Posts Tagged ‘running scared’

Running Scared: Final Post

Read about what I’m doing here (including the schedule for posts). Part one here.  Part two here.  Part three here and here.  Part four here.  Part five here.  Part six here.  Part seven here.

This brings us to the end of Edward Welch’s good book, Running Scared, with the reading of the last few chapters.  Again, as with the other chapters of this last section, there was not a lot new material, but still a lot of good reminders. Mostly, I was reminded of what I liked about this book as a whole:

  • The idea of Kingdom allegiances and how this is a fight that I will face in my life, especially in light of my fears.
  • Similarly, my fears can actually be good indicators of where that fight is taking place if I am willing to listen to what my fears say.
  • Welch is refreshingly real and honest in his writing of this book.  I particularly liked the “personal response” at the end of each section.
  • The Cross of Christ is held up for us to see, understand, believe, & trust again and again.  I find I need this constant reminding.
  • Like Ken Sande’s book, The Peacemaker,  did for me in addressing my reactions/relationship to conflict, this book has helped me think about my fears, worry, and anxiety.
  • As I mentioned in an earlier post, I appreciated the biblical teaching and how Welch connected the dots across the biblical story.
  • I am asking different questions now…questions like:  “what does God call me to right now?”  and “how do I hope?”  (these were discussed in the last few chapters).

If you have been reading (the book or posts), thanks for joining on this journey.

Don’t forget the next blogging the book on A Journey Worth Taking.

Running Scared (Part 7): God Speaks – Peace Be With You – 1

Read about what I’m doing here (including the schedule for posts). Part one here.  Part two here.  Part three here and here.  Part four here.  Part five here.  Part six here.

We are nearing the end of this “blogging the book” version using Ed Welch’s Running Scared: fear, worry, and the God of rest as we look at the first four chapters of the last section of the book (“God Speaks – peace be with you”).  The last chapters of the book will be covered next week.   In this section, Welch acknowledges that much of what he has to say is not new but an emphasis of some of the themes of this book.  While, in my reading of these chapters I found that to be true, I also found I needed to hear again these words.

Consider the way we tend handle people (children maybe) who need to hear things over and over again:  “how many times do I have to tell you!”  I’m sure those words have never been said in our household.  Now consider the truth of God that Welch is directing us to see and take in:  “God is patient and willing to walk slowly with us, all the while speaking even more persuasive words to our fearful hearts.”  I found it refreshing and encouraging to be reminded again that God is a God of great patience “and he is happy to repeat himself.”  Yes, that does help for sure.  Just as we regularly remind our loved ones of our love (in word and action), the Lord willingly reminds us of His great love for us – by His Word and by His action.

In the following chapters, I appreciated the thoughts on God’s covenant-keeping nature and the emphasis on how God’s covenant with sinful humanity is of no benefit to us.  We are the ones who benefit completely and in turn have opportunity to give glory and praise to God, but he doesn’t need a covenant with us.  I also appreciated the thoughts on prayer, especially the reminder of how it goes against the grain.  Prayer is made easier (not easy) when we recognize what keeps us from it.

Look for a post later today or tomorrow on the next book that I will be using for “blogging the book” (as well as the next Book of the Quarter at Calvary).

Running Scared (Part Six): On Death, Pain, & Judgment

Read about what I’m doing here (including the schedule for posts). Part one here.  Part two here.  Part three here and here.  Part four here.  Part five here.

I was listening to this episode of This American Life during our trip and one of the stories was about people who fear sleep because of the reality of death.  It was interesting to hear them reflect upon the rational nature of an irrational act.  That is, they are right, but they can’t go without sleep because of it.  In this section of Running Scared, Edward Welch addresses the fear that we have of death, pain, and judgment – though it seems that focus was mostly on the topic of judgment.  For the first time, reading this book, I was not completely captured by Welch’s discussion.  However, I did find many good thoughts and encouragements in these chapters.  Maybe its just me and where I am at this particular point in my life.

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Running Scared (Part 5): God Speaks on People & Their Judgments

Read about what I’m doing here. Part one here.  Part two here.  Part three here and here.  Part four here.

A friend asked me why I choose this book as the summer book of the quarter at Calvary and for “blogging the book” here.  This was my tongue in cheek answer:  Ed Welch saved my life.  Obviously, I do not mean that in a salvific sense, but I am referring more to the way that Welch helped me deal with a very difficult aspect of the way I live and relate to others through his book When People Are Big and God is Small.  You see, I am a recovering people-pleaser and the ministry is not a good place for people-pleasers (in the long run).  The story goes like this:  In the summer of 1998, I am walking though a bookstore with my mentor and he picks up Welch’s book and says – “Adam, you need to read this.”  I do not recall my answer (I probably said sure or I’ll get right on that), but I certainly was not aware of how the fear of man had dominated my life to that point.  That began a journey for me in addressing this issue – one that continues.

