I didn't know I needed glasses until I jokingly put on a pair from my friend and astonishingly saw numbers and words with a clarity I hadn't known possible.
A problem undetected became a part of my everyday life without even knowing the difference.
Our thoughts can be like that. Worries, fears and negative self-talk invade our daily thinking, influence our emotions and shape our responses to the world around us. We can get so used to it, we forget there's a different way to capture our pondering, and it's with the Word of God.
In "Hope in an Anxious World: Six Truths For When Things Feel Overwhelming," Helen Thorne teaches us about anxiety, then leads us to “consider some of the lies that our anxiety encourages us to believe, and hear what God has to say in response.” The focus is not on clinical anxiety, but on God’s truth for us in our everyday anxious thoughts.
This book is divided into two parts, the first teaches us a biblical perspective of the world and how it contributes to our stress and troubles, then she provides an overview of some useful techniques and healthy habits.
During the second part, she addresses six lies we are prone to believe in our anxiety, and the truth of God’s word where we can lean into instead. If you have ever struggled with mental illness, these lies will sound vividly familiar and may even be regular visitors in your thoughts.
Lie: “I’m all alone.”
Truth: You were not created for isolation, you were designed with purpose and are known by God who loves and cares for you.
Lie: “Everything is out of control.”
Truth: We will experience pain and suffering, but all things are part of God’s good plan, and He is for you, not against you.
Lie: “I have no way of knowing where to turn.”
Truth: Overwhelmed by options, we may feel lost out in a stormy sea. Scripture points us to our good Shepherd, and the Holy Spirit is our guide.
Lie: “I can’t carry on.”
Truth: In our pain and suffering, exhaustion sets in, not sure if we can go on. As we reach the end of our rope, we see how far we’ve relied on ourselves rather than on God, but he invites us partake in his daily provision and the rest he offers.
Lie: “This is all my fault.”
Truth: We are not perfect people, we are going to mess up sometimes, and we will need to apologize when that’s the case. Then, we cling to God’s forgiveness, resting in our freedom in Christ, not leaving any room for shame.
Lie: “There’s no hope for me.”
Truth: Change can happen slowly, but the gospel is all about God changing people, taking us from darkness and bringing us into the light; because of our Savior there is hope! It is our daily walking in step with him where we transform more into his likeness and sometimes patient dependence is the key.
In my work as a mental health nurse, and as counselling student, I hear these words with almost every client. The pain and suffering we experience is real, and while not every anxious thought puts us into crisis, there’s a pattern where lies are fed and built upon. As we face these lies with biblical truth, we are wielding the sword of the Spirit and waging war on our moments of unbelief.
Purchase this book as a gift for someone you know who struggles with anxiety, or use it in small group setting. Consider buying it for yourself. You may have never battled with anxious thoughts or worries, but this time in life with the pandemic and subsequent isolation can spiral our thoughts if we are caught unaware. (I wrote an article about the rise of social anxiety after covid here.) So even though it may be foreign to you, it may be worth educating and studying so you can see it when it comes. It's a book I highly recommend!
# of pages: 112
My rating: 5 stars!
*A big thanks to The Good Book Company for the complimentary copy of this book and the opportunity to post an honest review!