A Path To Restoration: A Study Guide, by Lois Brittell
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/WestBow Press. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Before going into this book, it would be worthwhile to point out that this book is a study guide to one of the author’s other books, called It’s All About Him. This book continually references that earlier one (which I am unfamiliar with), to the point where it would make a terrible drinking game to take a shot every time that other book is mentioned. It’s a bit distracting, really, how often that happens. Despite that, though, this book is worthwhile in that it is a book that seeks to wrestle with problems of fear and anxiety, and it gives a lot of information about the author’s own struggle with these issues . I’m not sure if every reader, even those many who struggle with mental health issues ourselves, will be able to gain a lot of encouragement for themselves, but this book seems to have been therapeutic for the author, and that itself is worthy of note and makes this book worthwhile. If all this book does is show an author writing in order to calm themselves and feel less anxious, then that is of value in giving an example for later writers to follow.
In terms of its contents, this book is of fairly average length and has a straightforward organization of four parts with twelve chapters total. The first part of the book looks at what God has done, reminding the reader that life is all about Him, and that we were created by Him and find our identity in Him. The second part of the book looks at what God asks of others, namely loving God, loving others as created in God’s image, and praying to God. The author gets a fairly broad view, but misses some opportunity to point out aspects of God’s law that are less well-known in contemporary culture that could provide some worthwhile ways of dealing with anxiety, including the rest that we should at least theoretically be able to find in the Sabbath. In the third part of the book, the author contrasts three negative states of being in anxiety, depression, and arrogance, with three contrary states of being in peace, contentment, and humility, as elusive as those may be for some of us. In the fourth section, the author explores how we are restored in God, with a great deal of discussion about her own personal experience, through detachment, conviction, and then restoration, after which the author closes with sources and an afterword.
There are at least a few ways where this author is probably not a good example for at least some readers. She has some uncomfortable tendencies to have tried everything, which at least makes her relatable to her audience. She combines a faith in God and a desire to empty ourselves of anxiety and negative thinking by filling ourselves with God’s word along with a great reliance on psychotherapy, which befits her own role as a Christian counselor. The tension between the author’s faith and her own profession, between her desire to praise and serve God and her desire to show herself an authority on mental health, her desire to seek healing for her own scars while also behaving in a somewhat preachy tone to her audience make this book a less coherent book than it could have been. It is unclear whether the author is aware of the ways in which she is in tension with herself, but whether she is or not, there are some fascinating elements to this book and the way that the author manages to find more peace for herself, at least providing a way out of unproductive wallowing through one’s God-given abilities of creating and giving voice to one’s concerns.
 See, for example: