Susie Larson’s mentor describes her as having an up front ministry with a behind-the-scenes heart. Like me, Susie is an introvert, wired for solitude and reflection. I’ve joined her on her radio show numerous times and found in her a kindred spirit. Susie is also someone who’s battled fiercely for freedom, health, and wholeness. She contends for the things God has promised her and has come through with strength and conviction. Susie’s passion is to see women awakened to the height of their calling, the depth of God’s love, and the value of their soul. It’s a grace to welcome Susie to the farm’s front porch today…
I didn’t want to go to prison.
Yet the thought ran repeatedly through my mind.
Fear sprayed what felt like shards of glass into my soul. I felt prickly all over. The undertow of what ifs nearly pulled me under.
Where was this coming from?
I took inventory of my life and found no evidence that I’d be going to prison anytime soon. I followed the law. Paid my taxes. Loved my neighbor. Feared God. You get the idea.
Yet this irrational fear about strangled me.
Now granted, it showed up after an intense eighteen-month battle with my health. Battle weary and longing for a breakthrough, this thing hit me out of nowhere.
I fearfully imagined bringing utter shame to my family, friends, and coworkers. I second-guessed the speed limit. I feared sending an email too quickly to the wrong person. It’s crazy-making to think about it now.
But fear made me hypersensitive about messing up, tripping up, and falling down (which only exacerbated the opportunity to do more of the same).
Without realizing it, I’d put more weight on my ability to fall down than on God’s ability to hold me up.
Here’s where the fear first presented itself in my current-day story:
Over the course of a couple of months on my radio show, I’d interviewed several Christian men who’d gone to prison either because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time or because they’d committed a white-collar crime without realizing it.
With each interview I felt the prickles of anxiety and fear increasingly rise up within me but I couldn’t figure out why. I asked God to speak to my heart and show me what I could not see.
He seemed silent while my fears screamed loud. Peace felt like a wet water balloon. I’d have a hold on it, and the next moment—with the next fearful thought—it slipped out of my hands.
I’ve battled fear, on varying levels, my whole life. They say nerves that fire together, wire together.
In other words, when we have certain traumatic experiences, we have thoughts and reactions to those experiences making them one in the same.
That’s why some of us are so easily triggered.
Traumatic Experience + Emotion = Perceived Reality and Fear Reaction. God has not given us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). Fear is a spirit and it’s not from God. And fear can become an actual habit in our lives.
Knowing fear’s inflammatory impact on my already challenged health, I went after it with God’s help. I couldn’t afford to let fear win the day.
I wanted to be well. In everyway. I quoted scripture, prayed whole passages from the Bible, marched around my living room and reminded my soul that Christ lives in me. I enlisted my friends to pray, and worshipped like I’d never worshipped before.
One day God whispered to my heart, ‘The storms reveal the lies we believe and the truths we need.” What lies?
Over the next couple of weeks, a couple of traumatic memories surfaced that I had had stuffed down deep.
I’d forgotten about those memories. But my enemy remembered. And my soul was affected.
I learned that unresolved traumatic memories will always affect our health.
And, the enemy will use our traumas against us until we dare to sort through them in the light of God’s love.
At first it seemed as though God had done nothing to stop the enemy’s relentless threats against me, but I now know that He has a purpose for everything He does.
God is one hundred percent committed, one hundred percent involved, and one hundred percent purposeful in everything He allows into our lives.
He only allowed me to be stirred up because He had determined that it was finally time for me to be free.
In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free. Psalm 118:5 NLT
Layer, by, layer, God walked me through the healing process. He faithfully unearthed and exposed old lies and helped me to replace them with life-giving truth because He’s committed to seeing me free.
And He’s just as committed to your freedom. Isn’t that just great news?
It’s easy for someone who’s not walked in your shoes to flippantly tell you not to fear. It sounds so easy coming from someone else. And many times throughout Scripture we’re charged not to fear. But it’s not so easy, is it?
The closer we get to exposing and identifying our fears, the more it threatens the enemy’s claimed territory in our lives. How does he respond? He turns up the heat on our fears; he threatens exposure and terror because he’s the one who’s terrified at the thought of being exposed.
The enemy’s only power in our lives is the lie. So when the lie goes, so goes his access to us.
Jesus understands the layers of your pain, hurt, and trauma, and knows exactly how to unearth them without destroying you.
He’s wonderfully careful with you. And He’s ruthless with your enemy.
Jesus wants to restore you.
And make no mistake about it: He will also destroy the works of the enemy in your life.
I’ve learned that when God allows a storm or a trial, it’s a great opportunity to identify your fears so you can grab hold of faith.
Once you’ve named your fears, you’re halfway there.
Fear hides in the dark. That’s why our storms are really so useful to us!
When we grasp God’s faithfulness, we’ll more bravely face the threats against us.
Let’s fight for our freedom so we can know the flourishing Jesus offers us.
When we flourish, others flourish as well. Our life, our freedom matters so very much in the greater kingdom story.
Don’t fear the storm. The storms reveal the lies we believe and the truths we need.
Hang in there. You can win this battle.
Susie Larson is a radio host, national speaker, and author of fifteen books. She’s been married to her dearest friend and husband, Kevin, for over thirty years. Together they have three grown sons, three precious daughters-in-law, one adorable grandson, and a cool pit bull named Memphis.
Susie’s new book, Fully Alive: Learning to Flourish Mind, Body, and Spirit explores God’s desire to restore us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Susie invites readers on a journey of inner healing, wholeness, and freedom.
I cannot recommend Susie Larson or her words to you highly enough — this woman is a gift to the church. A life-changing treasure of a book to revisit again and again.