I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but I’m nowhere near to the place I wish I was or even where I could be had I made different choices in my life up to this point. Case in point, when I was a freshman in college at a small Christian university, I saw an ad for anyone interested in working for the school newspaper. A simple phone call and I would be getting the opportunity to do what I loved most and getting valuable experience at it. For days I’d spend several minutes sitting in front of the phone, poised to make the phone call. But I couldn’t do it? I was plagued by anxious thoughts. What if I couldn’t do it? What if people didn’t like me? What if I wasn’t a good writer? What if I started and felt like giving up early on? Chief among my anxious thoughts was a total lack of confidence that questioned why I had any business thinking I could do it in the first place when I would undoubtedly be working with people so much better than me. Shyness has always been a struggle for me, and this stopped me. I never called the newspaper.
I am, what I have come to realize, an anxious Christian. Anxiety paralyzes me into indecision. I’m sure it’s the same for a lot of people who are followers of Jesus. As Christians, we’re told over and over again not to be anxious, not to worry, not to fear. Yet these things seem to ever-present forces that press in on us and limit the life we were created to live. But what if it could be different? What if anxiety, instead of driving us fear and indecision, drove us to action and a greater pursuit of dependence on God?
Rhett Smith wrote THE ANXIOUS CHRISTIAN from this very perspective, and it was a book that deeply resonated with my own experience with anxiety. Smith, rather than proclaiming anxiety as something “unchristian” and something to be ignored, reveals biblical evidence that anxiety is an indication of our deep need to trust in Jesus rather than in ourselves or our circumstances. Anxiety is an invitation to deeper, more profound, and life-changing belief in Jesus to help us do what he wants of us. Most helpful is the encouragement to take action when anxiety strikes. In hindsight, I should have made the call to write for the newspaper in college because trust in Jesus would have meant that whatever happened, good or bad, Jesus would have been with me, helping me get past whatever hindrances would have arisen. I don’t have to fear because no one else lovingly governs the world in pursuit our hearts but God. That means God wants to be active in helping bring about incredible good and life-altering hope. Anxiety threatens to take us out of the equation of God using us to do what he does best.
I love how Rhett Smith quotes Steven Pressfield about the Resistance because as a I writer I’m very familiar with Pressfield’s books THE WAR OF ART and DO THE WORK, and both have been helpful in my pursuit of taking action over indecision.
If you’re an anxious Christian, I have to recommend reading THE ANXIOUS CHRISTIAN and learning how to let anxiety be a catalyst for action and greater pursuit of God’s heart. Thought it’s not a quick-fix solution, taking Smith’s advice will put you on the path to a more satisfying life doing the things that God created you for.
I received this book for free for review from Moody Publishers