Sunday, June 21, 2015

'Unafraid' by Susie Davis

 Though I don’t know where your fears started or how deep they sit in your soul, I do know this: Fear is a heavy burden. One of the heaviest you can carry. It’s exhausting and overwhelming. And it’s not from God.
—Susie Davis, Unafraid

In 1978 Susie Davis watched as a thirteen-year-old classmate entered her classroom and killed her teacher. As a witness to one of the earliest school shootings in our nation, Susie faced years of paralyzing fear and an intense distrust of God. But God relentlessly pursued her and, over time, broke Susie’s fear addiction.

In Unafraid, Susie offers her hard-won insights about how we can trust God in the midst of our fears about violence, disease, and personal tragedy. With you, she asks, “How do we live unafraid? How do we remain aware of world events without giving in to fear? How do we make everyday choices to stop letting ‘What if?’ control us?”

As Susie shows us, it is possible to break fear’s grasp on our lives. We can be aware of the terrible without forgetting the beautiful. We can look up with joy and realize the remarkable truth: Jesus wants to take our fear and give us, in its place, true peace. Walk this liberating journey with her and learn what it means to live unafraid.

This book is written from the author's personal experience for all of us who have struggled with strongholds of intense fear. This includes a feeling that God will not necessarily look after us, based on the observable experiences of ourselves and others. Susie's started in High School, when a fellow student shot and killed a teacher in front of the class. Others have different triggers, but share her feelings.

I like how she helps us face the fact that fear is an idol. We may think of 'idols' as only things which bring us pleasure, but they are simply things which consume our thoughts and attention, and take priority above God. So even though we abhor our fear, it may be high time we're alerted to the fact that we may, in fact, worship it.

Davis has been there, and knows the lies we tell ourselves, all the while convincing our hearts that we're simply trying to be careful and informed. We apply scripture like band-aids, not really believing in God's protection anymore. We may think of God as a pleasant game-loser, but honour fear as the stronger player. We may run up against fear's horrid sidekicks, named paranoia and hypochondria, which are personal acquaintances of mine. Our extensive note taking and research, aimed to keep us 'informed' is, in reality, getting an education from the enemy about the world. Indulging in these activities leaves huge openings for us to be pounced on with outrageous ideas and ridiculous scenarios. (She outlined some of hers, apparently to make us shake our heads that she was so extreme, but I found mine have been a perfect match over the years.)

As the only real solution, she urges us to train our minds to knock down subtle, apparently rational thoughts against God's truth. If you're like me, we need a bit of plain talk like this. We need to be told that rather than being in our circumstances, as we imagine, our sickness is actually in our hearts. We have to face the fact that rather than being like brave Caleb in the Bible, we'd be more likely find ourselves among the rest of the Israelites, who think it's safer to warn others about the giants.

I'd place this book on my shelf along with other faith-building testimonies and teachings about our true biblical grounds for relying on God's love and expecting healing.

Thanks to WaterBrook Multnomah and Blogging for Books for my review copy.

4.5 stars

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