How to Beat the Lies That Hold You Back: An Interview with Hannah Brencher

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Hannah BrencherWhat’s the next small step you can take to a better life? What reminder do you need to stay in the fight? How can you develop daily rhythms and sustainable faith in a culture of hustle? Do you have biblical hope for moving from anxiety and fear into action and victory?

Bible Gateway interviewed Hannah Brencher (@hannahbrencher), author of Fighting Forward: Your Nitty-Gritty Guide to Beating the Lies That Hold You Back (Zondervan, 2021).

What message are you communicating with the book’s title?

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Hannah Brencher: This book is packed with what I like to call “fight songs.” They’re empowering and encouraging essays to inspire people to move forward past the plateaus and roadblocks in their lives. It’s a call to rise up and live your life, not just watch other people live theirs.

The message I’m communicating is two-fold: that we’re called to fight forward and take back the life fear tries to steal from us, but that God also fights on our behalf through it all.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Small Steps Out of the Darkness]

What are the lies that hold people back and how can those lies be silenced?

Hannah Brencher: There are a number of lies that hold people back. The most common ones I’ve come across over the years are: I’m not enough. I don’t matter. I add nothing to the world. I’m on the sidelines. God doesn’t see me.

I think the only way to silence these lies is through rehearsing the truth in our spirits and that truth comes from the Bible. I recommend writing down passages over and over again until your perspective starts to change. It’s a slow process but it’s how you practically renew your mind for the long haul.

How does fear try to steal the life God made for us?

Hannah Brencher: The enemy would do anything to keep us from living our lives; to keep us in the space of “spectator” rather than getting out there to live. If he can keep us standing in one place, then he’s successful in keeping us from living the life God has for us.

How does God use our broken pieces to make us new?

Hannah Brencher: There’s a line in Jeremiah 30 that says, “The city will be rebuilt on her ruins.” This has stuck with me over the last few years because I know every word in the Bible is intentional. Why would God choose to rebuild upon our ruins? To me, it’s proof that he’s using the things we thought would discount us in order to rebuild us and make us new. We want to hide the hard stuff, the stuff that isn’t pretty, and uses those very things to bring about the new.

What is the “Promise Me You’ll Fail” contract that you have in the book?

Hannah Brencher: The “Promise Me You’ll Fail” contract is for anyone who’s fearful of the prospect of failing. We do everything we can to avoid failure when failure has so many valuable lessons to teach us. By having this contract, I’m hoping it’ll help people size this idea of failure right in their minds and not be so afraid of it.

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How does the Bible help a person to fight forward?

Hannah Brencher: I think the Bible is the ultimate tool for helping people fight forward. It’s where we get our truth from. It’s where God is able to directly deposit strength and hope within us. I think we have to constantly fight to make time in the Word, but that time in the Word will empower us and give us the fuel we need to fight the daily fight.

How have you overcome depression?

Hannah Brencher: Overcoming depression has been an ongoing battle I’ve committed my life to. I believe God calls us to take care of our minds, bodies, and spirits, and so I make sure to tend to all three. I get workouts in. I see a therapist. I spend time in the Word. I pray fiercely. I limit time on social media. I fuel my body with good foods. All of these things matter in making sure I’m healthy and whole. I know God is fighting for me but I also know he’s given me the tools to live my healthiest life possible.

Briefly explain your chapter titled, “Say Yes to Slow Magic.”

Hannah Brencher: This chapter is all about investing in the secret hours. The secret hours of your craft. The secret hours of time with God. These are the times the rest of the world will never see, but they’ll sculpt you into who you’re meant to become and what you’re meant to produce.

I truly believe we cannot be who God called us to be if we’re only ever plugged in and turned on. We have to power down, get away from the phone, and invest in secret hours.

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What do you mean when you say “operate from the overflow”?

Hannah Brencher: I learned this lesson from my neighbor, Ms. Pat. I wrote in the book about how she’s someone who operates from the overflow. She believes she has more than enough and so it’s ultimately her obligation to share with others. This is a posture I strive to live out of. I want to be someone who consistently operates from a place of overflow.

What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?

Hannah Brencher: My favorite passage is actually a story in Luke 4. It’s the moment when Jesus heals Simon Peter’s mother-in-law. It says he cures her of a fever and she immediately rises up and begins to serve in all directions. I love that she does not hesitate, she just gets to work. To me, it’s a true testimony to how we’re meant to live our lives. We’re made to be devoted servants who don’t wait for the right moment to get started, but realize the right moment is now and with the people surrounding us.

What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App and Bible Audio App?

Hannah Brencher: I love it and use it especially for commentary! It’s a go-to resource for me!


Fighting Forward is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.


Bio: Hannah Brencher is a blogger, TED speaker, entrepreneur, and author of Fighting Forward: Your Nitty-Gritty Guide to Beating the Lies That Hold You Back and Come Matter Here: Your Invitation to Be Here in a Getting There World. She founded The World Needs More Love Letters, a global community dedicated to sending letter bundles to those who need encouragement. Named as one of the White House’s “Women Working to Do Good” and a spokesperson for the United States Postal Service, Hannah has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Oprah, Glamour, USATODAY.com, the Chicago Tribune, and more. Find Hannah at hannahbrencher.com.

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