Friday, April 26, 2019

Book Review: Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado

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BOOK review
Started on: 7 April 2019
Finished on: 10 April 2019

Title: Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World
Author: Max Lucado
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 240 pages / 240 pages (e-book)
Year of Publication: 2017
Price: Rp 180,816 (https://www.bookdepository.com/)

Rating: 5/5
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"Anxiety is a meteor shower of what-ifs... Anxiety is trepidation.
It's a suspicion, an apprehension. Life in a minor key with major concerns. Perpetually on the pirate ship's plank."
Max Lucado is a best-selling Christian author and a writer and also a preacher. This time around, he tackles the topic of anxiety, which is at an all time high due to the chaotic world that we are currently living in. He invites readers to study the passage in Phillipians 4 where the Apostle Paul admonishes the followers of Christ to not be anxious about anything. According to one research program, anxiety-related issues are the number one mental health problem among women and are second only to alcohol and drug abuse among men. And this book will helps us to know better what anxiety truly is and how to overcome it.

"Anxiety and fear are cousins but not twins. Fear sees a threat. Anxiety imagines one. 
Fear screams, Get out! Anxiety ponders, What if?
Fear results in fight or flight. Anxiety creates doom and gloom. Fear is the pulse that pounds when you see a coiled rattlesnake in your front yard. Anxiety is the voice that tells you, Never, ever, for the rest of your life, walk barefooted through the grass. There might be a snake... somewhere."
"Be anxious for less" would have been a sufficient challenge. Or "Be anxious only on Thursdays." Or "Be anxious only in seasons of severe affliction."
But Paul doesn't seem to offer any leeway here. Be anxious for nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero. Is that what he meant? Not exactly. He wrote the phrase in the present active tense, which implies an ongoing state... The presence of anxiety is unavoidable, but the prison of anxiety is optional."
It's been three years since I last read a book by Max Lucado and I almost forgot how much I enjoyed his writing style! The first book by him that I've read was called Fearless and it really helped me see the things that a lot of people feared about with a different perspective. Just like I enjoyed that book a lot, I ended up loving this one as well. It is highly encouraging, easy to read, Bible-saturated, and it's very relatable—especially because I'm in a season of life where I'm anxious about certain things. For those of you who might be feeling anxious about many different things in life, I suggest you try reading this book. Max Lucado explains the term anxiety well, differentiating it with fear; and he also shares a lot of inspiring stories that helps find calm in this chaotic world. In this review, I'm going to share some parts that really hit home for me personally. Hopefully it will give encouragement to others just like it has encouraged me 😊.
"With God as your helper, you will sleep better tonight and smile more tomorrow. You'll reframe the way you face your fears. You'll learn how to talk yourself off the ledge, view bad news through the lens of sovereignty, discern the lies of Satan, and tell yourself the truth. You will discover a life that is characterized by calm and will develop tools for facing the onslaughts of anxiety."
"The next time you fear the future, rejoice in the Lord's sovereignty. Rejoice in what he has accomplished. Rejoice that he is able to do what you cannot do. Fill your mind with thoughts of God."
This book is divided into 4 different sections, each one focusing on a certain part of Phillipians 4:4-8. The chapters are: Celebrate God's goodness, Ask God for help, Leave your concerns with him, and Meditate on good things—each letter at the start of these titles combined, resulted in C.A.L.M. The first one that I'm going to share is about God's goodness, which at the root focuses on God's sovereignty. Max Lucado encouraged us to take a decision to rejoice, with a deeply rooted confidence that God exists that he is in control, and that he is good. Sometimes we forget about that fact when we are so busy being anxious and our minds are full of what-if questions. He stated the importance of our belief system, because belief always precedes our behavior. Most of the time, we are anxious when we are not in control; but we can never be in control of everything. We want certainty, but the only certainty is the lack thereof. And once we hold on to the idea that God is sovereign over all thingseven the little things, our anxiety will decrease despite the problems that we surely have to face in this life.

Still in the same section, the writer used the life story of Joseph in the Bible. I always like Joseph's story because his response to what life throws at him is just so inspiring. He lived his life according to God's ways, but he was bullied, he was betrayed, he went to prison for something he didn't do—and after waiting for more than 13 years, God's perfect plan was revealed. Max Lucado writes: "But if the story of Joseph teaches us anything, it is this: we have a choice. We can wear our hurt or wear our hope. We can outfit ourselves in our misfortune, or we can clothe ourselves in God's providence. We can cave in to to the pandemonium of life, or we can lean into the perfect plan of God." That part has definitely reminded me to keep choosing hope every single time. No matter what happens or how long it's taking, we just have to believe that God has a perfect plan for us.
"The good life begins, not when circumstances change, but when our attitude toward them does."
"Gratitude is a mindful awareness of the benefits of life. It is the greatest of virtues. Studies have linked the emotion with a variety of positive effects. Grateful people tend to be more empathetic and forgiving of others... Grateful individuals demonstrate less envy, materialism, and self-centeredness. Gratitude improves self-esteem and enhances relationships, quality of sleep, and longevity. If it came in a pill form, gratitude would be deemed the miracle cure. It's no wonder, then, that God's anxiety therapy includes a large, delightful dollop of gratitude."
The next one that I'm going to share is Meditate on good things, one of the chapters talks about Think About What You Think About. I've heard a lot of sermons on this specific topic so I know its' importance. But to be fair, it's definitely much easier said than done. Especially if you're like me who live my day to day life mostly based on autopilot and habits 😂. Thinking about what we think about certainly need a lot of conscious effort, but Max Lucado assured us that even though we cannot choose our birth date or our parents, we can always choose what to think about. When we are anxious, we should not feed our anxiety by assuming the worst, or reminding ourselves of our regrets and failures. What we should do is invest our time feeding our thoughts with what God says about us and His promises for our lives. He is a faithful God whose words are true now and forever 😊.
"Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life" (Prov. 4:23 NCV)."
"Do you want to be happy tomorrow? Then sow seeds of happiness today. (Count blessings. Memorize Bible verses. Pray. Sing hymns. Spend time with encouraging people.) Do you want to guarantee tomorrow's misery? Then wallow in a mental mud pit of self pity or guilt or anxiety today. (Assume the worst. Beat yourself up. Rehearse your regrets. Complain to complainers.) Thoughts have consequences."
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and Max Lucado's recipe on defeating anxiety. At the end of the book, there are also Questions for Reflection that might help us dig deeper into our own personal anxiety and figure out a way how to overcome it. I will definitely be picking up more books by Max Lucado in the future because I think he's a great writer and an incredible storyteller! I'm always grateful for the reminders that I got from reading these kinds of books. It has certainly helped me when I am feeling down or questioning some things about life. And like I said earlier, if you are someone who are constantly anxious, you can try picking this book up. Who knows, this book might just have the answer that you needed all along 😊.
"You long to be 'anxious for nothing.' You long for the fruit of the Spirit. But how do you bear this fruit? Try harder? No, hang tighter. Our assignment is not fruitfulness but faithfulness. The secret to fruit bearing and anxiety-free living is less about doing and more about abiding.

 by.stefaniesugia♥ .

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