By Lindsey Wingo
“The storms reveal the lies we believe and the truths we need.” Susie Larson
When I heard those words I was standing at my kitchen sink washing dishes—listening to a podcast—and I began to weep. God was speaking so tenderly into my soul at that moment through Susie’s words. I had been in the midst of a recent battle with fear and it truly felt like a storm. I realized in that moment it was time to face my enemy rather than cower down in defeat. It was time to replace the lies with truth.
From the time I was a little girl the Father of Lies (John 8:44), has whispered in my ear what I have come to see as lies meant to derail me from the path that leads to life. For years I dealt with the fears and insecurities that stemmed from them, ignoring them, stuffing them down deep, and pretending they would leave on their own.
I will never forget one afternoon as a new mom when a horrible thought came into my mind from out of nowhere. It was a familiar lie from the enemy I had heard in my mind before, only this time it was directed at my baby girl. It was as if Satan was saying, “I may not have gotten you, but I will get her. And in doing so I will really have you too…right where I want you.”
Hopelessness. Despair. Anxiety. Fear. These emotions flooded my soul leaving me feeling trapped and completely helpless.
It was at that point, through tears, I brought it all before the Lord—perhaps for the first time in my life. I told Him everything I had feared and all of the thoughts I had entertained in my mind. I spoke familiar scriptures back to the Lord and asked Him to prove His Word true and effective to draw me out of the pit I was in and into the abundant life I had read about. I was ready for victory and I knew I could never have it in and of myself. I knew enough about myself to know this was not a battle I could grit and bear my way through. I needed supernatural deliverance.
Since that time almost 8 years ago, the Lord has brought me on a journey toward freedom. It has not happened over night, but I have realized what Susie Larson says in her most recent book, Fully Alive: Learning to Flourish—Mind, Body and Spirit, is true:
“Jesus allows things to surface so He can set us free. Refuse to let the enemy bully you into captivity.”
I have learned to allow the moments of insecurity, fear, and feelings of hopelessness to push me toward my Deliverer. Those feelings are not a picture of the life God died to give us. When I find myself in that place, I can know I am listening to the enemy rather than my Savior. Jesus’ words leave me feeling hope, peace, and joy. Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). It is not hard to tell the difference when we pause and consider the source of our thoughts and feelings.
This is an important practice because, I believe, the primary battlefield for every person is within our own minds. It makes sense, then, that God tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2), to set our minds on things above (Colossians 3:2), to have the same mindset as Christ (Philippians 2:5-8) and not to lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).
I have realized that many of my greatest fears can all be traced back to one or two lies I have believed. Here is another Sally Larson quote for you: “What we rehearse we remember, and what we remember we live from. What core beliefs stand in the way of your flourishing?”
What thoughts have you entertained, begun to believe, and lived in light of?
I have spent time journaling about my fears, asking God to help me pinpoint their origin. When He reveals the lie, I write it down and call it what it is. Then I ask God to speak truth in its place. This happens in various ways, but He ALWAYS speaks. At times it has been through a verse or passage that stands out and pierces my heart as I spend time reading His Word myself. At other times, He might bring a familiar passage of Scripture to my mind as I pray. Sometimes He speaks through the lyrics to a biblical song, or through a sermon or podcast. I then pray those scriptures back to the Lord and claim them as truth. I rebuke the lie and the enemy who is behind it. And I thank God in advance that His Word is powerful and mighty to destroy all the works of the enemy in my life and in the life of my family (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). I choose not to continue to give Satan power in my life by continually giving into fear stemming from his venomous words. He is not the final authority on my life and neither is he for you if you are in Christ.
I find this quote to be helpful when thinking about fear:
“Living without fear is not believing that nothing fearful will happen but, rather, believing that nothing will happen apart from God’s intervening grace. Nothing will happen without the hand of God in control, filtering out what will destroy, softening the full force of the blow, and bringing a result that could not be accomplished any other way. His standard for weighing your situation in the balance before it reaches you is: the glory it will produce outweighs the pain it will cause.” Jennifer Kennedy Dean, Live a Praying Life Without Fear
I challenge you to ask yourself a question I have made the habit of asking myself when I face the lies head on: what is the opposite of this lie? If what I have been believing is a lie from the enemy, what is he trying to keep me from seeing if the opposite is really true? What plan of God might he be trying to thwart? What is he trying to distract me from?
As a personal example, I have experienced attacks from the enemy—that at times seemed to come from every direction—in regards to one of my children in particular. This has been from the time of birth onward. God gave me a passage of scripture years ago and has reminded me of it many times as I have felt compelled to pray those verses over my child. I have come to believe the enemy is trying his best to prevent what God has willed for my child’s life. But he is fighting a losing battle. I am arming myself and my child with truth, and believing God’s Word will not return void. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for each of my children, but this one in particular will bring an extra tear to my eye and smile to my face because of the storms endured and the prayers prayed.
What would happen if we as women set our minds upon the words of life found in the Word of God and allowed Scripture to shape the way we think, feel, act and believe? We would be spiritual forces to be reckoned with in the army of the Lord! And when we begin to walk in victory, Christ can use us to bring others onto the path of freedom as well.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
“For you have girded me with strength for the battle; You have subdued under me those who rise up against me.” Psalm 18:39
“This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20:15
“Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
“‘No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgement you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their vindication is from Me,’ declares the Lord.” Isaiah 54:17
Lindsey Wingo is the founder and editor of the Missional Motherhood blog. She is the wife of Worship Pastor, Ryan Wingo, and stay-at-home mother of four sweet kiddos—Ivey, Ruthie, Charlie, and Henry. It is her prayer and vision that Missional Motherhood would unite mothers from around the globe with the common purpose of raising up a mighty generation of Christ-followers in an increasingly dark world. Lindsey loves to connect with other women and to study and teach God’s Word. She also enjoys coffee and chocolate (YUM), sewing, game nights with her family, days on the lake or at the beach, and her current idea of the perfect date night is cuddling in the bed with her hubby while watching one of Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover DVDs! (That is, if a night at the Cinebistro is out of the question…) She is an imperfect mother who has to continually remind herself of the hope found in the gospel of Jesus Christ.