Review: How Not to Be Afraid by Gareth Higgins

The vision of life has changed for many people over the past year as the world is encompassed by a mass pandemic. This is a good point in time for Higgins book to take center stage. Taking precautions this past year by making sure we wash our hands and wear masks should seem simple. However, some equate that with living in fear and not trusting in God. When caring for others safety is not fear.

How Not To Be Afraid is part memoir bringing the events of Higgins life of growing up in Northern Ireland to light. As he shares his fears of living through times of uncertainty it connects the reader with their own personal fears. Higgins is extremely relatable as he shares his personal stories and connects with opportunities for reflection and healing.

His call to live in relationship and community helps dispel the fear. In his guidance, he turns from memoir to someone walking alongside the reader like a spiritual companion. The notion of the story we tell ourselves is how we live into the fear seems very accurate. To surround ourselves with stories, builds a strong foundation of hope. It provides shelter. Higgins writes, “And a shelter is a kind of story. It’s a blanket we’re weaving that covers us, enveloping us in its warmth and hope. A trustable story shelter is a treasure indeed. And a trustable story shelter has three elements: mentors, calling, and community.” (pg 145)

You may not find connection with each of the seven fears that the author presents, but his stories wrapped around those fears bring them to life. If we are honest with ourselves, I truly think everyone has encountered the fear. He calls the reader into a new way of being and living through that fear. Each chapter concludes with the opportunity for contemplation or practice. Drawing one out of fear and into a new way of living.

This book could be an endless resource and one to return to again and again for your own personal growth or to help others.

By Alex Steward

I am a husband, father, and pastor within the ELCA. I did not grow up in the church and thus come at this pastoring thing with an unique perspective.

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