MASTERING THE ART OF FREAKING OUT

Lance Hahn, How to Live in Fear: Mastering the Art of Freaking Out. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2016. 2034 pp. $10.350718035429_b

How to Live in Fear: Mastering the Art of Freaking Out by Lance Hahn is a book that addresses a variety of fears, including various anxiety disorders. The book is arranged in three parts and is summarized below:

Part 1: My Story
In Part one, the author shares in some detail his personal battle with fear and anxiety. He should be commended for the depth of transparency and his willingness to share his struggles with readers.  He should be especially acknowledged for his willingness to share his battles as a pastor.

Part 2: Our Journey Together
In Part two, Lance Hahn discusses some of the root causes of fear and anxiety. He reveals how our false assumptions lead to unwanted fears which typically begin to spiral out of control.
The author includes a helpful section on the pros and cons of medication, a controversial topic that some Christ-followers are simply unwilling to discuss. I found Hahn’s comments illuminating and thoughtful.

Finally, Pastor Hahn includes some meaningful suggestions on how to steal clear from the pit of fear and anxiety. He urges readers to discipline their thoughts and focus on the needs of other people. The benefits of exercise and the habit of journaling are explored, among other things.

Part 3: The Journey With Our Father
Part three leads readers to the ultimate solution which is found in a faith walk with Christ. The attributes of God are explained and readers are encouraged to dig deep into Scripture. The author encourages readers with a basic treatment of the sovereignty of God.  The author concludes by presenting what he refers to as the three truths to treasure, namely – 1) God loves you and cares for you, 2) God is in charge, and 3) God has not abandoned you.

Summary
One of the biggest challenges of writing reviews of Christian books is being charitable to the author but also providing honest feedback for potential readers. So I’ll be honest: I struggled a bit through this book. The author is a good writer and his transparency is refreshing. He is unafraid (irony?) of revealing who he is and is more than willing to share his personal struggles, not only with his congregation but also with his readers. This truly is one of the stronger points in the book. In being willing to sympathize with readers, he invites them to participate in the drama of anxiety. No doubt, many will be encouraged by this approach.

It is true that in part three, Pastor Hahn leads fellow strugglers to the only real hope, which is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Readers are encouraged to rely on Christ alone. My hope is that the gospel would have been emphasized more; that the benefits of the cross would have been explored and applied in greater detail, in order to serve people who battle with fear and anxiety.

As I completed the book, my thoughts turned to new believers who would benefit from Hanh’s book. It truly is an entry-level book for people who struggle with issues that pertain to fear and anxiety. So in the final analysis, I could recommend How to Live in Fear provided they move on to other resources that unpack the gospel with greater clarity. A few recommended resources include When I Am Afraid  by Ed Welch, Spiritual Depression and Let Not Your Heart by Troubled by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and Spurgeon’s Sorrows by Zach Eswine.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

3.5 stars

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