Faith Suit Up

Part 2 of an interview with Lauren Gaskill,
Author of Into the Deep

Following Jesus doesn’t guarantee sunny skies and smooth sailing. In fact, the waters of life are often tumultuous, crashing over us. Sometimes we can feel that we’re drowning in a sea of confusion, division, frustration, complacency, or disillusionment. We need more than a shallow faith to survive these deep waters.

Into the Deep: Diving Into a Life of Courageous Faith (Abingdon Press) is an invitation to dive headfirst into a life of courageous faith. With endearing warmth and authenticity, Lauren Gaskill shares how she and others have learned to swim with Jesus in the deep waters of life—facing challenges such as anxiety, depression, and chronic illness—only to discover a more authentic, enduring faith that cannot be shaken by circumstances. In addition to examining the character of God and the lives of women and men of the Bible who chose to dive deeper with God, she provides practical examples and tools that help us take our faith to the next level by learning to make decisions by faith alone, control our reactions to overwhelming situations, and live a life rooted in love.

Q: You write, “We have to deeply know and trust God if we are ever going to fully have faith and experience freedom in Him.” How have you learned to trust God on a deeper level over the years and what have you learned on that journey?

One of the biggest obstacles I had to face was giving up control because I used to be a control freak. I had to have everything planned out and go a certain way in order to feel at ease. Once I was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Hypermobility, however, God began to do a work in my heart. I began to see that it’s futile to try and control everything because in the end, God is the one in control — not me. And that’s a beautiful thing.

Q: One of the chapters is entitled “Six Things You Need to Know.” What are the six things you want to make sure readers will take away from this chapter?

I believe words have immeasurable power. That’s why I’m a writer. That’s why I strive to think long and hard about the words I choose before I write or say them. That’s why I fight daily to speak life, love, hope, and truth over myself in order to drown out the cruel, untruthful things others have spoken over me. Words are powerful no matter what we are going through, but they are even more powerful when our faith is tested.

I wish I could forget some of the things people said to me when the waves of life came crashing in. “You’re never going to get over this,” they told me. “This is going to haunt you for the rest of your life.” Or my personal favorite, “Do you have unresolved sin in your life? Maybe God is punishing you for something.”

When we feel like we are drowning, we are susceptible to believing the lies and hurtful things we hear from the outside world. What I want women to know more than anything, is that in their hurt:
  • God is not punishing you.
  • You are not alone.
  • You are going to be OK
  • Darkness does not define.
  • You were made for the deep.
  • God’s love will carry you.
Q: Hebrews 11 is often called the Hall of Faith. Why is it important to study the faith of our ancestors? What can we learn from them?

The stories of our biblical ancestors aren’t perfect, tidy stories. Many of them lived complicated, messy and wounded lives, just like us. But they also had a choice to keep the faith and press on. The same choice is available to each of us today, and by studying Abraham, David, Esther and all of the others in the Hall of Faith, we can learn how to overcome our unbelief by resting in God’s promises, asking for provision and resolving to persevere just like they did.

Q: What does life look like when we make it a priority to actively pursue God?

When we actively pursue God, our perspective on and attitude toward life changes. We realize that this life never really was about us anyway. It’s about getting to know our Creator and enjoying life with Him. Our eyes become open to the things that truly matter: loving God and loving others.

Q: What does it mean to “faith suit up” every day? Why is it important and what does it look like practically in daily life?

From the moment we get up we have an important choice to make: Do we live the day in a frenzied, selfish state, or do we live the day with a holy intentionality? One choice leads to chaos, the other leads to confidence in Christ. As God continues to deepen my faith, I’ve learned that joy, hope, courage and faith are found when I choose to live the day with a holy intentionality from the moment I open my eyes. What that looks like is praying to God and surrender the day to Him; seeking His presence throughout the day; and reading His Word and declaring His truths over my life.

Here’s a real, practical example: Let’s say I have a speaking event I’m preparing for. I know I have to “faith suit up” to protect myself from the arrows of the enemy and also prepare my heart for what I need to do. If I don’t suit up, I am more vulnerable to being taken aback by any tidal waves that come up, however big or small they may be.

Q: The book ends with a series of stories about warriors of the deep. What can women learn from these stories? What makes a woman a warrior?

This is one of my favorite chapters of the book. There is nothing more powerful and inspiring than a testimony! These women are warriors because they chose to give God a chance and take Him at His Word. Every day, they choose to place their past, present and future into His hands, and because of that choice, their deep despair has been replaced with a deep faith and faith to overcome anything that comes their way. They are warriors because they have learned to let go and let God. And that? That is true faith.