From Writing to Fighting Anxiety: A Conversation with Dr. James Kilgore

The pandemic has uncovered so many problems in our society. It heightened the mental health crisis that has already been getting worse in the past decades. People are anxious and troubled. Now, more than ever, people are looking for ways that can lessen if not cure their anxiety.


This is why Dr. James Kilgore’s book Escaping Anxiety is such a timely work. The book is meant to help those whose anxiety originated with or was heightened by the pandemic, social distancing measures, and other unpredictable and other events of the past few years. 


About the Author


Dr. James Kilgore is a licensed family therapist, minister, bestselling author, and international speaker with several decades of experience. He has earned doctorates in pastoral counseling and psychology, as well as post-doctoral certification in marriage and family therapy. Born in Georgia, he lived in California, Florida, Minnesota, and South Carolina before returning to the Peach State.


Escaping Anxiety is Dr. Kilgore’s 16th book. Other popular titles written by him include Try Marriage Before Divorce, Dr. Kilgore’s Feel Good Parenting Book, Being Up in a Down World, and Escaping Anxiety.


How He Got Started


The story of the book Escaping Anxiety is closely tied to the story of its author. Dr. Kilgore first came to know Christ when he was 15 years old through the Billy Graham Television Ministry, Hour of Decision. “When I heard that message that evening I went in one of the back rooms of the house that we were visiting and knelt down and received Christ as my savior,” Dr. Kilgore recounted.


That moment forever changed his life. Within the next couple of years, he was called to be a helper in a local congregation and while he was there, the pastor had a serious health issue and didn’t get to finish his sermon. It was a small church and the deacon told the young Dr. Kilgore that he will have to take over until the pastor gets back.


It turns out that the pastor didn’t come back and Dr. Kilgore was there for a couple of years commuting between the university and the church where he was serving.


It was during that time Dr. Kilgore wrote an article that was published in a Baptist magazine and that started his interest in a writing career. In 1968, he published his first book which was more academic, it was about the pastoral care of a hospitalized child. Then he wrote another book, this time about Billy Graham with whom he worked in the 1957 New York City Crusade

at the old Madison Square Garden.


He continued with his post-doctoral training, got married, and opened a practice, all the while he was also continuing with his pastoral ministry. Now, he has spent over 60 years spreading the word of God.


Dr. Kilgore continues to teach a Sunday school class of about 100 people on Sunday mornings and he has a men’s Bible study in the community where they live. Dr. Kilgore is thankful to have the opportunity to share God’s word with people every week a couple of times.  


Escaping Anxiety

Dr. Kilgore became a weekly columnist for a North Georgia newspaper. It was not necessarily a Biblical column because he was more of a crossover author but he took the scripture and applied it to situations in life. The book Escaping Anxiety is a kind of compilation of the ideas in those columns. It is a collection of stories and ideas that are developed when within one two or three pages so that readers can pick it up and read it and then put it down.


Many of Dr. Kilgore’s friends have said that they use it for devotional readings or daily study and that’s one of the things that the book does. It allows a person to look at various situations and in that process learn how to escape anxiety.


According to Dr. Kilgore, “One of the great Bible verses is don’t be anxious for anything but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be known unto God and when you do that you can be free of the negatives that weigh you down.” 

Dr. Kilgore recounts that there are a couple of women who come to mind he thinks about his book. The first was a grandmother whose experience was troubling her at that time because her granddaughter had come out and said that she was homosexual. That became the major identification in her life.


So the grandmother asked Dr. Kilgore what she can do and so they talked about some techniques she could use in working with her granddaughter and how she would allow

her to be loved and not necessarily to accept her behavior but to accept her as a person and to allow her to come to a better relationship with Jesus


Another story that’s in the book is one about a friend of Dr. Kilgore who had a child who was disabled and she and her husband struggled a lot with the necessity of taking care of a child that was critically disabled in many ways. She recounted her travel experience and she said that there was a time when she was planning to go to Italy but when she got off the plane she was in Holland 


The woman explained that was an example of what her life was like. She planned for Italy but she got a child and that was like going to Holland. She had to learn to speak a new language and she had to learn to deal with new situations in her life. 


The book includes stories like those and the adaptations that people make to their lives to cope with the struggles that they have and there are no struggles in people’s lives that God can’t take care of if everyone would just trust him and allow him to bring about change in their lives and that becomes the great assurance that the Christian has.


God Is Practical


Dr. Kilgore does not quote the Bible for every chapter of his book but he says that its foundational truths are Biblical. He wants the readers to understand that the book is not about “warm fuzzies” and he didn’t write it to make people feel good. It’s a practical guide on how to cope with the anxiety of daily life. “It is God’s will for us to live positively,” Dr. Kilgore said and his book is a guide on how we can do that and how we can live with others in harmony.


Escaping Anxiety by Dr. James Kilgore is now available on Amazon in different formats.

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