Jars of Clay

Anxiety, it is a feeling that has become a companion to many people. Anxiety is a crippling thing for some that can cause them to not leave the house and cause them to fear the smallest of tasks. Sadly, anxiety is not a stranger today, but it is a common feature in many people’s lives. Therefore, I am so happy that Catherine Haddow has written this great book to help the anxious soul.

One of the many things that I really like about this book is that Catherine tackles the complexities and difficulties head on. But she doesn’t only look at them from a medical perspective, she does a great job at brining biblical truths directly to the sufferer and points them to Christ. So why ‘Jars of Clay’?

“We are weak jars of clay; we are unremarkable, fragile and easily broken by life’s pressures. Yet inside us, we carry around an astonishing treasure: the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The book is split in two parts. The first part of the book talks about the experience of anxiety in every day life. Catherine begins with a great chapter on a biblical view of emotions. She says that…

  • Emotions reflect our image-bearing status
  • Emotions locate us in God’s redemptive story
  • Emotions are experienced differently
  • Emotions communicate
  • Emotions affect our embodied souls
  • Emotions are a spiritual smoke alarm

After that Catherine explains the experiences of anxiety in our soul, ou physiology and our bodies behaviour. This part of the book was eye opening, it helped me understand more about what a person with anxiety deals with day to day. With each page Catherine bring experience and biblical wisdom that will encourage, challenge and spur each reader on. Throughout the book there are also testimonies of people and how their anxiety impacts their everyday lives. There is hope for the anxious soul in God, and Catherine does a great job of bringing that hope to the forefront!

The second part of the book talks about experiencing God in everyday anxiety. This section is all about how the gospel impacts our lives and our anxiety. There is no quick fix. This book doesn’t promote a “come to Jesus and all will be well” ideology. It is real, it has been written out of experience of anxiety and its the gentle voice of a sister in Christ calling you to the Saviour who knows, who listens and who loves.

I highly recommend you grab a copy of this book and read it with someone. Buy two copies and ask to read it with someone over this next lockdown over Zoom or FaceTime, you will both be blessed. Head over to 10ofThose and grab a copy or two (or five, because of the discount) here.

Here are some of the great quotes that I found in this book, hopefully to whet your appetite…

“As we experience a range of positive and negative emotions, we image God’s emotions. However, there is an important difference we must note. God always experiences emotions perfectly. He experiences the appropriate emotion, for the right reason, to the right degree. We don’t. Our emotions are fallen, so we display a fallen image of God’s emotions.”

“Fear and anxiety remind us that living in this ‘now and not yet’ state is frightening. There are many threats we face. Our lives in this world are uncertain and insecure.”

“Instead of embracing our emotions to the point that they identify us, the other extreme we must avoid is stifling or crushing any emotions we experience. The stoical, stiff upper lip, and attitude of ‘keep calm and carry on’ at all costs, is not an approach we see in Scripture. Jesus, the image of the invisible God, clearly displayed emotions, some of them very strongly.”

“Whatever the cause, anxiety should drive us into the open arms of our loving, Heavenly Father, as voiced in the psalms. The alternative is to turn away from God, which leaves us spiralling downwards in an internal monologue of ‘what-ifs’.”

“Stepping out in faith does not mean we will suddenly stop being anxious, but that we recognise when we are anxious and then more quickly and more urgently re-orientate our gaze – away from ourselves and upwards to the cross of Christ.”

“Much secular help for anxiety is aimed at calming our physiology and equipping us to make better choices, think more positively or rationally, and alter unhelpful behaviours. In God’s common grace, there are undoubtedly helpful aspects to all of these approaches. However, a me-centred, ‘just-do-it’ approach is only as effective as the strength of our willpower. It fails to address to address the allegiance of our soul. It is an outer, rules-based modification rather than a sanctifying heart change through the Holy Spirit. When we focus on externals, tragically we fail to experience the tender touch of God’s grace, chasing us into the likeness of Christ.”

Again, Head over to 10ofThose and grab a copy or two (or five, because of the discount) here.

Catherine Haddow is a Chartered Psychologist and uses her training, aligned with Scripture, to offer counselling ministry to struggling believers. She is passionate about equipping individuals and churches to be used as God’s instruments to bring lasting change in peoples’ lives. Catherine often speaks at events and leads training sessions to equip others in this way.

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