On Getting Out of Bed: The Burden & Gift of Living, by Alan Noble

On Getting Out of Bed: The Burden and Gift of Living

Intervarsity Press, 2023, 120 pp.

This book is for anyone who–or anyone who knows anyone who–has ever been brought low by the weight of life in a fallen world.

Perhaps you’ve seen books that said:

  • Your depression is your own fault.
  • You just need to get over it.
  • You’ve no excuse to feel down; other people have it worse than you.

This is not that book.

Central to Noble’s thesis is that, even if you aren’t daily surrounded by trauma and tragedy, life is hard. Coping strategies can help us get through mental health crises. But ultimately, Noble says, we need more than survival techniques to help us get by.

“While we may hesitate to call getting out of bed ‘courageous,’ it is undeniably true that everyday life demands a great deal of courage.” (p. 103)

Noble advocates a perspective on the world in which God’s grace and glory are central. Such an arrangement sidelines both our moral worth and our utilitarian value. God’s grace overrides our moral failings. And he loves us without needing us. The self-sufficient God seeks to enter into relationship with us. These realities negate depression fueled by a sense of unworthiness.

This doesn’t reverse the fact that life is hard. And we all know that reasoning one’s way out of depression can be well nigh impossible. But meditating on truths that belie our feelings can, over time, equip us with weapons to counter the darkness. On Getting Out of Bed, at once succinct, dense, and highly readable, offers a steady stream of such realities.

Noble, an associate professor of English at Oklahoma Baptist University, draws on Scripture as well as classical and contemporary writings. Keep this volume by the bedside for those late-winter/early spring mornings when the world feels too cold and harsh to face.

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