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The Anxious Christian: Can God Use Your Anxiety for Good? Paperback – March 1, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

I loved this book. I often read something and think, this will be helpful to many, but I can't think of anyone who would not be helped by reading Rhett's book. It made me smile to see once more how God tucks the best news inside the most unusual boxes if we have the courage to open them.
Sheila Walsh, author of God Loves Broken People and Those Who Pretend They're Not

Rhett Smith asks Christians to stop and take seriously how God is using anxiety in their life. Rhett's an extraordinarily able pastor and counselor, and his surprising new take on the anxious Christian should be in the hands of every "3 AMer" out there.
Hugh Hewitt, nationally syndicated talk show host and author

For the first time, I see my anxiety as something to press into rather than run from. The Anxious Christian bears the same gifts as many of my favorite books: an earnest voice, a fresh perspective, and an invitation to begin a journey.
Scott McClellan, writer, editor, and director of the ECHO Conference

In these pages, the reader will read a truthful and vulnerable account of how the author has the courage and presence to use anxiety to point himself and his relationships toward the effort to change his own identity and patterns. Read slowly and re-read-you will be rewarded with wisdom that has a practical application of change in your journey of life.
Dr. Terry Hargrave, author and professor of Marriage and Family Therapy at Fuller Seminary

An important and timely book.  If there's an emotion that could define our post-modern world I believe it would be anxiety. Rhett helps disarm the power we often give anxiety by explaining how it can actually have purpose in the Christian life in that it is potentially a pathway for growth.
Jason Ingram, GRAMMY nominated songwriter, worship leader

Rhett's personal story is profoundly honest-vulnerable, agonizing, and joyful. He will not settle for the quick fixes of pop psychology or the veneer of superficial Christianity. In reading The Anxious Christian you will find yourself plunged into the heart of anxiety, and in the deep waters of God's healing grace.
Adam S. McHugh, author of Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture

In The Anxious Christian, Rhett Smith brings an honest, vulnerable, and refreshing view to anxiety and faith.
R.O. Smith, co-director of Youth Discipleship at Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles

Rhett's writing is thoughtful, authentic, and relatable. Rhett gently challenges the stereotypes that most Christians have about anxiety and leads us into the redemptive freedom of choice that we have been given. His unique perspective is restorative and hopeful.
Mindy Coates Smith, D.Min., part-time instructor at Fuller Theological Seminary, and co-director of Youth Discipleship at Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles

From the Inside Flap

Foreword by Jon Acuff, Quitter and Start


Sheila Walsh, God Loves Broken People and Those Who Pretend They're Not"

I loved this book. I often read something and think, this will be helpful to many, but I can't think of anyone who would not be helped by reading Rhett's book. It made me smile to see once more how God tucks the best news inside the most unusual boxes if we have the courage to open them."

Hugh Hewitt, Nationally Syndicated Talk Show Host and Author

"Rhett Smith asks Christians to stop and take seriously how God is using anxiety in their life. Rhett's an extraordinary able pastor and counselor, and his surprising new take on the anxious Christian should be in the hands of every '3 AMer' out there."

Scott McClellan, Tell Me a Story

"For the first time, I see my anxiety as something to press into rather than run from. The Anxious Christian bears the same gifts as many of my favorite books: an earnest voice, a fresh perspective, and an invitation to begin a journey."

Terry Hargrave, Author, Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy at Fuller Seminary

"In these pages, the reader will read a truthful and vulnerable account of how the author has courage and presence to use anxiety to point himself and his relationships toward the effort to change his own identity and patterns. Read slowly and re-read--you will be rewarded with wisdom that has a practical application of change in your journey of life.

Jason Ingram, Grammy-nominated songwriter, worship leader

"An important and timely book. If there's an emotion that could define our postmodern world I believe it would be anxiety. Rhett helps disarm the power we often give anxiety by explaining how it can actually have purpose in the Christian life in that it is potentially a pathway for growth."

Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church

"Rhett's personal story is profoundly honest--vulnerable, agonizing, and joyful. He will not settle for the quick fixes of pop psychology or the veneer of superficial Christianity. In reading The Anxious Christian you will find yourself plunged into the heart of anxiety, and in the deep waters of God's healing grace.

R.O. Smith, Coordinator of Youth Discipleship at Bel Air Presbyterian, Los Angeles

"In the Anxious Christian, Rhett Smith brings an honest, vulnerable, and refreshing view to anxiety and faith."

