Running Scared: Part One

Today we begin our journey  of blogging through Edward Welch’s book Running Scared.  Click here if you want to see what this is all about or the schedule for reading/posting on this book.

When I was a small child (somewhere between the ages of three and six), I used to imagine that there was a witch that brewed here mischievous brew between the two windows of my bedroom.  In my imagination, she was there and not to be trifled with.  And so, Welch says:  “Fear is natural to us.  We don’t have to learn it.  We experience fear and anxiety even before there is any logical reason for them.”  Fear does not just follow us, but fear actually multiplies as we grow older.  As we develop more relationships, see more of the fallenness of the world, or accumulate more things we have more to fear, more to worry about.

But what do our fears, worries, and anxieties say to us or about us?  Welch’s exploration of this question is what I found so helpful in these first four chapters that make up the first section, “Initial Observations”.  Just think about all of the ways that fear manifests itself in our lives (these are from chapter two):

  • background fear and anxiety
  • phobias (e.g. arachibutyrophobia – the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth)
  • dreams
  • physical clues (what are our bodies telling us?)
  • stress
  • busy and driven
  • depression
  • anger
  • overprotection
  • superstitions

And if we then see these in ourselves, what does that fear say?  I suppose it depends on the fear and the way it manifests in our life, but I find after reading these first four chapters, I want more.  That is, since Welch has made so clear the reality of fear (for all of us), what is the good news?  But first, here is this thought from chapter three:  “Here is where fear is a door to spiritual reality.  It suggests that authentic humaness was never intended to be autonomous and self-reliant.  Humans are needy by design.”

But even more importantly the questions are the two questions at the end of chapter three that hang out there for us, challenging us both with our needs and our idols:

  • What do these fears say I trust in?
  • What do my fears say I love?

In conclusion, I appreciate that Welch drives us inward to see where are fears lie and to listen to them, but he wouldn’t have us stay there.  “After you listen to your own heart, listen to God.” That’s what I long to hear – words from God, for my fears (and my worries).

What resonated with you from these chapters?

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8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Johanna on July 18, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    I loved the quote, “Humans are needy by design.” In a world where the focus is not on God, it is pleasant to think that our fears are simply a big neon sign pointing towards God. He made us the way we are for a reason, and I enjoy seeing the purpose and detail that God put in when he was creating us.

    This goes back to your point about “What do these fears say I trust in? What do my fears say I love?” Everything about us points back to God, and rightfully so. He is worthy of all praise. Not only is fear a problem about trust but also a problem about control, “Worry is looking for control.” I think I speak for many when I say, trust and fear are two big problems I face. God uses fear to show us that we need him, “It takes something more powerful than logic and statistical probabilities to assuage our fear and anxieties.” We are all little lost lambs that need a shepherd to save us. Neither logic nor statistics will calm our fears, only the peace that passes ALL understanding can calm our most powerful fears. It is so exciting to know that there is someone out there who can help us needy humans!

    Reply

  2. Posted by adamtisdale on July 18, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    Amen Jo…I love your last two sentences: “neither logic nor statistics…” So true, and yet we pour our lives into exercising our logic or determining the proper statistics to make sense of this world. Thanks for your thoughts.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Pastor's Dad on July 19, 2008 at 7:50 am

    Running scared? A question I pondered a lifetime; at least to this point. It is true that as we are more of the world, the more the potential fear. Maybe I’ll have to buy the book; or maybe borrow it. God’s love.

    Reply

  4. Posted by adamtisdale on July 20, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Borrowing may be hard…buy it so you can really read it…you know with highlighter and pen. At least’s that how your son does it.

    Reply

  5. […] running scared, trust, worry |   Click here for a description of what this about and here for the first set of […]

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  6. […] kingdom, religion, running scared, worry |   Read about what I’m doing here. Part one here.  Part two […]

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  7. […] love, religion, running scared, worry |   Read about what I’m doing here. Part one here.  Part two here.  Part three here and […]

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  8. […] fear, religion, running scared, worry |   Read about what I’m doing here. Part one here.  Part two here.  Part three here and here.  Part four […]

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