Helen Thorne’s latest book, Hope in an Anxious World has just been published. We caught up with Helen (our Director of Training and Resources) to find out a little more about how the book came to be and how it might fuel our care of people around us.
What led you to write a book on anxiety?
As is so often the case, there were a range of reasons why this book came into being. Part of the motivation was pastoral – there are so many people struggling with anxiety and finding it hard to persevere – it seemed sensible to produce a new resource (to go alongside some excellent existing resources) to help fuel their walk with the Lord. But part of the motivation was missional – over recent years, I’ve been invited to do lots of evangelistic talks on anxiety and I struggled to find an obvious book to give away at the end. At the same time, a number of churches approached me to ask if I could write something that would help them reach out to their anxious non-Christian friends. And thirdly, it was personal. I struggle with anxiety myself and I thought it would be no bad idea to do some serious thinking and praying about a topic that impacts my own heart so much.
What approach have you taken to the issue of anxiety?
The book itself starts with an overview of what anxiety is and how it can grow in our hearts. It then goes on to look at some simple, practical strategies we can all put into action. But the bulk of the book looks at some of the lies of anxiety. If you’ve ever struggled yourself, you’ll know that the anxious mind finds it so easy to believe that you’re all alone, everything’s out of control, no-one understands, no-one cares, everything’s your fault, there is no hope and you can never change. Those thoughts often come as naturally to us as breathing. But they’re not true! What the book does is look in turn at 6 of anxiety’s lies and see what God’s word says in response. And, as we do that, we see the reality that, even on the toughest of days, we are loved, secure, being led, equipped, changing and full of hope. Those things make a difference to our anxious hearts.
What difference do you hope this book will make?
Reading the book won’t suddenly magic away anxious feelings but by seeing the lies of anxiety for what they are and by encouraging us all to lift our eyes to see the character and activity of God more clearly, it’s my hope that we will all experience change in our anxious hearts. It’s my prayer that it will bring readers hope, encourage them to pursue a relationship with Jesus more passionately and help them reframe their experiences in the light of the gospel and, in the process, enable us all to build trust in the God whose wise rule and good purposes never fail. For some of us that might result in our anxiety dissipating significantly – for others of us, we will know the joy of being able to persevere through our anxiety with more confidence in the Lord who loves us so much. For all, it provides a context in which we can explore Christ and grow in Christ.
How do you hope the book will be used?
Hope in an Anxious World has hopefully been written in such a way that it’s a really flexible resource for churches. It’s not a long book so it’s good for Christians who are feeling rough, finding it hard to concentrate and need some bite-sized encouragement as they sit on the sofa alone. It’s also a fairly structured book, so that lends itself to one-to-one counselling or discipleship relationships where a chapter a week can be read, discussed and prayed-through. It’s a topical book (there’s been an extraordinary rise in anxiety throughout the pandemic) so it might make a suitable “book of the term” for churches who like to read things together. But it’s also been written to be a give-away book. The text is Jesus-centred but it doesn’t assume every reader will be a Christian and so hopefully it will be a helpful resource in reaching out to our anxious neighbours too.
Where can we get hold of a copy?
Hope in an Anxious World is published by The Good Book Company and is available directly from them or all the other usual outlets for Christian books. Please pray it’s a fruitful resource!