Tornadoes, black widows, and stranger danger, oh my! This world is a pretty frightening place. Scarlet Hiltibidal details in Afraid of All the Things how looming fears have swallowed up a major amount of time in her life from young child till adulthood and how Christ is always the answer to our fear.
And the type of palpable fear that Scarlet Hiltibidal talks about is something many of us have experienced. As a young child I was very fearful, but of generally senseless things: Ronald McDonald statues positioned at McDonald’s playgrounds, scorpion bites in north Georgia (thanks to the movie Hook and finding a rare scorpion corpse in the downstairs toy box), Candy Man, and well, you get the point. Then, I grew and had a time where my fears abated.
That was, until my life ricocheted out of control with sickness and all other uncontrollable and unforeseeable crises. For a couple of years, I handled it fairly well. But as more time passed, I started to believe that since life hadn’t gotten significantly better and more crises events still continued, that this would be the expected norm. Life just has to suck for me. Just expect it.
But of course with this expectation comes anxiety. I talked to a psychologist last year about the anxiety produced from my trail of life events and how this led me to catastrophizing.
She replied with, “Well, considering the circumstances you’ve endured, this is normal but not healthy.”
Normal, but not healthy.
Whether your fears are ‘normal’ and make sense or are random and nonsensical, here’s a helpful cue from
Afraid of All the Things.
“…Take comfort in the Word of God, and know that whatever scary thing you’re in or will be in, Jesus says that fear cannot defeat you.”
Trusting Jesus has to be our bedrock for overcoming fear which is the very thing Scarlet Hiltibidal focuses on in her book of Afraid of All the Things.
I love that Scarlet Hiltibidal’s book truly is a vulnerable piece that lays out what fear looks like, yet, she doesn’t stay there. She moves the book forward with what (or Who) should always be our solution: Christ. She also reasons that anxiety is complicated and can be a spiritual issue, but it can also be an issue with our brain chemistry. This is something I mention here.
Who is Afraid of All the Things For?
It’s obvious Afraid of All the Things book is intended for the worry prone, but I think it would also offer good insights to someone who doesn’t normally face worry. Why do I say this? It can be pretty difficult to know what a life looks like that’s different than our own. This includes someone who is normally calm trying to understand their fear prone friend.
I know there were moments when I wasn’t as fearful that I simply couldn’t understand why someone was scared of me with my health issues. An acquaintance may ramble off the words, “I’m just so scared my life could become yours.” And then the distance would take place from them and bitterness on my own end. Those moments flooded back to me reading Afraid of All the Things. Suddenly, I could understand a little more where they were coming from.
In short, Afraid of All the Things is an entertaining read that’s helpful to the worry-prone and their friends, and best of all, it’s God glorifying.
I’ll leave you guys with some of my favorite quotes from Afraid of All the Things:
“We’re not safe here in this broken place. Not a single one of us. But we don’t have to be afraid.”
“I think a common Christian hang-up is knowing we can be “cured of the disease of fearing” and yet struggling to rest. Struggling to trust. Struggling with fear and then fearing the fear we feel.”
“We remember that every breath we’re given is another moment of opportunity- opportunity to enjoy the love of Christ. It is another chance to share the love of Christ with a world that’s passing away- a world that is lost with even more reason to be scared than you are. To the lost , death stings. To those with Christ, death is the end. But us? We have Him. We have life. We have hope.
“Would you feel embarrassed if you had to take insulin because your pancreas wasn’t working as it should? The brain is an organ just like the pancreas, and who is going to criticize a diabetic for taking insulin?…Mental health management has its stigma, but it shouldn’t. If there is a pill that can help you stop hyperventilating all day, you should take it.”
“No mater where you suspect your anxiety might stem from, you should always be looking to God’s Word. Because as you seek Jesus, He brings you the assurance of your faith.”
“When we’re praying to feel something or to get something or forget something, we’re not going to experience the peace that comes from interceding with our made-everything, sustains-everything, still-has-time-to-listen Creator.”
“If we’re not praying relationally in an attempt to know and love God, if rather we’re praying in an attempt to fix ourselves while we’re running toward our fears, we waste our breath. God is full of mercy, but He wants your heart.”
“When you’re afraid, when you’re overcome with anxiety…remember who you’re talking to. Remember that God changes things and changes you and never changes.”
“[God] is the author of everything good. He makes everything new. And He is our hope.”
“If you can take the weakness you feel in the midst of your fear…if you can take that weakness and say, ‘Lord, use it,’ you’ll be astonished at what He will do.”
“Because [Jesus] resurrected, we will too. Brokenness won’t last forever. This is true. And believing that truth can shift our heart posture from fear of all things…fear of even death to profound peace.”
Hope is always an option,
I generously received this book free from B&H for an honest review.