Mindy Coates Smith, Instructor at Fuller Seminary and CO-Director of Youth Discipleship at Bel Air Presbyterian, Los Angeles

"Rhett's writing is thoughtful, authentic, and relatable. Rhett gently challenges the stereotypes that most Christians have about anxiety and leads us into the redemptive freedom of choice that we have been given. His unique perspective is restorative and hopeful.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Moody Publishers; New edition (March 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802404448
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802404442
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,061,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Rhett Smith approaches a challenging topic--one that is often tackled with a "fix it" perspective--with gentleness, wisdom, and compelling insight. I love how he shares transparently from his own challenges and struggles with anxiety, while at the same time drawing on his considerable experience and training as licensed marriage and family therapist.

Discussions about anxiety so often approach it as a problem to be fixed--one that is ultimately shameful and a sign of weakness, and one that should be hidden from others in professional settings and even at times in personal relationships.

But Rhett forgoes these all-too-common approaches in The Anxious Christian: Can God Use Your Anxiety for Good? and instead delves into how anxiety can be a potential source of good in a person's life.

For me personally, I was really touched by his exploration of how our anxiety can be reimagined, that is, how God can use it to reshape pain and suffering in powerful ways. Rhett writes that "[anxiety] is God's tool to help you grow, and the catalyst that helps us get unstuck and move out of the rut." In fact, God uses anxiety, Rhett explains, "[...] as a way for you to give birth to new life and to follow after the new opportunities that are out there that He is calling you toward" (p.76).

As someone who has experienced anxiety to deep and impacting degrees at many points in my life, I found this book to contain very good news--a most welcome message of hope.
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Format: Paperback
Rhett has managed to take the topic of anxiety and wrap it with a humble instruction. He clearly shows that anxiety is not a final destination but can be a journey of discovering critical truth. Anxious Christian lifts this struggle from the cellar of shame, that much of society has labeled it, and provides a new perspective laced with hope. For those who have grappled with anxiety of any kind they will find a worthwhile and helpful read in Anxious Christian administered through the lens of Rhett's own journey. It is a rare and delightful treat to see someone with depth of knowledge and professional acuity apply it with such a careful humility. Read this book!
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Format: Paperback
“I was a thirty-five-year-old grown man sitting in my therapist’s office sobbing like an uncontrollable child…I began to realize that all those years I had allowed anxiety to get a stronger hold over my life… But anxiety was still in a battle to exert more control over my life than I wanted.” (Rhett Smith, The Anxious Christian, 174)

Smith provides assurance to anxious people that “God does not leave you alone in your anxiety…” (76). He generously shares his own experiences with marital problems, career concerns, and losing a parent. In what reads more like a memoir than self-help, Smith is like a friend saying “I know how you feel.”

The problem with The Anxious Christian is its theology on suffering. Smith, a licensed therapist, seems to endorse the idea that anxiety is from God rather than the result of living in an imperfect world. Referencing a session with a therapy client and the cause of the person’s anxiety, Smith asked the client, “What if God put that anxiety in your life for a purpose?” (84) Smith also reflects on his own life and suggests “…anxiety was perhaps a feeling that God had placed in my life to help bring about change.” (88)

The idea of God bringing a spirit of power, love and a sound mind doesn’t seem to match with Smith’s idea that God is the source of anxiety.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
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Format: Paperback
I am not sure what I appreciate more about Rhett Smith's "The Anxious Christian: Can God Use Your Anxiety for Good?," the argument he makes or how he makes it. In this book Smith's basic premise--about which I think he is certainly right-- may seem counter-intuitive to many. As his subtitle hints, he does not argue that anxiety is carte blanche a negative emotion to be avoided, escaped as quickly as possible, or ignored. Smith does not tell you that you are wrong, faithless, or somehow emotionally deficient for having anxiety. Instead he makes the case that anxiety--though not fun and easy--can be something that God can use to help one grow in life and to recognize and face head-on past and present issues that a person may otherwise never deal with.

Thankfully, "The Anxious Christian" does not take an unsophisticated view that all anxiety functions in the same way or always manifests positively (i.e. Smith does not paint a glorified or over-simplistic picture of his perspective on anxiety). He acknowledges in several places that anxiety can take helpful and harmful forms. For example, Smith notes that it is natural and good to have butterflies before public speaking or while saying your wedding vows. But there are experiences of anxiety that can become "characterized by worry and an inability to make decisions in life, leading to mental and emotional paralysis" (p. 33). However, whichever kind of anxiety one may have--and the book primarily is about facing the fearful, debilitating kind--it still does not have to be characterized as something devoid of value or as a hopeless state to be denied or abandoned to. In essence, Smith suggests in a non-pray-it-away way that anxiety can become what you allow God to make of it (i.e.
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