Imagine Your Life Without Fear
by Max Lucado
Seeking to calm a world increasingly plagued by fear and anxiety, Max Lucado tackles the subject of fear with this inspirational title, identifying common fears of the day, and offering spiritual advice for overcoming our fears.
As someone who has suffered from anxiety and fear most of my life, I often seek out books on the subject. This was one that I had acquired years ago for review, and had slipped through the cracks. I’m not a religious person, though there was a time in my life that I was, and I still have a great respect for the wisdom that can come from many of the world’s religions. So knowing that this title came from a Christian publisher did not give me too much pause. I figured I would still find some tips in it that I would find beneficial.
I was greatly disappointed. It was set up like this: Each chapter highlighted a common fear. Lucado then illustrated the fear with stories either from his own life or from the lives of others, went on to tie it to a bible story, and then to the scriptures that had Christ saying in one form or another “Don’t Fear” “God will Provide.”
Next Chapter? Repeat. Ad Nauseum.
At one point on his “Don’t Worry Be Happy” campaign he pulls out this gem…
Like a good shepherd, he will not let us go unclothed or unfed. “I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread” (Ps. 37:25 nlt).
…And I wanted to slam the book against a wall and scream at the man living in his high house on a hill, because I HAVE. And this is no longer a book about overcoming fear, it is about deluding yourself into giving all your fears away to someone else so you don’t have to deal with them. It’s the worst kind of avoidance.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate the concept of Faith and admire Christians for practicing it. It’s just that I admire the adage that “Faith without works is dead” more. And Lucado’s book is sorely lacking in the works department.
He does not provide any strategies or methods for actually DEALING with fear or anxiety other than turning to Jesus. Not only is this not an attractive option for everyone, it’s not a real answer. It’s not doing the work to enact any real change.
Another gem of a quote from the book was this one:
“Everything will work out in the end, if it’s not working out, it’s not the end”
Helpful right? What does that even mean?
The Wrap Up
Bottom line. If you are deeply Christian, and a fan of Lucado’s vast body of work you may find comfort in his brand of scriptural junk food for the soul, but he excludes anyone else as an audience. And don’t expect to find any real advice. This is not a self-help book and it’s certainly doesn’t come close to even pop psychology.
If you are battling clinical anxiety, phobias or dealing with irrational fears, don’t look to this book for help.
Here’s what I’d recommend instead:
And for the spiritually minded, a more practical approach:
Cover Story: B-
Basically, I blame the cover for my confidence in the book in the first place. I wanted that happy-go-lucky childhood summer free from fears, and I hoped this book would show me how.
Title: Fearless by Max Lucado Genre: Non-Fiction, Religion & Spirituality, Personal Growth Format: Hardcover, 240 pages Publisher: Thomas Nelson; (September 8th, 2009) ISBN: 978-0849921391