Review of Afraid of All the Things by Scarlet Hiltibidal
I got to meet Scarlet a few months ago and loved hearing about her journey of writing this book. Afraid of All the Things is an honesty memoir of her life, she first dreamed up writing as a 10 year old; yet, her life experience added new colors, depths, and shadows to the canvas God was painting in her life. Scarlet exposes her constant struggle with anxiety and fear as she faced hypochondria, an ectopic pregnancy, adoption, cancer, a broken home, and everyday life.
For anyone who has faced even moderate anxiety, Scarlet’s descriptions of her inner dialogue will feel both affirming and hilarious. She is honest, bold, and for real about her fears and struggles, displaying authentic quirkiness and dependence on the Lord, even after honestly naming her fears of relating to Him.
I read Afraid of All the Things in two short plane rides. Scarlet is an engaging author who invites you in through her honest, funny stories, and keeps you to bless you with some truth of how the gospel meets us in our deepest and craziest fears. As I sat on a small plane very close to the passenger next to me (who really smelled like beef jerky at 9am) I had to keep from laughing out loud at many of the stories she told.
Anxiety, though, is not the focal point of Afraid of All the Things, rather God is and His perfect love that casts out all fear. Scarlet honest in on the Truth of who God is and how he meets us in all of our fear and wondering with patience and faithfulness that is so radical and intimate.
Afraid of All the Things is uniquely posited to highlight some complex life circumstances and the anxiety that commonly surrounds it, yet Scarlet explains the Truths of who God is in such accessible means. This book could easily translate to a high school girl facing anxiety and fear all the way to a Mama who has sent her baby off to college.
The author is a mother of small children and at times I felt somewhat talked down to in the oversimplification of truths of the gospel- though I assumed them to be exactly how Scarlet interacted with God. Anxiety is a difficult issues which penetrates vast areas of an individual’s life. Using clichés and oversimplified Biblical truths can at time feel triggering, like using a dollar store water gun to put out a house fire you are trying to be rescued from.
Yet, I was so thankful when Scarlet reached into the depths of her struggle, honestly sharing about needing to go on medication, affirming the shame many believers face in that decision, and validating its biological need for many of us who face anxiety.