Review of Alana Terry’s Paralyzed.
I honestly didn’t know if I was going to be able to continue. Kennedy was clearly experiencing an anxiety attack. I’ve had those. I went through a season last year where they happened a few times a week sometimes. It’s a terrifying thing. And when I started reading Paralyzed, I wasn’t sure if I could keep going. I’m glad I did. It was just real enough to not feel like it was fake if you’ve been there. (But it didn’t give me nightmares.) There’s that question. Does going to therapy make you a bad Christian?
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I see where the question comes from. We don’t ever want to rely on people or human wisdom instead of God’s wisdom. That’s not biblical. And frankly, well, God is God; he outranks all the rest. And some psychology traditions have ideas that just don’t mesh so well with a Christian worldview. But that doesn’t stop most of us from going to a doctor or a lawyer or a football coach or a personal trainer. We just make sure that who we go to has the same value system.
Well, actually, she protests her need to even wrestle with it as she fights the label of PTSD…and a very real physical threat too…after experiencing a kidnapping. My favorite thing about Alana Terry isn’t her ability to keep me up with the suspense. My very “most favoritist” thing about Alana Terry is that she doesn’t just ask the hard questions. She brings us into the lives of those real people in the middle of those hard questions. In Unplanned, teen pregnancy and abortion took on a very human face, and in Paralyzed, anxiety and PTSD do the same thing. I would absolutely recommend this book to just about anyone…except possibly if hearing about someone else’s anxiety might trigger your own. I found that it did the opposite for me.
Ms. Terry’s work sure makes you think! One of my favorite ways to “think” is to write, so I’ve put together a free download with 15+ journal questions to use after you read fiction. You can access it below.
By the way, my answer to that question.
The one about going to therapy and bad Christians? It’s a resounding no. Scripture teaches us to seek wise counsel, even though counsel really belongs to the Lord, because God can use counselors (just like doctors, lawyers, and tax accountants) to speak truth into our lives. I do think it is important to make sure your therapist is on board with your belief system. My great Christian counselor held me accountable while I worked to rebuild healthy friendships to fill that accountability requirement. She helped me identify the feelings I was experiencing and the activities that were contributing to them…just like your doctor might tell you that the rash is caused by an allergic reaction.
Over the past year, I’ve been learning to take care of God’s temple (me) and to do things that will help me serve others. I’ve been learning to set God-ordained boundaries. I’ve even learned to pray in different ways. It’s not a God-or-therapy question. It’s more like this: therapy is one of the great tools (and relationships) God has given me to help get healthy, both emotionally and spiritually. So, no, going to therapy doesn’t make you a bad Christian. But it might make you a better one.
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