Friday, October 4, 2013

Calm My Anxious Heart: A Book Review

A few weeks ago I received a package in the mail from my best friend Kelley. I opened it to find 3 books: the bible, Calm My Anxious Heart, & How to be a Better You. The card was as sweet as can be since she knew I had been struggling with stress & anxiety as of late. She explained each book and why she thought it would help me as well as how they had helped her.

So I got to reading...

I started with Calm My Anxious Heart because I thought I needed it most. It can also be used as a 12 week bible study so I thought reading and answering the questions would be a good start for me to fully examine my life.

The book is 12 chapters with the first discussing the author and her journey to contentmen. The next 4 chapters (2-5) discuss contentment in the four main areas of our life: circumstances, being me, my role(s), and relationships. Being content is such a tricky thing. I feel like I am content at times but other times I want more. I was raised to be very goal-oriented and to dream big. I was also raised to be thankful & appreciative for all that I have been blessed with. Where do I find the balance? These chapters really helped me realize that being content with the gifts that God has given me, the role(s) and relationships that He has blessed me with doesn't mean I stop dreaming; it simply means I live in the moment of joy.

Chapters 6, 7, & 8 take a look at three elements that hender our contentment. The first being greed or the feeling that we never have enough. With social media so prevalent these days, we are often made to feel like our house isn't adequate, our hobbies aren't as tasteful, our parenting is par, etc. In the last few years, I have really tried hard to overcome this stigma. I can remember watching everyone else get engaged and literally breaking down into tears waiting on Ryan to propose. I am happy to say that this is an area where I have made great strides, but this chapter was a wonderful reminder/reality check.

The second contentment blocker is a faulty focus. Often in life we are focused on the wrong thing, living life without a purpose. I personally have a tough time getting through days when I don't have a plan or a focus. I feel like I've wasted the day. So why wouldn't this be the same in life? I have always thought about, prayed about, and written my goals at the start of each year. I also keep a "life goals" list for those things I hope to accomplish throughout my time here. This chpater was a wonderful reminder to continue re-evaluating my life purpose with God as the center.

The final issue is worry. Oh man do I need help in this area! I am a worrier with some many things about life; generally the small, insignificant issues. And of course some of the larger ones too! But worrying is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do, but doesn't get you anywhere. I felt a great sense of peace reading this chapter with the bible verses and examples of how people have lifted their worry up to God. It is something that I plan to and hope to practice in my daily life.

Chapter 9 turns the corner and begins to speak about how to become content. Faith must be our foundation in growing with God and becoming content within our hearts. Easier said than done of course as faith requires believing in what we cannot see.

The final three chapters discuss trust. Trusting God with the what ifs, the if onlys, and the whys. As humans, we want answers. Our fears are in the what if (i.e. what if I don't find a spouse, what if I lose my job, what if I can't have children). Fear inhibits us from faith and contentment. Our need for material things lies in if only (i.e. if only I made more money, if only I could have a better car, if only he loved me). Greed hardens the heart & soul. Our lack of faith is in the whys (i.e. why did I have to get injured, why did I have to get caught sneaking out, why did I have to get divorced). Without faith, we have nothing.

I really enjoyed reading this book and beginning my journey to contentment. I read each chapter then went back and did the questions to re-exam the chapters once more. This way I felt like I was able to double dip into the messages at hand.

I highly recommend this book to any woman who is seeking the contentment that we all deserve.

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