By now you all know me pretty well…other than reading the Bible, I generally steer clear of reading non-fiction books. The exception comes in reading books that I really think will help me to grow in my faith. One such book came around this year and to be honest, really changed my thinking in a lot of ways.
That book is Running Scared by Edward T. Welch. Good ‘ole Ed and I go way back to my college years (that are rapidly feeling like a long time ago :)). One of his books was given as assigned reading in my counseling class, but maybe not-so-ironically it wasn’t this book but another of his books that made a lasting impression on me. That book was When People are Big and God Is Small: Overcoming peer pressure, codependency and the fear of man.
When People are Big and God Is Small deals with the issue of people-pleasing and how this can permeate our actions and reveal a heart that is more focused on serving self than serving God. I didn’t realize how big of an issue this was for me until I read the book and each page seemed to peel back a new layer of behaviors that I’d never seen through the light of Scripture in quite that amount of depth. Paradigm shifting for me.
With Running Scared, I get the feeling that the book was written just for me for a time in my life where fear reigned supreme. One thing I hate about a lot of Christian living books is that they talk in abstract. I realize a lot of good can come from reading a book with loftier ideas, but mostly I’m looking for a book to meet me where I am, call it like it is, and gently redirect my thinking to be more godly. This book really does that.
I felt as though the author pulled out my murky, ambiguous thoughts that kept me trapped in my state of anxiety and then defined them, refuted them, and gave me strategies to defeat them. Not only was the book incredibly insightful and practical, but reading it made me feel like I wasn’t alone in my silly but crippling irrationalities and that there was hope for a different life. It was jam-packed with applicable Scriptures and honestly approached these passages with intensely practical application for my current situation.
I wept. I praised. I sat in silence. And at the end of reading it, I was changed not because of man who wrote a book but because the Lord used that man his book to change my life.
II Corinthians 1:3-4:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”