Are fear and anxiety overwhelming your days and terrorizing your nights? This book is for you.
Fear and anxiety are linked chains of human emotions that continually erode our wellbeing. How can we vanquish these disruptive thoughts and feelings so that we can function effectively, live abundantly, dwell in stability and peace, and encounter the blessings of wellness? This book draws on both the professional and personal experience of a physician who has traveled that same fear-filled journey. He offers powerful and practical guidance from a medical, behavioral, and most important, a Christ-directed perspective to help you on the journey to a heart at peace.
John D. Eckrich, M.D.
John D. Eckrich, M.D. is a Christian physician and founder of Grace Place Wellness Ministries—a retreat-based organization that teaches wellness life practices to encourage joy, vibrancy, and longevity in ministry professions. As a board certified internist and gastroenterologist for over 40 years, he brings a unique perspective on the stewardship of the whole person—body, mind, and spirit.
Too often, subjects of vital importance are addressed with a segmented approach or from just a few perspectives. Fear, Anxiety and Wellness is a stunning exception to this norm that melds science, reason, psychology, and faith. Fear is at the root of all that diminishes human potential and a life of purpose, passion, and service. Dr. Eckrich’s book gets at the foundational underpinnings of fear from a multidisciplinary approach, which includes a Christian understanding of fear. While addressing the causes of fear, he also offers effective strategies to deal with fear and encourage our journey to wellness through Christ. Fear, Anxiety and Wellness is a powerful invitation to confront fear and to live each day with a faith that reminds us, “Perfect love casts out all fear.” As a former psychologist and current pastor, it is evident that pondering and acting upon Dr. Eckrich’s words will move the reader further down the path that God intends for each of us.
The Rev. Dr. Robert DeWetter
Episcopal Priest and Clinical Psychologist
Senior Pastor, Snowmass Chapel
As a regional and national church leader for almost 20 years, Fear, Anxiety and Wellness strikes a chord in my mind and heart. Dr. Eckrich has created a resource that will be most helpful to individuals, congregations, and organizations torn apart by internal strife, including regional ecclesiastical judicatories and national church bodies. Chapter Ten: “Facing Fear of Congregational and Denominational Conflict” is a must read for such troubled entities. Serious organizational strife can be healed only through the power of the Word of God, embellished by medical and psychological insight under the Spirit’s guidance. My experience in ecclesiastical supervision prompts my appreciation and commendation for Dr. Eckrich’s contribution to conquering the fear and anxiety that exacerbates congregational and denominational conflict. This book addresses this daunting task from both a practical and theological viewpoint. Get this book, read it, and thank God for it!
Rev. Dr. Gerald Kieschnick
President Emeritus, Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
Inheritance Legacy Consultant, Lutheran Foundation of Texas
Eckrich’s book is rich with helpful anecdotes and commentary from his personal life and clinical practice as he explores the causes and cures for this diagnosis. It is a privilege to have access to the insights of a Christian physician with sensitivities to the biological and spiritual underpinnings of both illness and the process of healing. The book will be of particular value for those who have suffered with anxiety as well as those who love or have befriended an anxious soul.
Beverly K. Yahnke, Ph.D.
Executive Director for Christian Counsel
Dr. Eckrich really gets it! Pastors have worked through their fear of public speaking (often to our dismay) but are plagued by the myriad other anxiety-causing forces of a life in ministry—whether “real or imagined,” as John would say. The in-depth but easily readable insights into the medical and physiological nature of our anxieties, combined with John’s Christ-centered prescription for remediation are a treasure trove for anyone, especially pastors fighting their way through this nightmare. I know this very well from my own 30 years of handling my fears often quite poorly. But with John’s guidance I’m rediscovering the joy of an (almost) anxiety-free ministry. Thanks, John! This resource will benefit the thousands of pastors you’ve already blessed and a generation to follow!
Rev. Dr. Darrell W. Zimmerman
Vice President and Program Director, Grace Place Wellness Ministries
Dr. Eckrich explores the depths of fear and anxiety as a physical, emotional, and spiritual human condition. He brings to his writing a lifetime of experience as a physician who is also a patient and devout Christian, retreat leader, and lifelong learner. The author reaches out to readers seeking an understanding of how fear affects a person and provides a faith-based prescription for living creatively with fear and anxiety. I would recommend this book as an educational resource to Christians struggling with fear and anxiety and to those who love and care for them. It is also an excellent resource for faith community nurses, pastoral caregivers, and congregational health volunteers.
