Chapter One…..Why Are We Afraid?

After reading through your comments, it’s clear we are all here because to some degree, we are dealing with FEAR. Maybe it’s fear of making bad decisions, fear for our society, fear of losing contorl, or fear of what we have/have not done with our lives. In Chapter One of our book, Max does an excellent job of asking the question-Why Are We Afraid? As we work through this study, I’d like you to really be honest with yourself! I promise you are not here by mistake. God wants to deal with your fear and help you become more dependant on him. I’d like to encourage you to get a journal and write statements, words, etc., from each chapter that stick out to you. It makes such a great reference to go back to!

Throughout the chapter, I found myself going back and re-reading parts. (You?) A few things that stood out to me where: “Oversize and rude, fear is unwilling to share the heart with happiness. Happiness complies and leaves. Do you ever see the two together? Can one be happy and afraid at the same time? What do you think about this statement? (pg. 5)

Perhaps the greatest statement I read in chapter one occurred on page 8. “Christ followers contract malaria, bury children, and battle adictions, and as a result, face fears. It’s not the absence of storms that sets us apart. It’s whom we discover in the storm; an unstirred Christ.” At the bottom of page 7, Max points out, “…getting on board with Christ can mean getting soaked with Christ.” I can relate to these statements over and over. My life hasn’t be exactly “fair” either. I’m sure to “outsiders” it may seem that way, but when it comes to matters of the heart, I can relate deeply to these statements. Can you?

I think it’s great that Max takes time to point out “Jesus takes our fear seriously. The one statement he made more than any other was; DON’T BE AFRAID.”

How did Chapter One affect you? What “nuggets” did you take away?

fear 9

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21 Responses to Chapter One…..Why Are We Afraid?

  1. Pat says:

    On page 9, it states “Fear unleashes a swarm of doubts, anger stirring-doubts. And it turns us into control freaks.” This statement really hit home for me. I have allowed fear to take hold and determine how I run my life, being a control freak. I want control instead of allowing God to take control. I will be the first one to say I love God and Jesus and want them in my life. However, I want to be the captain of my ship. Letting go, handing over control, is extremely difficult for me.
    Pat

    • sherrie says:

      Pat, I totally agree with your comment. There are times when I feel like I have little control of what is going on in my life. Those are the times when I’m at my worst (as I reflect on those times). It’s only after I pray for help that calm comes back into my life. I, too, want to captain my own ship, but I also realize it’s a whole lot easier when I let God help out!!

      • Sherrie, Pat, and Kara (and myself)- very valid points! I, too, struggle with control. I joke alot about loving the sport of Reining so much because we want to CONTROL our horse’s every movement. It’s a control-freak sport! :). When I got into Cutting, suddenly I had to out my hand down and trust my horse. Riding my Cutting horse is always a great eye opening experience. Life is much the same way. We can chose to want to control and often we will find ourselves uptight and anxious (much like a reining horse). When we finally out our hand down, relax, and let go (let God), the ride becomes totally amazing! And it’s crazy how when we are relaxed and going with the flow, how things usually stay under “control”!

    • Bonnie Dayhaw says:

      I so agree Pat. I am also a control freak about many things. I struggle with what is God and what is me? Here’s a recent episode in my life. So my house is under water and I was laid off from my job. I have some savings, so sought an attorney for advice. The advice was to walk away from my home and also a rental house that I own and purchase another house for cash. I proceeded along that path for a month. Last Saturday night I was praying about this whole thing and I had this overwhelming feeling that what I was doing was wrong. I had trepidation about it all along, but this came on very strong during prayer. The next day while viewing a house the realtor said to me and my husband,” I hate to lose business, but I think maybe there is a way for you to stay in your home and not walk away from anything”. He outlined his plan and I immediately knew that was the direction we should go in. I have no doubt and told him that God had sent him to say what he said. He shrugged that off – not sure he is a believer, but I have no doubt. I feel like God sent me an answer through this man. After months of struggling with a decision – finally I feel like I am on the right path – the one God has chosen.

      • Pat says:

        I believe God sends us answers to our prayers in many ways, however, my confusion is knowing which is the right answer and which is the right path. With horses we are often taught, make the right thing easy and the horse will choose the right path. However, is that true for us? Is there a difference between what is easy, what is right and what brings us peace? I also believe if we are walking the right path, there will be a sense of relief and comfort.

      • Pat-I understand what you’re saying and often wonder myself if I’m on the right path! However, we must also remember that Satin is ready to kill, steal, and destroy at all times! When we are on the right path, it’s his “job” to whisper things that make us doubt or question. I do think there is peace when we are in Gods will. Again, I think it’s a matter of staying close enough to God to know. Just my thoughts…. 😉

    • Melinda says:

      I am just now reading through this lesson – better late than never. But I empathize completely with you, Pat. I have been a control-freak all my life, always wanting to be the best, the first, the one who comes out on top, who wins the argument. It took me nowhere but into the depths of dispair, failure, and fear. ONLY, ONLY after “giving up” and releasing control to my precious Redeemer, Jesus, am I in absolute control – Jesus is steering and has his hands on top of mine on that steering wheel. And what a ride it is!! I have never been more free and thank you, Jesus!!

