Just before moving to West London, I had a tough year. Despite knowing the comfort of Jesus, anxiety started to take root in my thoughts. At first, I thought I could manage, but one day I had a panic attack at Asda with a very young Charis. It scared me.
It took a lot of courage, but I started to share these struggles with some friends and they started to nod in agreement, as if they had walked a similar path. Turns out anxiety is not so uncommon, even among Christians who are reminded not to ‘not worry about life’ (Matthew 6:25). One of my friends shared a blog post with me, written by the writer Ann Voskamp, that seemed to sum up my brokenness. I was so struck by her words and her insight that I immediately ordered her book ‘One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.’ To say that book saved me is not an exaggeration. There were days when I couldn’t face the world, read the Bible or pray coherently. Her words started to unpick the knot in my mind, allowing God to enter in.
Anxiety surfaced in a season of ‘lockdown’ in my life, when my daily tasks consisted ‘only’ of domestic chores. It could be that you too are sensing a rise in anxious thoughts while your life is confined to four walls. Please don’t walk this season alone. If that’s you and you’re interested in this book, may I suggest we read Voskamp’s book together as an online group via what’s app and zoom? If you would like to join, please let me know by email or phone by Friday 3rd April – and then I can send out further details. Alternatively, if online book groups are not for you, you may just want to read the book on your own and share your thoughts with me after you’ve finished. The book is available in print, on kindle and as an audio book. For a flavour of her writing, this is a recent blog post she wrote in response to the Covid-19 pandemic: https://annvoskamp.com/2020/03/the-secret-muscle-you-need-to-crush-fear-seize-joy-be-strong-in-a-crisis/