Mary R. Jacob, Ed.D., ARNP, PSYMHCNS-BC
Psychiatric Nurse, Certified Spiritual Director
Dr. Eckrich has done a marvelous job of describing both the physiological and spiritual aspects of fear and anxiety. From a faith perspective, he identifies Christ and the forgiveness of sins as the source for healing, leading to a heart at peace. His professional and personal experiences substantiate his assertions and help the reader to relate to real-life applications. Since fear and anxiety are such important realities of the human experience, I recommend this book to all who seek to understand both their causes and cures.
Founder and Senior Ambassador
Ambassadors of Reconciliation
Dr. Eckrich has dedicated his life to medicine, caring holistically for people in their times of illness, disease, and impending death. He understands the intimate connection that God intended between body and soul, which makes us who we are—humans created in the very image and likeness of God. It is also clear in his treatment of fear and anxiety that an important part of caring for people is providing helpful information about the effects of fear and anxiety on their personal wellbeing and the spiritual, psychological, and medical resources provided by God to help us live life to the fullest. Moreover, Dr. Eckrich understands his call as a Christian physician, providing a faithful witness to the love of God in Jesus Christ with a warm invitation to receive forgiveness, healing, and life to all who look to him for these blessings.
Rev. John Fale, BCC, AAPC Certified Fellow
Executive Director, Office of International Mission
Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
As usual, Dr. Eckrich makes some fine distinctions and helps clergy, other ministers, and laity to navigate the complex and often dizzying world of stress, anxiety, fear, and guilt. With significant experience both in church circles and in the medical community, he not only translates higher-level psychology but also provides a framework for grafting sound psychological practices into Christian life and practice. This book is more than simply another psychological aid written for the educated clergyperson. It is an invaluable resource to help ministers to form healthier congregations while recognizing their own dysfunction. Dr. Eckrich encourages using the best of the psychological and theological traditions to work toward wholeness in Christ. He not only tells but also shows what it looks like to be thinking Christians—ones rooted deeply in grace and faith in the Lord’s death and resurrection and ones who are willing to allow that grace to transform even the most broken, hidden parts of ourselves.
Fr. Dominic McManus, OP
Dominican Friar, Province of Albert the Great
For better or worse, fear and anxiety invade every facet of our lives. The real question is, “What do we do about it?” In this book Dr. Eckrich addresses the issues and the solutions. As a doctor, John offers practical suggestions for dealing with and overcoming the fears we face every day. From a Christian perspective he also offers faith-based solutions that simply eradicate incapacitating fear from our lives. These solutions allow us to tap into the healing power of Jesus Christ, offering us the peace of God that passes all understanding.
Chairman Emeritus, Realty South
Elder, Briarwood Presbyterian Church (PCA)
Lay Counselor, Bible Teacher
Through his work with Grace Place Ministries, Dr. Eckrich demonstrates his passion for bringing hope and healing to those who have answered the call to ministry. John helps us all understand how the lack of health—physical, spiritual, financial, emotional—negatively impacts our ability to live out our God-given vocation to the fullest. In this book John tackles the difficult issues of fear, anxiety, guilt, and shame from multiple perspectives as these emotions attack our wellbeing and serving. Physician, patient, cancer survivor, and gifted layman, John always brings us back to the perfect prescription for wellness and wholeness: the saving grace, through faith, that is ours in Jesus Christ!
President and CEO, Health and Benefit Plans
Concordia Plan Services, LCMS
Imagine three intersecting circles: gifted physician, devout man of God, and patient advocate. Dr. Eckrich is all three—ready, willing, and able to help us all navigate the cascade of dangers to peace. Drawing on all three perspectives, his brilliant narrative brings it all together to give readers an understanding of the many threats in our lives—anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. While we are blessed to have amazing psychotropic medications to treat these conditions, much work remains to be done to fully heal. Dr. Eckrich conveys the insights and faith to conquer these many challenges we all face, with Christ at the center.
Follow Dr. Eckrich on his walk through fear, anxiety, guilt, and shame on the journey toward wellness. His walk includes his Gospel-based reflections born not only from theological and medical reflection but also, most importantly, from his own life’s experience. This alone is worth the read. Add the lengthy appendix on the most common fear-based mental illnesses facing our culture and the reader has a small reference book as well.
Rev. Dr. Bruce Hartung
Professor of Pastoral Formation, Emeritus
Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO
Call it what you will, “it” creates fear, warranted or not. Ignore it, bury it, store it, or carry it—it will have its way with you until you apply Dr. Eckrich’s hard-won wisdom from his professional and personal confrontations with this human phenomenon. He knows fear inside out and helps you name it, face it, and replace it with choices to conquer the beast and rest your weary soul. Free up your energy to live the life God, through Christ, intends.
Host, Syndicated Christian Women’s Talk Show
Family Counselor, Author