Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Book Review: Fearless - Imagine Your Life Without Fear
Fearless - Imagine Your Life Without Fear by Max Lucado, Thomas Nelson 2009 (click here for more info)
Today is a special day because Max Lucado’s newest book, Fearless, is being released everywhere. As an official Book Review Blogger for Thomas Nelson, I am one of the lucky ones who received this book last week to read and review in preparation for today. Because it’s my day to blog, you get to hear it from me. And you want to hear about it. Especially if you live your life in fear...
I’m not a deep thinker. I like skimming along the surface, taking words for what they say, not looking for a hidden meaning. I don’t like reading between the lines. In Fearless, Max Lucado has written so many profound sentences, I had to stop many times to think about them. And yet, I understood them. Here’s an example: ‘Fear creates a form of spiritual amnesia.’ I read that sentence one morning and it stayed with me throughout the day. The urge to pass it on became unbearable so finally, I tweeted about it and added, ‘Wow’. A simple feeling to a simple sentence. But what a sentence: If you accept fear, you forget God.
Here’s another: 'Fear may fill our world, but it doesn’t have to fill our hearts. It will always knock on the door. Just don’t invite it in for dinner, and for heaven’s sake don’t offer it a bed for the night.’ I understand this too. Max is telling me there will always be fear but it’s up to me if I want it to control my life. I don’t. But can I stop it? Our imaginations have a way of getting away from us at times.
Everyone just has one or two deep fears, right? Well, according to Max, one of our biggest fears is that we don’t matter. ‘We fear nothingness, insignificance…We fear that in the last tabulation, we make no contribution to the final sum. We fear coming and going and no one knowing.’ He then goes on to say this is the reason we’re so upset when people forget to phone us, or they forget our name, etc. I never thought of it that way before. These kinds of thoughts lead us to thinking that we really aren’t anything special. We put ourselves down. He says, ‘If you pass your days mumbling, “I’ll never make a difference; I’m not worth anything,” guess what? You will be sentencing yourself to a life of gloom without parole. Even more, you are disagreeing with God.’ Whoa! That can’t be right. But Max gives scriptural references to back this up.
Each chapter in Fearless has a biblical story to show how Jesus attempted to calm fear. ‘Do not be afraid’, ‘Do not fear’, ‘Have courage’, ‘Take heart’, ‘Be of good cheer’. These are only some of the words of Jesus used to soothe our fears and instill peace. Max says Jesus spoke words similar to these 21 times and yet He only talked about loving God and your neighbor 8 times. Max says in Fearless, ‘If quantity is any indication, Jesus takes our fears seriously.’
So if fear is everywhere, and Christ knew mankind would face fear on a continual basis, it’s just a part of life, right? Yes, but there are things you can do so you’re not living under a mantle of fear. In Fearless, Max offers a checklist you can follow to reduce your stress from fear. And he teaches you how to be specific with your fears so you can pray effectively.
And if you think you’re one of the lucky ones who have escaped the terror of fear due to a higher position in life, Max says to look around you because the ‘Accumulation of wealth is a popular defense against fear. Since we fear losing our jobs, health care, or retirement benefits, we amass possessions, thinking the more we have, the safer we are.’ Even here, Max goes to his Bible to back up this statement.
I have to admit, until this book, I’d only read one Max Lucado book and that was for kids. Yes, I liked it. But I like this one even better. It’s not just what Max is saying, it’s the way he says it. It’s like he’s sitting across my kitchen table sharing a cup of coffee. I can hear him talking to me as I read his words. His mastery over words is powerful, yet his statements are simple, poetic and lyrical. I read part of Fearless to my hubby as he drove us to church on Sunday. Afterward, my 14 year old son asked if he could read Fearless when I’m finished with it. I was stunned. I felt like explaining the book doesn’t come with an on/off switch nor are there little creatures or vehicles zipping across the screen.
And that’s the beauty of Fearless. It crosses the ages because fear itself is ageless.
My rating for Fearless is Excellent (5 stars). I recommend you give this book to friends and family, whether they’re full of life or on their death bed, whatever the age.
What do you fear? Do you have one numbing fear? Or lots of nuisance fears?
If you go over to my new group blog, and leave a comment with your email address included (with spaces or brackets around the "@" so net spiders, etc, can't phish your address) to be entered in this draw. I will pick one email address from all those submitted ON THE INKWELL INSPIRATIONS blog until Thurs night, Sept 10th. You might be the one to win: the mini Fearless book Imagine Your Life Without Fear. And because I’m a prairie girl living on the prairies, the winner will also receive a new copy of Prairie County Fair, a Barbour Books anthology.