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This is a story of victory. It’s a story of hope and redemption… it’s part of my own personal journey to freedom. And far more importantly, it’s an exposé on the lies of the devil and the plots he uses to try and trip us up.
Have you ever seen the props used by a magician? He uses deception and distraction to trick his audience into believing that he has a power that he truly lacks. It’s all smoke and mirrors, imagination and trickery.
Friends, the props may appear more sophisticated and the lies are certainly more convincing, but the enemy of our souls, Satan, is no more than a magician. He is a liar and the father of lies. He is powerless to do anything except to deceive us into believing a lie which God never intended for us.
My husband and I experienced a dramatic conversion to Christ in 2010 when our marriage, only 3 years in, was about to end. We spent the next 2 years doing nothing but healing and seeking God, and we were so fortunate to receive a ton of healing and deliverance in those days from many of the generational curses, bad habits, and ungodly behavior that got us into so much trouble in the first place. At that time, I remember being delivered from the spirit of Jezebel (I was very controlling and manipulative) and also a religious spirit. Those were my two doozies—and from that point on, I never struggled with them again. Or so I thought.
“My people perish for lack of knowledge.” –Hosea 4:6
Have you ever heard the phrase, “The Devil is a Legalist?” It means that Satan will take any angle he can find to get an inroad to our soul. It means that if we don’t really know God and REALLY stay in His Word, Satan will find a crack and he’ll exploit it as far as we allow him.
For me, the crack Satan used was FEAR.
I don’t really remember struggling with intense fear since I was a young girl. Knowing what I know now, I’m sure I did— once it gets inside us, it hides away in the shadows just waiting for the right trigger to pounce and paralyze us. It plays cat and mouse with us up until the day that we hand it over to God, repent for not trusting Him, and completely turn our backs on fear.
I regret to tell you that it took 35 years for me to finally fight the good fight of faith over fear. It wasn’t out of rebellion on my part. Much like Eve, it was out of deception. But just as we learn from Eve, the cost of deception is often death. I’m so glad I pressed into God and obeyed the promptings of the Holy Spirit before it could go that far for me.
In 2015, my first daughter, Lorelai, was born. There were complications around her birth and the months that followed which you can read about here (My birth story), but they’re not critical to this testimony. All you need to know is that I was a mature, spirit-filled believer, a leader among women in the church, and even still Satan lied to me and I bought it hook, line, and sinker. As a result of the medical complications, he convinced me that he was going to kill me and my daughter. While I tried to fight Satan by reading faith scriptures it just wasn’t enough. I was missing a critical component of spiritual warfare and he got the best of me. Rather than taking authority over him right then and there and forbidding him from taunting me, I gave in to a spirit of fear that escalated to panic attacks. It went so far and so deep that it took 2.5 years and A LOT of renewing the mind and active spiritual warfare to recover.
I’ve had some time to process this and I want to give you some insight into how the enemy worked against me in case he uses similar tactics on you. I want to help you to stop him now. I want to encourage you to fight. I want to expose the lies before he takes one more second of peace from you or keeps you away from the authority God has given you for a single day longer.
Usually with fear there’s a root in your past and, to get free, it helps to expose it. For me, I can remember being terrified of doctors and anything medical since I was a very young child. I can trace that spirit of fear back to my earliest days—and that’s part of where it gained its “power.” As a child who didn’t know God, I had no knowledge of peace or how to press into God for protection and security. The longer a stronghold has been with you, the harder it can be for you to identify it and part ways with it.
The good news is—that doesn’t matter to God. He’s not hindered a bit by the perceived strength of a stronghold and He’s already “give[n] you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you,” (Luke 10:19).
In my case, the spirit of fear that came in as young child was activated and enlarged by the lies I believed when my daughter was born. Then, rather than take authority over the devil and resist those thoughts, I thought about nothing else.
I thought about how I might die. I thought about how my daughter might die. I thought about how I might go back into the hospital. I thought about my daughter being raised without a mother. Then I thought about my daughter dying of SIDS. I tossed and turned at night waking up frequently to check my vitals and take more medication. I checked my daughter’s breathing constantly. When we went out to the store, I was terrified of getting mugged in the parking lot or someone kidnapping my baby. If she had the slightest fever, I would panic and be unable to rest or sleep until she was perfect again.
