Book Review: How To Overcome Worry

How To Overcome Worry:  Experiencing The Peace Of God In Every Situation, by Dr. Winfred Neely

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by Moody Publishers.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

In many ways, this book requires a great deal of proper framing of one’s expectations.  At around 100 pages even when one includes its appendices, and those pages are very small ones as this book could almost fit inside of one of my pockets, this is not a book that offers a thorough treatment of worry and anxiety.  The author treats these as synonymous terms, and he also comments that he does not wish to treat clinical anxiety that is the result of trauma [1], but rather the sort of worry that people have as a result of a lack of faith.  And that is a thoughtful place for this book to rest, in that it encourages believers to develop a faith in God that gives one peace while not attacking those whose anxiety is the result not of a lack of faith but as a result of traumatic experiences in a fallen world full of broken people.  Even to such people who read this book carefully, the author’s perspective allows him to avoid blaming while also encouraging others to build their faith.

The author deals with the subject of worry in five chapters.  The first chapter examines the troubled waters of worry, and includes what it is that people worry about and how worry is often related to the dynamic between our concern about people and their lack of concern for us.  After that the author discusses the bold biblical imperative not to worry, and then spends a chapter discussing the antidote to worry in prayer and cultivating faith and trust in God.  The author then spends some time talking about the precious promise for hard-pressed people that He will give us peace, and not expect us to create that peace for ourselves.  The fifth and final chapter of the book deals with how we walk in freedom from worry, again, with a focus on prayer and faith and trust in God.  After this main section of the book there are three appendices, the first showing a pattern for prayer, the second a list of scriptures to memorize and call to mind to aid in the battle against worry, and the third one a set of questions for individual reflection and group study.

How is one to view this book?  Is it a helpful one?  I think it can be, although its helpfulness is limited to those who have a belief in the scriptures as a guide to one’s life as well as the model of behavior that we seek to attain and who are willing to trust God to work within us the sort of patience and faith and confidence that is necessary to live without worry and in His perfect peace.  The author is wise to note that this cannot be done through our own efforts, and is also wise and compassionate to note that some people struggle with anxiety at a deeper level than others because of the experience of deep suffering and evil.  It is unclear why the author does not wish to talk about this at a deeper level, but the fact that he acknowledges it is a noteworthy accomplishment and a way that the book serves as an encouraging guide to overcome worry rather than a bludgeon against those whose anxiety springs from trauma rather than from an absence of faith, given that not everyone who deals with the subject is thoughtful in distinguishing between these two things.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/01/14/book-review-the-age-of-anxiety/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/07/09/book-review-coping-with-anxiety/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/07/08/book-review-anxiety-and-avoidance/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/03/15/book-review-the-compassionate-mind-guide-to-overcoming-anxiety/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Book Reviews, Christianity and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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