Doing Life Together

fearFear is a warning system built into our bodies as a natural reaction to danger. It is healthy to feel fear in the face of danger. It acts like an alarm and prompts us to action. But when fear takes hold of our lives, it turns to worry and anxiety.

Anxiety takes a real danger and changes it to a possible one. Fear becomes a way to focus on the uncertainty of life, rather than the present moment. For example, you could get hit by a car, struck by lightening, lose your money in the stock market, etc. If you fear these things, you become anxious and worried.

This is why God has told us that He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. He doesn’t want us held hostage by the possibilities of danger. We can’t live in fear and have joy or peace.

So how do we live without allowing fear to enter our lives? Psalm 46 has answers:

1) Know who God is–He is a very PRESENT help in times of trouble. God is the creator of all things, all powerful, nothing is away from His watchful eye.

2) Know where God is–He in the middle of the trouble, the waters roar, the mountains shake, but God is in the midst. He is not absent in times of trouble. He is present, has not left you alone to deal with life.

3) Get your eyes off the uncertain circumstances–Don’t be moved by the trouble around you. Instead keep your eyes fixed on Him. Circumstances may create fear, but God has control and will walk you through those circumstances. Stay fixed on Him.

4) Remember God is working in the situation–He breaks the bow, cuts the spear, burns the chariots of fire. He will work it all for our good if we love and trust Him.

5) Be still. Wait and listen.

6) Know that He is God. Watch how He moves and works things out. Be amazed by what He does.

7) Worship Him–even before you know the ending, because praise takes care of that heaviness. He is in control and orders your steps.

How do we not live in fear? Know that the Lord Almighty is with us and our helper in times of trouble.

crossLast week, we heard about a co-pilot purposely taking down a plane with 150 people on board. In a moment, lives were lost.

One moment, a passenger was laughing with a fellow travel and the next, he was diving straight into the side of a mountain. Another was cuddling her child, then screams brought recognition of impending doom.

In a strange way, the tragedy focused my thoughts on this Holy Week. From palm branches waiving, people shouting, “ Hosanna” during the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, to the night Jesus was betrayed and later hung on the cross, much changed for His followers. Elation gave way to despair. The Christ suffered and was put to death. What must the witnesses thought?

Did they give in to momentary despair like the people in the airline must have done? Or did they try to remain optimistic, recalling the prophetic words of Christ and the Scriptures? In the natural, all appeared to be lost. The cup of suffering was not removed.

Philip Yancey, in his book, The Jesus I Never Knew, points out that when Christ gave breath to his last words, “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” He used the word, “God” instead of “Abba” or “Father”. Christ felt abandoned from the Father during His darkest hour.

When tragedy strikes, that same sense of momentary abandonment is felt. But in the spiritual realm, the darkness of Good Friday eventually gives way to the light of Easter morning. Yancey says, Easter holds out the promise of reversibility. Destruction and even death can be reversed because of what Christ accomplished on the Cross. Easter is the starting point. It is a preview of an ultimate reality. Our present lives are the contradiction of what is to come.

So as the families of the German flight passengers try to make sense of senseless tragedy, and the rest of us struggle through our emotional “wreckage ”, Easter brings hope. If God could do what He did on Easter, then what more does He have for us eternally? Easter is a glimpse of eternity.

Yancey points out that the physical scars Christ suffered remained on His transformed body as a reminder that painful memories may never completely go away, but the hurt of those scars eventually will.  As we rebuild our lives from devastating times, remember that Holy Week reminds us that someday, we all get a new start. Tears will be gone. Suffering will be no more.

And that is the hope of the Resurrection.

ID-100165304Last Sunday was Palm Sunday, a glorious day in the church. We celebrated Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. I learned that the donkey was symbolic of a king coming in peaceful power. A King who goes to war would have ridden in on a warhorse. A King who comes in peace rides a donkey. Jesus came in peace.

In Luke 19:38, people were shouting, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” They recognized him as their King, that is, until he didn’t meet their expectations.

In the mind of the Jews, a king would overthrow the ruling Romans and take authority, but Jesus told them to pay their taxes and that the temple would be destroyed. This is not what the people wanted to hear. They did not want to be under Roman rule.

Jesus didn’t say what they wanted to hear or do. He wasn’t meeting their expectations and they turned on him. They were angry and decided he didn’t do what a king should do.

So the question for us is, do we do the same? When Jesus doesn’t meet our expectations, do we become disillusioned, angry, and decide not to follow him? When tragedy hits, do we feel he has abandoned us? Do we easily give up and not trust his plan for us?

Like the Jews, when Jesus doesn’t meet OUR expectations, we don’t see him as King of all. We don’t trust that He is who he says he is. We can give up on the relationship and start doing things in our power.

Today, determine to trust God in your life. Remember he has the big picture and is in control.










If you’ve taken the FREE quiz on my website,, you know your conflict style–avoider, reactor or negotiator. Now the issue is, does your style match with those with whom you are intimate? What happens when there is a mismatch of styles, e.g., you avoid and the other person reacts?

Conflict can get stuck! The problem hits a stalemate or it doesn’t get resolved.

In order to work with different styles of conflict, we need to learn to accommodate and make a few modifications in our own styles. Remember, styles are typically learned in your original families. That means, they can be unlearned or modified.

If you avoid and you are with a reactor, you develop the classic pursue-distance pattern in a relationship. Avoiders need to understand what the reactor is feeling and give space for the person to express those feelings. This means avoiders have to become more comfortable with emotional expression, especially negative emotions. The best way to do this is to tolerate your anxiety around hearing about the issue. Don’t distance, stay in the dialogue.

The reactor needs to be aware of how uncomfortable this if for the avoider and make efforts to calmly present their emotions and not overwhelm the avoider. This means taking the intensity down a notch. Pray, do some deep-breathing, take a time out and collect yourself. This helps the avoider stay in the conflict and push to bring up issues.

If you are a reactor with a negotiator, agree that emotion is important, but needs to be controlled. Negotiators must pay attention to the emotions of others. Conflict is not just a head thing, but a heart issue for many of us.

For mismatches, think about your style and how you can accommodate the other with a few modifications like pushing yourself to address problems or staying calm during a conflict. These modifications will make conflict a much easy process to resolve.