How to Get Up When You’d Rather Not

How to Get Up When You’d Rather Not

Anyone walking through a season of suffering, particularly mental affliction, will benefit from this book. Noble puts into words what many of us already know but desperately need to be reminded of. The book is both a comfort in trials and an encouragement to choose to go on living.

Alan Noble describes an experience many of us have but don’t want to talk about: the struggle to go on living life amid deep suffering. Some of us experience quiet anguish simply from the demands of continuing to exist.

That’s not to say all of us, each and every day, have to drag ourselves out of bed to keep moving forward. But we all go through seasons of what Noble calls “mental affliction”: the deep, powerful weight that calls into question life itself and dampens the drive to keep on living. 

Noble is associate professor of English at Oklahoma Baptist University. He has previously written on ways modernity distorts our understanding of the world. On Getting Out of Bed: The Burden and Gift of Living draws from his own experience with depression and anxiety to help readers find a way to continue to be faithful despite their struggles.

As Noble points out, we often assume when we see a smiling face or a productive adult that all must be right with his or her life. I’d venture that many of us could say of ourselves: on the outside everything looks fine, but inside it’s a different story.

For some, the struggle is due to an underlying illness or inexplicable chronic pain. For others, it’s more generally due to the ups and downs of life in a broken world. But no struggle is simple.

We aren’t always honest about how difficult normal human life is.

In this deeply personal essay, Alan Noble considers the unique burden of everyday life in the modern world. Sometimes, he writes, the choice to carry on amid great suffering—to simply get out of bed—is itself a powerful witness to the goodness of life, and of God.

Choices in Mental Suffering

At the beginning of the book, Noble reveals he used to believe anyone who struggled with mental affliction, in its many forms, did something to bring it about. They made choices and were reaping consequences. Before I entered my own season of suffering several years back, I operated out of the same framework. I may not have articulated it in that way, but, even as a counselor, that was my view of suffering.

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