Book Review - Letting Go of Fear, Worry and Anxiety

by Cynthia Washington

Gresham counselor Pam Vredevelt offers us a book on reducing worry and anxiety in our lives. Ms. Vredevelt's books are well written, scripturally sound and encouraging. Brief, to the point, and presented in language that is understandable to both Christian and nonbeliever, Letting Go of Worry an Anxiety is the kind of book that you can give to anyone in the middle of crises.

She quotes Bernard Meltzer, "Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but doesn't get you anywhere". But Vredevelt also shows the energizing side of these turbulent emotions and underscores their usefulness in motivating and charging us to undertake tasks that we'd rather avoid. She offers us an array of simple, solid tools to use on a daily basis to decrease anxiety and worry.

Her chapter on sharing our burdens with others asks us to consider if they listen well, have experience with whatever is troubling us, if we are sure they have our best interests at heart, if they have a track record of integrity and are healthy enough to offer suggestions and then give us the freedom to make our own decisions.

The author's suggestions are never overwhelming, she doesn't preach down to the reader and doesn't "should" us to death. She uses anecdotal examples from her private life and professional experiences as a counselor. The author tells the story of a patient in higher management who was anticipating the worst during a time of corporate downsizing He stated, "I knew I was in trouble when my boss walked past me in the hall and didn't even acknowledge me." He was sure his boss was avoiding him because he knew he would be next to be fired. Vredevelt and the patient agreed that his next move should be to schedule some time with the boss and get a reality check. The manager returned to Vredevelt's office to admit that his impression of the incident in the hallway was off the mark, fueled by irrational fears.

Fear, the author points out, can be made into the acrostic, "false evidence appearing real." She offers her own acrostic for faith, which she believes to be the opposite of fear: Fully Abandoned (to God) In Trust (and) Humility.

Letting Go of Worry and Anxiety is Biblically reliable, well written and holds more nuggets of wisdom and truth than can be absorbed in one sitting. This would be an excellent book to give to the people you know who are in need of peace and stillness of spirit. Highly recommended.

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