An invitation to grow in faith; one truth at a time...
Sep 25, 2019
7 min read
How We Overcome
We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11). When we share our truths, lies become much harder to penetrate irrefutable facts. However, sometimes the facts of our individual lived experiences come from very ugly circumstances. So, I pose this question: does vulnerability really come easily for anyone? I have yet to meet one person who has not developed distrust as a result of the life he or she has lived so far. I wouldn’t trust easily either, and I do not. The bible tells us to protect our hearts because of its significance importance for our lives (Proverbs 4:23 NIV). I don’t know about you, but I’m a thinker by nature. I sit with scriptures that touch me. I then think, “I wonder what God meant?” Sometimes, all I can say is, “Thank you, God. Somehow You knew we would need this bit of wisdom for life.”
Throughout the course of my life, I have heard people say, “the bible was written so many years ago, it does not apply to what we are going through today.” In my later years in high school, I would openly admit to having this opinion while in heavy mid-class discussions about God with my peers. Another is, “It’s been translated a bunch of times so who’s to know if the writers did not change the original meanings?” Very great questions! But I implore you, ask a believer, ask more than one how the living word of God has transformed their lives. Really listen. Listen to them tell you how their journey with Christ began and listen to them tell you about their present relationship with Jesus. These individuals may not tell you that they are now millionaires and everything is perfect and I know, “why would I want God if He isn’t going to make my life better in the way I want it now?” This is also a great question—but here’s something to contemplate...
What you have to say, matters. There is at least one other person out there who can relate to the facts of your lived experiences. Have you ever stopped to think that there are others out there who need to know how you got through your struggles? Maybe they need to know how to get by when it feels impossible. Maybe they have totally given up and are about to do the unthinkable. That person needs YOU. Not their family, friends, funny co-workers, their animal companions, YOU. God made sure you and this person would cross paths, seek (Matthew 7:7-8) His courage and go for it (1 Chronicles 28:20)! Testify your truths.
I recall times when others would tell me they knew how I felt or what I was going through and I would think, “no you don’t”. During my time in school being trained to be a counselor, my professors would always stress how crucial it was that we do not say, “I understand” in response to our clients’ stories. As therapy is always about the client and not ourselves as counselors, this piece of expert advice made sense. It equally hard to hear someone say, “I know how you feel” outside of a counseling session. Look at is this way, no one will ever experience life as you do, but what if THAT part isn’t the point? What if the point all along was simply hearing someone else share their hardships so you would not continue to feel as if only you have problems? What if this moment of sharing brought hope to that other person? What if lowering your wall of pride to be real for this moment in time gave the other person hope to return home without intentionally wrapping their car around a tree, home to dump those pills they were planning to ingest, or home to call a loved one to come pick up their firearm for a little while? Suicide is real. The reasons, thoughts, and feelings behind everyone’s choice to end their lives are also just as real. I believe this is why sharing our testimonies can be such a powerful force for change and healing. Some individuals may not be ready to share, even if it means helping others. It may be difficult to blame anyone for this stance. Remember, no one has lived another’s particular experience.
Here’s a truth of mine: I use to feel such shame that after all the money spent on my education, I was now going to be broke with nothing to show for my years of hard work. Interview after interview and second interviews only to have no job in my field. I was puzzled. I was upset and frustrated often. I cried, begged, and bargained with God. Y’all, I even gave God suggestions as to how I thought He could do what I was praying for. I am not the only one who’s been this low. Whether strange or not, not being alone in this, gives me comfort. I am comforted knowing others have been low just like me at one point but look at them soaring now!
Case in point, Tyler Perry has shared how he use to sleep in his car! Oprah Winfrey had to compete with thinner, prettier, younger counterparts (PLEASE do not miss my message here. I am not saying Oprah is/was ugly or that her weight kept her from positions—this I do not know) what I AM saying is, LOOK at Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey NOW! What God has for you, is for you. No person, situation, lack, devil in hell, or his minions on earth, could ever stop what God has for YOU except you if you end your life before you get a chance to become the miracle God created you to be. You ARE someone’s miracle. It is possible you may not yet see how, but I believe you sharing how you got from the dumps to that Glo’up, isn’t just for you; we are instructed to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2).
Therefore, try this change of perspective. Just maybe, your story is for the person seeing you thrive and wondering when his or her time will come, not for a second thinking of how much you suffered and how many branches leading to nowhere, that God had cut off of you (John 15:2). In that same spirit of truths, if we can be authentic, God is still removing dead branches leading to nowhere from our lives while simultaneously reminding us of where He has taken us from. As a teenager, I thought my life was the worst it could ever be. I am no expert in this particular stage of life other than that I have lived it. I do however, have a theory that hope sometimes during these years, is difficult to conceptualize: there is no light at the end of the tunnel or pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that we can anticipate seeing. Silver lining, what is that? My friends and I often shared stories of how we thought life would never get better. These were our teenage truths.
So, you see, maybe your story can save a life—maybe many. Your story is to inspire others whether you know it or not—set out to do so or not. Your story can only be told by you, so please, hear me: It is my prayer and deepest desire that you, my brother or sister, will not allow fear, shame, and possible condemnation by others, to stop you from being a vessel God wants to use to spread His: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness” (Galatians 5:22)— evidence, of His presence in your lives. The light others need.
In this light my friends, please also be mindful of your indifference for people’s difficulties; do not lose your humility by forgetting where God has taken you from. I may not know what season your life is currently in but remember these facts: when you believe in Jesus, you are not doomed (Romans 8:1). There is hope. If you choose a life with God, He will help you. And much like the character of God, not always in ways you may expect, but better. The Lord is very clever and if you think you are a colossal perfectionist, meet God. He is very serious about His children. God takes pleasure in us doing the right things and as he sees us doing so, He will guide us (Psalm 37:23 KJV). God knows our individual hearts (Acts 15:8) and the driving force for any choices we make. I believe when we are genuinely trying to seek God’s will, even if we make some mistakes, He will correct us and help us to get it right. After all, it is not God’s desire that any of us should be eternally disconnected from Him (Ezekiel 18:32). So, no matter what it looks like, God is faithful to complete the good work that He started in your life (Philippians 1:6 NIV). I believe God is the Great Restorer and He will restore everything back to you according to His intended purpose for your life (Joel 2:25).
So, how do we overcome?
1.) Stay encouraged with your nose in the word of God (The bible).
2.) Be bold about your story. Someone you don’t even know, needs YOU.
3.) You are not alone.
4.) My personal favorite: taking a very deep breath and while exhaling: “Jesus, I need you.”
Encouragement to get you by
In the book of Haggai, God says four times: “Give careful thought…” In asking Holy Spirit to guide my understanding and God to “…make it plain…” (Habakkuk 2:2),” what came to mind was this: “remember.” I then thought, remember where you are coming from in reference to where you are now. Remember how one moment of obedience changed it all for the nation of Judah. The word then says,” ‘On that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ declares the Lord Almighty (Haggai 2:23).”