Can you see how this escalated? This kind of thinking can drive a person crazy, or worse. I remember talking to a few friends about it and they would look at my wide-eyed saying, “Lizzie, I just don’t know what to tell you. Literally YOU are the person I would consult if a loved one was dealing with what you’re describing…”
Guys, seriously— I knew the Word. I tried to read the Word and pray and talk to God. But none of it would “stick” because I was not also rebuking and resisting the enemy and so he had free rein. It was really very paralyzing for me and I have to encourage you—if you deal with ANY level of fear or anxiety. STOP IT. Right now. Do not tolerate it for another moment.
So enough about the problem— let’s talk about how to beat this sucker. God tells us to talk TO our problem, our mountain (not ABOUT it), and tell it what it do. The mountain is subject to the Believer, not the other way around, (Matthew 11:23-24). Let’s talk about taking down fear, overcoming the enemy, and gaining back peace in YOUR life. I’m about to give you my best tips, strategies, and resources, and if you take them seriously– you will have breakthrough. The bible says:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you,” (Matthew 7:7).
That means if you keep looking up, keep pressing in, keep seeking God and His promises UNTIL you possess them, you’re going to find your victory. As Andrew Wommack always says, “Even an old blind squirrel will find a nut every now and then if he just doesn’t give up.”
RENEWING THE MIND + ACTIVE SPIRITUAL WARFARE
Active Spiritual Warfare is when you do what the bible says to do when Satan is causing problems in your life. You take authority over him (Luke 10:19). You resist him and he will flee from you (James 4:7).
Renewing the Mind is when you learn what God says about you or a situation by studying the bible. You find verses (3 is a good start) that apply to your situation and provide revelation about God’s truth for you and who you are. You memorize those scriptures, think about them constantly (especially when the enemy starts attacking), and commit them to your heart until they become completely real to you.
How to engage in Renewing the Mind and Active Spiritual Warfare:
Here’s what you do— the next time the slightest twinge of fear or worry—a tiny little thought of concern crosses your mind:
1.) Say “NO. You spirit of fear– I bind you in the name of Jesus. I reject you. I will not tolerate you. The Word of God says that ‘God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind,’ (2 Timothy 1:7). Therefore I reject you right now in Jesus’ name and cast you out. Satan, no more. I am resisting you and you must flee according to James 4:7.”
PRAY/SAY THIS as often as you have to. In the beginning for me it was SO OFTEN. Don’t feel silly. Don’t doubt its power. Keep saying and believing it and do the rest of these steps until you’re FREE. (You’ll know you’re free when you don’t have to ask if you’re free. You’ll just know.)
2.) Then refuse to think about or entertain any thought related to fear, anxiety, worry or concern. When they come up, force them out of your head by focusing on scriptures that come against it. (Here’s my favorite list of bible verses to overcome fear & anxiety) You can bookmark it and refer to it any time you’re entering active spiritual warfare against Satan.
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” –Philippians 4:8
3.) Come into agreement with another believer for freedom and peace and come against the spirit of fear. If you’re married, your spouse is the best person to do this with—and do it DAILY. Pray together and say, “We come against the spirit of fear in the mighty name of Jesus. We take authority over fear and bind it and cast it out of (name). The Bible says ‘…If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven,’ (Matthew 18:19) and we activate that promise right now that Jesus gave us when he died on the cross 2000 years ago.”
[Hint—you can do this together for any other spirit that creates problems for you or your marriage! Ex. Spirit of pride, spirit of religion, spirit of perversion/lust, spirit of deception, spirit of Jezebel (control, manipulation, fear), spirit of Ahab (enabling), spirit of poverty, etc]
For this step, I also pursued the professional help of a Christian Counselor to help me go after the roots that fed the spirit of fear in my heart. I cannot recommend Dominic and his team at Bethesda Family Services enough. Their ministry is called Restoring Relationships and you can book a phone or video chat counseling appointment through their office here:
260 Reitz Blvd., Suite 6
Lewisburg, PA 17837
Tell them Lizzie Smiley sent you and they’ll take extra special care of you!
I PRAY that these resources will be a real help to you! Keep pressing into God— He is as close as He could be to you. He has healing and victory and breakthrough waiting for you. Just reach out and take it. Fight for it. And don’t give up until your life is on earth as is in heaven. XXXOOO.