In this section, chapters 15-17, Welch deals with the fear of people with the concepts of fear, worry, and anxiety in view.  And so, this section starts with this:

WE SO DESPERATELY need each other’s approval.”

We fear people when they hold onto what it is that we think we need: “love, acceptance, approval.”  In fearing the lack of those things, we end up fearing the people that we want to provide those – even if it is someone we have never met before and never will again.  In this light, we see how this fear turns us away from God and makes people into idols that we bow before and that is the real problem.

The problem comes when we want thest things too much, when we want them for our own glory rather than God’s.  Notice how human desires go topsy-turvy when we stray outside of God’s kingdom.”

So what are the answers, besides trying harder?  Here is Welch is at his best:  drawing back to God, His Word, and His character.  Here were a few of the ways that he encourages us to fight the fear & idolatry of man:

  • Love for others:  “Without adaquate human love, we feel paralyzed to love.  We want to be filled with the love of others before we move out in love towards others…At root, our yearning for love and acceptance from other people (when it is more important that loving and accepting others) is evidence of allegiancees to ourselves.  We prefer to be the king rather than serve the King.”  There’s that concept of allegiances again.  Welch deals with this concept of loving others, even to the point of imbalance, in chapter sixteen.  This concept, as he show us again, cannot be accomplished in our own strength, but we must look to the source and model of all sacrificial love:  Jesus Christ.
  • Fear of God:  This is a huge topic, but there is great help for us in chapter seventeen.  The upshot is that we need a greater fear to move us out of the fear of man and that is the fear of God.  “How can we define it?  The fear of the Lord results from knowing that I always live coram deo – I live before the face of the Holy GodFear still reveals our allegiance, this time in a positive way.  If we have a mature fear of the Lord, it means that we value and revere him above all else.  That’s how we fight fear with fear.”

These make sense to me and I can see in my own life how, when applied, they replace the fear of man.  And in those I find great freedom, but I find that I still long for the bondage of slavery to sin at times and I go back to “tried and true” methods of relating (people-pleasing, fear, conflict avoidance).  And so Welch gives this gem of a thought:  “When in doubt, repent.”  And then there is this question that comes up several times:

Why am I so concerned about me?”

Priceless

  • Insurance Deductible (after minor accident in Jan) = $500
  • Brake Job for family car (Jan) = $300
  • Distributor Cap for my car (Feb) = $900
  • Timing Belt for family car (July) = $600
  • The possibility of having to replace the clutch on family car (now) = $1500 1350
  • Getting to apply the things I’m learning about worry & anxiety from Running Scared as applied to our car repairs = priceless

Running Scared (Part 4): God Speaks on Money & Possessions

Read about what I’m doing here. Part one here.  Part two here.  Part three here and here.

It dawned on me as I read these last three chapters (about mid way through) of this section, “God Speaks on money and possessions”, that we had not talked a whole lot about money and possessions.  At least not specifically.  That does come more fully in chapter fourteen, but I found that this was something that I appreciated because it has meant that Welch has spent more time dealing with the roots of anxiety and worry – rather than simply dealing with symptoms and manifestations.

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Running Scared (Part Three) – continued

…worry is usually about seeking something other than God’s kingdom.  Worry is a sign that we are trying to have it both ways, with one foot in the kingdom of the world and the other in the kingdom of heaven.”

Hmm? What would I know about trying to have my way and God’s way?  How about my prayer this morning as I started the day: that this day would be God’s and I would live in it.  Fast forward to this afternoon:  I’m frustrated and anxious because my day is not going as I would like.  I thought my prayer was real and genuine, but my attitude towards the opportunities the Lord is putting in my path shows otherwise.  There I go again – wanting it both ways.  I wasn’t exactly worrying, but I can see what Welch is talking about and I certainly know this is true of my worries.

What is the way out of worry?  We must become students of the King and his true kingdom so that we see its beauty and glory and become enthralled by it.”

In chapter ten, “The Message of the Kingdom”, Welch has some very helpful thoughts on the God’s Kingdom. One thing especially helpful for modern Christians, is the understanding of the realness of the Kingdom here and now. “His kingdom is the kingdom of heaven, not because it is far away and ethereal. Instead, it is where the King dwells, and the King now dwells on earth in a new way. He is firmly establishing his reign where his will is done.” But there is more here: the story behind the kingdom and the enemies of the kingdom are a few more sections after that. And even that is not the end of the thoughts that direct us to toward real kingdom living in the here and now, and in particular how that connects with our money.

And then this final thought that we are left with at he end of chapter eleven:

Life in the kingdom isn’t easy, at least not when we want to share the throne.”