“I wanted to kill myself.”
Few people want to admit that, and even fewer pastors would.
However, that’s the first line of this book by Perry Noble, a leader who’s openly admitted he spent years of his life overwhelmed.
That’s why he wrote “Overwhelmed: Winning The War Against Worry.”
He’s preached about his own battle with depression, shared about his use of medication for mental illness, and continues this conversation in his book, “Overwhelmed.”
What You Won’t Read In The Book
What you won’t find in the pages of “Overwhelmed” is a list of dos and don’ts to keep your life in line. You won’t read ten easy steps to being a happy Christian. It’s not a book about his method of survival through anxiety.
What you will find in “Overwhelmed” is an honest account of Perry’s weaknesses and God’s strengths. You’ll read Perry’s story and parts of his journey through stressful and painful seasons. You will learn how Jesus doesn’t abandon us in our messes, but walks with us through it all.
Don’t Read This If…
“Overwhelmed” is not for people who have it all together. It’s not for those among us who seem to glide through life, unaffected by tragedy or discomfort. This book won’t help someone who lives a conflict-free life. Anyone who’s got a perfect family, a perfect past, and no fears or doubts — just skip this book. And for those who expect to get everything they want out of life and never suffer resistance of any kind, this book will be completely useless.
But if you’re not in that category, like me, this book has something for you.
God has something for you.
Who This Book Is For
This is a book for everyday people, who have everyday problems: little stresses, difficult situations, struggling families and busy schedules. It’s for our friends and parents and siblings who are given to worry, or who have a hard time coping with the changes of life.
“Overwhelmed” was written for those among us who are ordinary people but face extraordinary circumstances. It’s for those who work hard to do their best, but still hit a wall of resistance that seems insurmountable. It’s for people who want to have hope for their futures, but tread through valleys of depression and anxiety that leaves them hopeless.
Ignoring The Issue
For a variety of reasons, it’s become taboo in Christian circles to admit one feels sad and dejected much of the time. In the Church, it’s seldom mentioned. Our brothers and sisters battling crippling anxiety and panic attacks and mental illness are left in the shadows to fend for themselves, because it’s a messy topic. No Christian wants to be known as depressed, or God forbid, suicidal.
But for masses of people, that’s the truth.
It’s a real struggle real people face. It doesn’t make them any less human or any less Christian. They’re still passionately loved by God, His Spirit still lives in them and Jesus isn’t done with them.
Of all the people to be honest about our shortcomings and imperfections, those who follow Jesus should be the first.
It’s no secret that we’re each broken and imperfect in obvious (and not-so-obvious) ways. But our brokenness is not our defining factor: Jesus’ redemption is.
He’s in the business of taking the messes of our lives and making something amazing. He writes stories with our lives, in which He’s the hero who comes to the rescue, but in His time and in His ways.
Hurting people need to know they’re not alone. Their depression or worries or or suicidal thoughts may continue, but the presence of other people who understand their struggles is life-changing.
That’s what “Overwhelmed” does; it’s a reminder that God doesn’t abandon us to our circumstances. The book is a valuable, encouraging look at hard facts of life and revealing Jesus in the midst of our pain and hopelessness.
*Full disclosure: I was loaned a pre-release copy of the book to read for projects unrelated to this blog. This book review was written and posted of my own volition for the purpose of informing online readers of a valuable resource in exploring depression and related topics through a Christian perspective.
What books have helped you see through depression, anxiety, stress and suicidal thoughts? How has God changed your life from or through those things?