In this episode of the VulnerABILITY Podcast, Bruce Matson, a Stage 4 Follicular ​Lymphoma survivor, shares his story of faith, positivity, and taking the fear out of facing difficult things by trusting in God. As a long-time Christian, Bruce shares about his faith experience, the ups and downs of being a believer, and how, in the wake of hearing news no one ever wants to be told, he was able to channel his fear into complete trust.

Highlights From the Episode:

[2:50] “The first thought that went through my mind was: ‘I’m going to be okay. God’s got this.’ I just believed, with all my heart, that it would turn out alright. I just knew that I might have to endure some difficult things…he did tell me about chemotherapy and some things I would need to go through. But the initial gut instinct in my heart said, ‘You’re going to be okay.’ I think it was the faith deeper than me just saying, ‘You need to lean on me [and] know I’m here.’

[4:20] “I just knew that whatever I was going to have to do, I was just going to have to endure something. It might be difficult, but I’m going to do it a day at a time nd eventually that clock’s going to run out to the point that I’m cured or I’m healthy again.”

[5:05] “It was that moment that I knew I needed something higher than myself… Through my life to that point, I was very goal-driven and doing things through my own effort, through my own pride, [and through] thinking that I could will things to be. And it hit me immediately: I can’t do this without the Lord.

[6:15] “I went from being a very healthy man to… basically I was brought to my knees.”

[7:30] “It’s so easy, when we’re thrown these unexpected moments, to feel like it’s a punishment… so we make up all these things to try to understand and to try to rationalize what’s happening to us.”

[8:00] “It’s not a punishment. Pain is a part of our path here on earth, and instead of seeing it as, ‘Oh, what did I do to deserve this?’ and even falling into the victim mentality, it’s [about] trying to get beyond the victim mentality to say, ‘Okay I don’t deserve this—none of us deserve the pain that we go through—but we’re not alone.'”

[8:40] “I believe we’re spiritual beings in a physical world. Because I think we’re created in the image of God and we all have a little bit of his spirit and we’re part of his family, but we’re in a fallen world… So yes, things don’t go right in this world. There are going to be bad things that happen, even to good people, but God will see us through.”

[9:25] “It takes the fear out of facing difficult things, when you just know that the Lord is with you.”

[10:10] “In the business realm [or] business world, fear keeps us from taking those next steps. It keeps us from pursuing our passions. It keeps us stuck. But if we remember that fear, like pain — we can’t control it, but we can accept and we can lean on other things around us—lean on faith, lean on people we love—then it makes it so that we’re not alone.”

[10:25] “God doesn’t cause disease, cause us to us be sick. He doesn’t cause the COVID19. But He helps us to deal with it.”

[11:10] “The difficult circumstances guided me back to what’s truly important, and that’s faith, family, and friends. The other things are good and important, but they’re not the priority.”

[12:00] “I think that pain helps you to focus on what’s important, which can lead you to your purpose.”

[12:50] “Going through the illness took away the fear of attempting to share what’s on my heart.”

[14:00] “It’s not to diminish the pain or diminish what’s happening, but rather seeing it—on some level—as an opportunity… Finding a means of going through that pain to lead you to a greater purpose or a greater understanding of who you’re meant to be.”

[16:20] “When we’re faced with those moments, it’s almost like we have two options: Are we going to let the fear keep us stuck? Or are we going to push against the fear and be motivated to be perhaps braver than we’ve ever been?”

[16:20] “I’m going to start to be more vulnerable, I’m going to reach out to people – I think that’s looking at the opportunity of: ‘Where can I be brave?’ And hopefully, we can all learn to do that, not only when it’s crucial and necessary, but even more in our day-to-day.”

[19:55] “It’s so important to let go and let God come in and do the work, rather than trying to make it all happen myself.”

[20:30] “God created us in His own image. He wants to know us. He wants to have that relationship with us… We’re all created with this void in us that only He can fill.”

[22:50] “I know what it’s like to have nothing in the bank account and not know how I’m going to pay the bills. It’s frightening. But you can’t give up. There is a way if you just believe and have faith.”

[23:40] “When you’re at that lowest-of-lows, there is really nothing to do but just trust and just allow God to work in and through your life to bring you the people you need, or somehow arrange the finances, or work miracles, or just give you that sense of peace that it will all be okay.”

[24:00] “To give it to the Lord [and] to trust – it doesn’t mean you do nothing. But you give your worries to the Lord. You give the anxiousness to the Lord… Because being worried and driving yourself crazy isn’t going to change the situation. It just tears you down.”

[25:00] “I just took it a day at a time. I’m going to get through this day. And I’m going to get through another day, and another… And if I could give advice to people suffering with COVID19 and all that: Just take it a day at a time and don’t look so far down that it feels hopeless.”

[25:35] “If you can’t do it day by day, do it minute by minute… as you continue forward, it will eventually work itself out, it will eventually get better, things will eventually fall into place.”

[27:40] “Even going day by day, it’s not going to be perfect. But you just keep going.”

[27:55] “You don’t go through something and then, ‘Oh! Everything’s fine.’ Life is this cycle of up and down. You might get through something, and then BOOM! something else might happen. It’s not because you’re doing anything wrong, or God’s punishing you, or anything like that. It’s just the natural course of life. And so, not hoping that everything will be perfect, but rather knowing that every obstacle will make you stronger and make the next battle, next hurdle, a little bit easier.”

[29:30] “I know I’m getting to the end of it. There’s a lot of things in-between, but I’m not going to let that discourage me.”

[32:20] “We can relinquish our control, and we can let go and let God come in, and we can trust that things will figure themselves out and get better. But that doesn’t mean we stand still.”

[32:50] “Faith is active. It’s not just sitting there, hoping that God will come in, and intervene, and make everything perfect. It’s trusting that He’s got you, but it’s moving forward and saying, ‘I’m ready to battle this thing.'”

[33:35] “The movement gives us the action behind the faith, which is the faith.”

[34:40] “I believe that we’re all born with a purpose and certain skills and things. We’re all different and unique. But the Lord wants us to seek those things, and pursue those things, and then He’s going to bless those things if we actively pursue [them].”

[35:10] “If you don’t trust and lean in, you don’t get those blessings. It’s a call-to-action, really. It’s a part of being a believer is stepping out in faith, especially when it’s hard.”

[36:45] “When you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing and God’s working in you and through you, it won’t be so difficult. It will just flow.”

[37:55] “You’re most vulnerable in this world when you don’t know your creator.”

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