On Getting Out of Bed
We aren't always honest about how difficult normal human life is.
For the majority of people, sorrow, despair, anxiety, and mental illness are everyday experiences. While we have made tremendous advancements in therapy and psychiatry, the burden of living still comes down to mundane choices that we each must make—like the daily choice to get out of bed.
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.
"Alan Noble unveils the sheer paralyzing terror of a full-blown panic attack as well as just what chronic low-grade melancholy feels like inside. Some days it's all you can do just to get out of bed. Noble has no quick fixes to recommend. Rather, he points suffering Christians to the suffering Savior as the sole reason to keep on keeping on. In God's kingdom little things count: a cup of cold water given in Jesus' name, for instance. Alan Noble reminds us that simply doing the next thing can be a courageous act of faith—like getting out of bed when we'd rather not."
"Alan Noble has given us another great gift in writing this short, honest, and deeply moving book on the powerful witness to the goodness of life and of God of simply getting out of bed each day, especially when we experience mental suffering or affliction. It contains many gems of wisdom and profound truth, such as living one day at a time, one step at a time, accepting God's love and grace and the help of others—including mental health professionals and lay people—and reaching out to others in community. Highly recommended!"
"I read everything Alan Noble writes, and this latest book is a tour de force. Having lost a son to his battle with mental health, I've personally seen and felt what Alan writes about in this beautiful, encouraging book. It is not a sin to be sick, and your illness is not your identity. I recommend this book to everyone."
"To be human is to suffer. And to suffer is, in its essence, to continually bear our pain in isolation with no imagined future in which our pain will cease. With On Getting Out of Bed, Alan Noble enters with us into our suffering—but not suffering as an abstraction. Rather, suffering as the fully embodied thing that it is, occupying as it does every single one of us. Most importantly, our guide does not simply come in and sit with us. He speaks—by his own authoritative experience—of a way not so much to rid ourselves of our suffering but to open ourselves to God and each other in its midst, so that we may be transformed. Read this book and find that this is so. Live this book and witness your own transformed life being the conduit by which God transforms the lives of those around you."
"In these wisdom-filled pages, Alan Noble explores how the courageous act of rising out of bed can be both a defiance of despair and a testimony to the goodness of God. With empathy borne out of personal experience and hope forged in affliction, Alan ponders the questions, Why live? and How, then, shall we live, especially in the midst of sorrow and suffering? Prepare to be enlarged and encouraged by his insights. On Getting Out of Bed is a sturdy, important book."
"Candid, convicting, and deeply honest. Alan Noble is unflinching in his portrayal of both the depths of despair and a bedrock belief in the irreducible value of the human life. He convinces us to see the simple, yet sometimes seemingly insurmountable, act of getting out of bed as an act of faith and a witness to the goodness of God beyond feeling or circumstance. I will recommend this book."
"Alan Noble grapples with a topic of increasingly vital significance in the effects of Covid-19 isolation: mental affliction. Through autobiographical reflections and personal insights on his own suffering, Noble pushes back on the biological model of understanding these illnesses, looking to his life in Christ as his tool for survival."
"In this inspiring and thought-provoking book, Alan Noble comes alongside us in our inevitable suffering, reminds us that it is part of the human condition, and compassionately challenges us to inhabit life as a gift from God."
"As a Christian who has suffered acute psychological pain and has often struggled to find Christian writers who understand and can help, I am truly grateful for this book. It is frank but doesn't overshare; it gives pointed advice but doesn't hector. Most of all, it points to the One who has gone into the deepest furnace of human anguish and has come out the other side, bearing us all in his wake."
"Noble takes a clear-eyed look at emotional suffering in this illuminating entry. . . . Noble draws on his own struggles with mental illness throughout, and his perceptive observations will help readers feel seen but not judged. Christians are sure to find abundant wisdom."