I just finished reading Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear, by Max Lucado. The subtitle of the book is an interesting challenge: “Imagine your life without fear.” Can you?
Have you ever considered what your life would be like if you had no fear? “Wait a minute,” you say. “I’m not afraid. I don’t live my life in fear.” Well, that’s great. But you’re in the vast minority. I’ll never forget the fear I first experienced when my wife was pregnant with our daughter. I couldn’t keep from thinking about the things that could happen. How would she turn out? Would she be born healthy? Would she remain healthy? Would she be pretty, smart, successful? Would she make a difference? Many times I’ve wondered and worried about my kids; when they first spend the night, or drive a car, or go away to college or go out on a date. Fear can grab us in a lot of places with our kids, or our possessions, our finances, our careers, our future, or our life.
“Fear never wrote a symphony or poem, negotiated a peace treaty, or cured a disease. Fear never pulled a family out of poverty or a country out of bigotry. Fear never saved a marriage or a business. Courage did that. Faith did that.”
The author is a pastor and the teaching in the book comes from the Bible, and primarily the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels. We can fear a lot of things, but as the author points out, Jesus spoke quite a bit about fear. “The Gospels list some 125 Christ-issued imperatives. Of these, 21 urge us to ‘not be afraid’ or ‘not fear’… The second most common command, to love God and neighbor, appears on only eight occasions.” Max takes the reader on a journey through the Gospels and applies Jesus words to the different types of fear we all face: the fear of not mattering, fear of running out, fear of not protecting our children, fear of overwhelming challenges, fear of what’s next, fear of life’s final moments, and the fear of global calamity.
Max Lucado has an almost-artistic yet effortless, down-home style. His writing is very conversational and you get the feeling that his words just roll off his tongue (or pen). He is a master story-teller, using very graphic terms to draw you into the story. Then, before you know it, you understand the author’s point with clarity. Each chapter revolves around a story to make the point.
The book provides a timely message: we don’t have to live with fear. Much is currently written about courageous living, but little is provided as sound evidence that fear can be totally dismissed. Instead, we live with fear very well, thank you and concentrate on courage, which is action in the face of fear. Our world, at least the wealthier parts of it, manage fear, and nurse fear, but we can’t eliminate fear. Fear is a natural response to anticipation of loss. The wealthier we become the more we have to lose. Fear can only subside when we know every outcome is good.
I was attracted to the book because courage is a core value (yet constant struggle) of mine. We can demonstrate and exhibit courage. Courage is facing our fears and acting as if they’re not there. Courage exists in the presence of fear. Only when we have nothing to lose can we shun fear. There’s a difference between being brave and having no fear. The results are the same, but the difference is real. Noble outcomes require less courage in the absence of fear. (Think about it.)
So are you open to living a fearless life? Check out the book. You’ll learn more about Christ and enjoy the strength and energy you get from the study.