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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.
The Anxious Christian: Can God Use Your Anxiety for Good? by Rhett Smith, is an examination of the role of anxiety in the life of a Christian. Rather than dismiss anxiety as something sinful or un-Christian, Smith offers a way to reshape anxiety into something God uses in our lives.
Smith's own struggles with anxiety greatly informs this work. This makes what he says have a ring of authenticity that allowed me to more fully accept what he says about anxiety. Those who haven't struggled with anxiety or depression can offer words of wisdom and advice, but there is something about these words coming from a fellow traveler on this specific road that adds weight. If he can live with his anxiety and allow it to shape him in positive ways, than maybe I can too. His work as a marriage and family counselor is also helpful as he has been able to see the principles he discusses play out in the lives of others as well.
The Anxious Christian is full of scripture, words from other authors, and Smith's own life experiences. He offers practical advice both about how to deal with anxiety as an individual, and how the Church as a whole should deal with it. Each chapter ends with discussion questions, exercises, and a prayer that relate to that chapter's specific content. The questions and exercises are helpful for either individual or group use.
Overall, The Anxious Christian is a great read. Those who struggle with anxiety will appreciate it for its sense of "me too" as well as its practical tips. People who don't struggle with anxiety, but want to better understand those who do will also find it informative. This is also a helpful tool for anyone who does any kind of counseling.
In his book, The Anxious Christian, Rhett Smith argues that God can actually use your anxiety for good. Smith argues against the conventional Christian belief that anxiety is a sin and something to feel guilty for, instead proposing the idea that anxiety can serve as a helpful force to propel us closer to Jesus. The issue is not that we face anxiety, but what reactions that anxiety brings about in our lives and hearts.
The counsel given in this book is drawn from years of Smith's own personal struggles with anxiety and the ways in which the Lord worked within him throughout those struggles. Rich in personal anecdotes and Scripture, Smith challenges the condemning belief that anxiety is a sin and instead argues that it is a feeling which can be used to bring us closer to the Cross and move us to make decisions in life that can impact the world for Christ. Smith argues that the anxiety we feel keeps us in a place where we can depend upon our God and walk in His will for our lives.
As someone who has struggled her whole life with anxiety, the truths presented in this book provided a fresh perspective and hope at how I can approach my anxiety. Smith gives not only a Biblical theology from which to approach anxiety but practical steps we can talk to use anxiety for good in our lives. This book is a must-read for everyone in the church, as we all either have wrestled with anxiety or have counseled people who have. May our anxiety not be wasted, but used to draw us closer to our Savior.