused on the present. Gratitude takes my mind off the pain of yesterday and the worry of the future. It keeps us grounded in the gratitude of today.

The main part of the book ends at page 152.
On page 153 begins “Questions For Reflection.”
On page 201 is Scriptures that covers each of the eleven chapters.
The last two sections is “Notes,” and “The Lucado Reader’s Guide.” In this last part, Lucado’s books are organized in themes. For example, if you are struggling with “fear and worry” or want to read more about “peace.”

I consider Anxious For Nothing an excellent tool. A tool that helps combat anxiety.

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(Review) Anxious: Choosing Faith in a World of Worry by Amy Simpson

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Publisher and Publication Date: IVP Books. September 2014.
Genre: Christian nonfiction. Anxiety.
Pages: 192.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: Recommend.
Audience: People who struggle with worry and anxiety. Christian topics are examined. Bible verses are given for reading and study.

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Amy Simpson’s website and Facebook

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”
3. “Sleeplessness”
4. “Dissatisfaction”
5. “Self-abuse”
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.”

 

(Review) Trade Your Cares For Calm by Max Lucado

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Publisher and Publication Date: Thomas Nelson. December 26, 2017.
Genre: Christian nonfiction. Anxiety and worry.
Pages: 208.
Source: Library.
Rating: Excellent.

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Calm is a small book compiled from previously written books by Max Lucado. The theme is anxiety. The previously published books are Anxious for Nothing, Facing Your Giants, Fearless, Max on Life, 3:16: The Numbers of Hope, Traveling Light, You’ll Get Through This. Max Lucado is strong in using illustrations to prove his points. One of the illustrations is from the book: How Loving Our Neighbor Led Us into the Heart of the Ebola Epidemic. Dr. Kent Brantly was a physician in Africa who became sick with the Ebola virus. I’ve not read this book, but am familiar with the story.
Calm is a book holding memorable quotes.

The presence of anxiety is unavoidable, but the prison of anxiety is optional. Page 6.

Is it possible that the wonder of Heaven will make the most difficult life a good bargain. Page 11.

The widest river in the world is not the Mississippi, Amazon, or Nile. The widest river on earth is a body of water called If Only. Page 120.

The good life begins, not when circumstances change, but when our attitude toward them does. Page 121.

Max Lucado teaches two points in helping combat anxiety: attitude and gratitude. My attitude in response to the worry and being grateful for blessings. I remember several years ago when I had cancer, the season was autumn. The things I was thankful for was the fall foliage, blue sky, cooler weather, and the birds who sang outside my bedroom window. Being thankful is not always focused on the big things in life, often it is being thankful for the small everyday wonders.