When the book A Worrier's Guide to the Bible: 50 Verses to Ease Anxieties crossed my desk for endorsement in June, I sort of had the feeling that God had specifically commissioned its author Gary Zimak to write it just for me! The truth is, while I'm not paralyzed by worry in my life, I do let it all too frequently stand in the way of my productivity, and if I'm being honest, my trust in God. I said of the book in my endorsement:

“Ask most of us if we worry, and we’ll share with you our laundry list of concerns about everything from our families, to our work, to the future and beyond… it’s a burden shared by even the most faith-filled among us. That’s why A Worrier's Guide to the Bible: 50 Verses to Ease Anxieties by Gary Zimak has such great relevance for anyone living in today’s multi-tasking world. Employing the timeless truths of scripture in a way that is fresh and current for today’s spiritual seekers, this book should be a “go to” resource for anyone in search of true peace amidst life’s greatest challenges.”

A Worrier's Guide to the Bible

Today, I am thrilled to share A Worrier's Guide to the Bible: 50 Verses to Ease Anxieties with you and to invite you to better know its author, Gary Zimak. Gary has generously offered two author-signed copies of the book for a giveaway to our readers. Be sure to comment on this post to enter to win, but I encourage you to buy the book today as part of your Advent devotions and to give the copy you win to a friend. You'll both benefit!

Q: Please briefly introduce yourself and your family to our readers.

My name is Gary Zimak and I was born in Philadelphia, PA and now live in South Jersey.  I am a full time Catholic lay evangelist, which is something that amazes me every time that I think about it!  For thirty years, I worked in conventional jobs starting as a computer programmer and eventually moving on to project management.  In January of 2012 I was laid off (for the first time in my life) and decided that it was time to pursue full time work for the Lord.  Although my new career requires me to fully trust in God's providence, I've never been more peaceful in my life!   I have been married to my best friend (Eileen) for 18 years and have two beautiful 15 year old twin daughters (Mary and Elizabeth). The girls are homeschooled and the entire Zimak family is involved in my apostolate.

Q: What prompted you to write A Worrier's Guide to the Bible and how would you describe this book to interested readers?

Great question, Lisa!   In the course of my work as a Catholic evangelist, I am constantly encouraging people to read the Bible.  While there has been some improvement in recent years, Catholics have to get better at reading the Bible on a regular basis.  Even if it's for 5 minutes each day, the reading of Sacred Scripture should be part of our daily routine.  I have found that one of the most dramatic examples of how God can speak to us through Scripture is when we look at his advice on anxiety.  When I'm speaking at parishes and I open up the Bible and read Jesus' words of "do not be anxious" or "be not afraid" or "let not your hearts be troubled", people instantly feel comforted.  This book is an attempt to get people used to reading the Bible and feel peace by listening to God's words of consolation.  I have chosen 50 verses that will help to ease anxieties, accompanied by a brief meditation on each.  Each verse is grouped into a specific type of worry (confusion, fear, despair, doubt, fear, persecution, sickness and trials/tribulations) for ease of use.

Gary Zimak

Q: Gary, are you a worrier? I am, and I have to say that reading your book was a true balm! How can the gift of scripture be an ease to those of us who carry the weight of the world on our shoulders?

From the time that I was a young child, I've had a tendency to worry.  As I state in the book, however, I now consider my anxiety to be a blessing.  Throughout my life, I would always turn to prayer when I was anxious.  Although my relationship with the Lord was far from perfect for most of my life, I knew that I should turn to Him when I was worried.  This was the foundation for a deeper relationship with God and proved to be very helpful to my spiritual growth.  As far as using Scripture to combat worry, when I was writing the book I compiled a spreadsheet of verses that dealt with anxiety.  As I poured over them deciding which ones to include, I was amazed at how peaceful I felt.  Even though I had problems and difficulties in my life, I found it almost impossible to worry as I read God's Word.  The Bible is a POWERFUL weapon and can make even the most experienced worrier feel peace.

Q: What would you say to encourage folks who don't typically read the Bible that this book is a great resource for them?

This book was written with those individuals in mind.  As a Catholic who struggled to become more familiar with the Bible, I always wished that I could find certain verses when I needed them.  I can't tell you how many times I said, "I know Jesus said something about not worrying, but I can't remember where!"  I wrote this book to fill that void.  Whether you're an experienced Bible reader or a novice, you will be able to find comfort in this book.

Q: Do you have a personal favorite scripture verse or passage?

There are so many to pick from, but a few of my favorites are Romans 8:28 (We know that all things work for good for those who love God), Matthew 11:28 (Come to me, all who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest), Philippians 4:6 (Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God) and Matthew 6:27 (Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?).  When we reflect on these inspired words, it’s very difficult to keep worrying.

Q: What are your hopes for this book?

It's my hope that this book will help people to seek comfort in the pages of Sacred Scripture and come to realize that God uses the Bible to speak to each of us.  I designed it in the way that I did so that even the most scripturally challenged worrier can easily locate pertinent Bible verses when needing comfort.  In the short time that the book has been available, the response has been overwhelming.  I’ve seen people reading it in the adoration chapel and carrying it with them wherever they go.  I had one woman tell me that it’s the perfect size to fit in her purse.  I feel tremendously blessed to be able to bring the Lord’s peace to a greatly troubled world.

Q: Please tell us about the other parts of your apostolate -- your radio program, speaking and blog.

I founded Following The Truth (www.followingthetruth.com) in 2008, with the intent of recommending authentic Catholic resources to those seeking to learn more about our Faith.  Eventually, I started blogging and my posts are now regularly featured on several Catholic websites (Catholic Exchange, Catholic Lane, New Advent, and Spirit Daily).  I'm also a regular guest on EWTN Radio (The Son Rise Morning Show, Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo) and Relevant Radio (Morning Air) and I appear frequently on other national and local Catholic programs.  In addition, I host Following The Truth (Monday - Friday at 8 PM Eastern) on BlogTalkRadio and speak frequently at parishes.  Similar to you, I use every available avenue to spread the “Good News” of our Catholic Faith.

Q: How can readers order your book and find additional information?

The book is available online at my website (http://www.followingthetruth.com/garys-book/), your local Catholic store or from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and all major online booksellers.

Q: Are there any closing thoughts you'd like to share?

I’d like to first thank you for allowing me to share my message with your readers.  I’m also very grateful for your support of the book, as well as the endorsement of prominent Catholic figures such as Teresa Tomeo (who wrote the foreword), Matthew Kelly, Mike Aquilina and Richard Lane!  Finally, as we enter into the Advent season and prepare for Lord’s birth, it’s very easy to get caught up in the craziness that sometimes accompanies this special time of the year.  Before giving in to stress, it’s important that we reflect on the Lord’s message of peace and joy.  One of my favorite Bible passages during this time of year involves Jesus’ visit to the home of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42).  While there is certainly a lot that has to get done in order to prepare for Christmas, we need to make some time in imitating Mary as she sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to His teaching.  Spending a few minutes each day reading the Bible will rejuvenate us and give us the energy we need to get through the Christmas season with joy.  May you and all of your readers have a blessed Advent and Christmas season!

Contest: To enter to win one of two author-signed copies of A Worrier's Guide to the Bible: 50 Verses to Ease Anxieties, leave a comment below by midnight pacific time on Saturday, December 8th, 2012. Two winner will be randomly selected to win A Worrier's Guide to the Bible: 50 Verses to Ease Anxieties

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Copyright 2012 Lisa M. Hendey