Capturing Thoughts for the Anxious Christian – book review
October 7, 2019
I don’t generally write book reviews here – mostly because I’m too lazy to take the time, not because I don’t love the books I read. However, I recently read through this one, and it was so gorgeous, I had to share it with you.
Capturing Thoughts for the Anxious Christian is a collection of prayers, meditations, and insights written by a woman who is intimately familiar with the debilitating effects of anxiety. Even if some of us don’t have a medical diagnosis of anxiety, I think we can all relate to the feeling of being overcome by sadness, worry or other negative thoughts.
I met the author, Stevie Swift, at a writer’s conference recently (after I had read the book), and I was blown away by how down to earth and on fire for God that she was. I can’t really do her justice, so I asked her a few questions and I’ll let her answer them in her own words.
Interview with Stevie Swift, author of Capturing Thoughts
I’ve started to type out an answer to this question about ten times, but the honest answer is I’m not entirely sure why I wrote it. God said to write these things down – He said they would help people – and so I wrote them down.
Over the years I’ve learned to nip anxiety triggers before they grow too huge and part of that is grabbing certain thoughts and talking them down.
Those words I use to talk those thoughts down – those are the words that fill this book. Originally I thought it would be a collection I could offer as a free download on my website, but as God gave me more to write and the pages grew and grew, I felt pretty confident this would be something people would like to hold in their hands.
Each page contains a short meditation, lament, or prayer. It can be used as a devotional tool, or as something you grab and flip open randomly in a tough moment, or you might read it all the way through and bookmark the most useful pages.
2. Who is this book meant for? Is it denomination or age-specific?
As I wrote, I thought these words would mostly be useful to Christians who deal with anxiety, but this thought was because the words flowed from my own struggle with anxiety. Now that I think about it, that’s a bit self-centered on my part. In reality, I think the words in Capturing Thoughts are for anyone chasing Jesus with their whole heart, soul, and mind.
It is for anyone who wants to take their eyes off things that are not Jesus and redirect them on their Savior. I’ll admit a little ignorance when it comes to denominational differences and just say this book is filled with truths about Jesus, about what He did for us, about what He asks of us, about how much He loves us. I think it’s for anyone who needs more Jesus.
author has their own process for creating content. What was your process for
The process for this project was to strap in and hold on.
I think it was only a few weeks after God put the project on my heart that anxiety triggers began flying at me – one after another, from all directions – it was insane.
In the thick of it, the process looked like bits of paper everywhere – shoved into my bible and journals and scattered on the floor. It looked like the worst anxiety I’ve experienced in years and knowing I was experiencing it, in part, so I could write the words in this book from an authentic place. It looked like being a little annoyed with God because I felt like He was squeezing, or allowing me to be squeezed, so these words would drip out. It looked like realizing I was okay with being squeezed if it helped even one person, and it looked like deciding to trust God is doing what is best for me even when it feels like being in an oil press.
Part of me hopes future projects aren’t born of such chaos, but the adventurous part of me is looking back and thinking maybe it wasn’t so bad. I grew a lot and for that I’m grateful.
can people purchase the book?
The book is on Amazon here and I’m planning to have it listed in my Etsy shop soon as well.
someone who has been there, what advice would you give to people struggling
First, you are not alone. Anxiety and depression seem to both attack with a sidekick – the sneaky desire to hide and pretend and think it’s only you who feels THIS particular thing and you better keep it to yourself and keep saying “fine, I’m fine.” Don’t listen to the sidekick – don’t isolate.
Second, God already knows about everything going on between your ears and in your heart. Let everything you encounter in this life, anxiety included, push you closer to Him. There are horrible, hard, painful things in this world.
Humans tend to want to ignore the pain, and spin the horrible, and hide from the hard – I think we should dump the ignoring and spinning and hiding in favor of holding the thing, exactly as it is, out to God.
– Stevie Swift
there a particular verse that you go to when you find yourself worrying?
If I had to pick just one, it would be Luke 10:42. After Martha complained about Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus rather than helping her with the serving, Jesus said something I cling to often. He said Mary has found the one thing she needs and it will not be taken away from her.
He IS the one thing I need. I don’t need anything else beyond Him. I only need Jesus. Everything else could fall away, I could lose everything and everyone, but I only need Him.
And He will not be taken away from me. Nothing can separate us. So not only is He the ONLY thing I need, but He is also the one thing that cannot ever be taken away from me.
Sandra Samoska is a writer with a love for Jesus and a love for family. When she's not chasing around her four kids and doing all the things, you can find her writing about the ways God shows up in our every day lives.