Afraid of All the Things: Tornadoes, Cancer, Adoption, and Other Stuff You Need the Gospel For by Scarlet Hiltibidal

Book Blurb:

What does the gospel say about your fears? What does it say about the irrational ones, like sinkholes in the Target parking lot? How does it speak to the rational ones, like pet scan predictions? And does the gospel have a word for the fears you feel you’ll have for life, like the possibility of losing the one you love most?

Growing up in the green room of SNL, being born to a fire-eater and adopted by a SWAT cop, having internal organs explode, and adopting a deaf girl from China, Scarlet Hiltibidal has been given some strange life experiences—and lived in fear through most of them.

But life changed for Scarlet when she learned to hold the gospel up to her fears. She realized that though she can’t fix herself or protect herself, Jesus walked into this broken, sad, scary place to rescue, love, and cast out her—and your—fear.

Seeing life in light of the cross will help you avoid fear, overcome fear when you can’t avoid it, and live beyond fear when you don’t overcome it. You don’t have to be afraid of all the things. 

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

AnnaScott’s Review:

If there was ever a book to read coming off of 2020, this has to be it. Let’s just pause for a minute and review: wildfires, a global pandemic, the subsequent stock market crash and national toilet paper shortage, an impeachment trial, an election, murder hornets, hurricanes, and the list of things I didn’t even know to be afraid of could continue. Afraid of all the things just feels like a great summary of the year. Anyways, let’s just start this review by establishing that I am a naturally nervous person. As a result, I have read a lot about fear and overcoming it, and this is by far my favorite perspective.

First of all, Scarlet was so incredibly humble and real. A lot of times, Christian books about fear take a ‘you just need to have more faith’ approach. While their point may be valid, in my personal opinion it comes across as impersonal, a bit preachy, and just overall unhelpful for naturally nervous people. This was the exact opposite. Scarlet shared her fears over the years (irrational and not) in a way that was relatable, even though I’ve never been particularly paranoid about my appendix rupturing. She didn’t approach the topic from a place of having all the answers, but as a friend sharing her experiences. Fear is a topic that is frequently associated with shame (especially in the Christian community) and so this approach was such a blessing.

Another thing that I loved is how engaging this book was. Scarlet did a wonderful job integrating humor into her writing, to the point that I laughed harder while reading this than I have in a while. She has lived a fascinating life (did you notice that her mom was on SNL?), and so her wide variety of stories all kept me fully absorbed.

Finally (and most importantly), her theology was on point. It was a perfect mixture of personal accountability and grace. People who are naturally nervous generally cannot just ‘get over it,’ like other books have implied. Overcoming fearfulness is a journey that must be pursued actively, despite the ups and downs that come along. Her constant emphasis on the Gospel was both encouraging and challenging.

Overall, this was an excellent book, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who might be a bit naturally nervous.

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