  2. Kara says:

    Tthat is a great point Pat. I also loved that quote. I feel I struggle with the same things. Maybe I worry more about the future than I need too. Letting go is a big thing for me too. I feel I am getting better and better at this but opportunity for more growth.

    “getting on board with Christ can mean getting soaked with Christ.” Instead of worrying if he remembers me or cares about me in the time of storms I need to remember his strength and KNOW that I will come out the other side even better than when I entered the storm.

  3. linda anderson says:

    I am learning that I have no control. My daughter has stage 4 melanoma and has 4 children. Lives have been turned upside drown. The fear is incredible.

    • Linda,
      I can’t imagine….Let’s all make sure and lift Linda and her family up in prayer! Dear Lord, I come before you and pray for Linda and her family. Lord I pray that you would give them peace. The kind of peace that only you can provide. Peace that passes all understanding. Jesus, touch Linda’s daughter. I ask that you would wrap your arms around this family in such a way that they will know you are with them. Lord, as the next days, weeks, and month come, I pray that you would continue to pour out your peace and love. Thank you Lord for answering prayers. Amen…… Linda, I will continue to pray for your family. I hope you find encouragement here and in your reading of this book. Hugs to you! 🙂

      • karen eklund says:

        Linda, I am praying also for you, your daughter and your family. I would imagine that your fear IS incredible. That would be my reaction also. I’m praying that you will see God’s hand in your lives and that you will know and feel his peace.

      • Denise Knudtson says:

        Linda – I will say a special pray for you and your family.

    • Julie says:

      Linda,
      My family has gone through too many trials with cancer, including melanoma. You and your whole family are in my prayers! Words do not always help when you’re dealing with something so scary, but know that God WILL see you through!

    • Pat says:

      I am so sorry Linda, I can’t imagine the pain and fear of watching your child go through this especially knowing she has four children of her own. My prayers are with you and your daughter and family.

    • Melinda says:

      Linda, I have just begun following this and feel I must reply. I pray for you and your family and appreciate your life being turned upside down. My husband was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer and our lives were dictated by that disease. Fear ruled until my husband said “This is a win/win situation. If I’m cured I win, if I don’t and go home with Jesus I win.” Took all fear away. Being a caregiver of an adult who has already had a lifetime is hard enough. I cannot imagine your fear and stress. Please know and feel our prayers with you.

  4. Julie says:

    I agree with the statement that fear and happiness cannot reside together. Fear brings worry and anxiety, and can keep us from making changes in our lives that will make us happy.

    I underlined several parts of the first chapter, the one that really spoke to me was on page 8. I am often asked how it is that I smile all the time, Max explained this perfectly: “It’s not the absence of storms that sets us apart. It’s whom we discover in the storm: an unstirred Christ.” My life is far from perfect, but (most of the time) I can keep smiling through the trials because I know that God is in control and will provide everything I need to get through.

  5. karen eklund says:

    I would LOVE for faith, not fear, to be my default reaction to threats (pg 6), or things that I perceive as threats in my life. I need to remember that God will be there for me and that “when fear shapes our lives, safety becomes our god.” (pg 10) I am guilty of trying to be too safe, especially in my horsemanship. I can dream up all kinds of really scary scenarios while riding my horse. An instructor suggested that I “change my dream” and dream a successful positive dream instead. That has helped so much. God tells us frequently to “fear not”. I’m going to start obeying him.

    • Denise Knudtson says:

      I agree with you Karen – this is my prayer – to replace fear with faith. I have two areas where I fear the most – driving on a highway and when my horse spooks. It’s the split-second happenings that cause me to panic. I, too, need to really, and I mean REALLY, learn to rely on God for help with fear and help with all other aspects of my life.

  6. a694 says:

    I like the sentence on pg 13. “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……” To me this says that I can be afraid of whatever. Just don’t let it take over and keep you from living your life….which I can do! I try to remember that. Sometimes I have to say out loud to “give it to God”. It doesn’t mean that everything will be as I want it to but, I will get through it.

    • Betty says:

      Some of the statements that stood out for me was : Fear herds you into prison and slams the door, and then another is the scripture: 2 Tim. 1:7 Fear is a spirit. But I love how Max says that Jesus takes our fears seriously. No wonder Jesus wages war against our fear because worship of safety emasculates greatness. (my add: because we are all called to greatness). Jesus counts the very hairs on our heads – I wonder if He keeps a running talley. He knows us that well. We are His workmanship created unto good works. Yesterday I felt that I had a breakthru already. I had to travel to my son’s home after a heavy snowfall . This would usually create some anxiety but I drove there with no anxiety at all. Praise God! I am looking forward to seeing more breakthrus in my life.

  7. I think what we’ve all touched on here, is the fact that if we stay close to God-through prayer and his word-our fears are much easier to deal with. I think we can all agree that when we seperate ourselves from God (he never leaves us! We leave him!), that is when our fear creeps in. It was pointed out above, that we can feel fear, we just don’t have to invite it to dinner! 🙂

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