I am the victory. I am why He went to the cross and rose from the grave. I am His victory. The Bride is His victory, which means we saints are all His victory. It was all for us, all for His love, all for the Beloved.
The victories in my life are all His. If it weren’t for Him, I would have no victory. I would be no victory. My life would be meaningless and empty. I would be wandering in a wasteland aching and straining for a love that I could never get on my own or earn or deserve. I would be more desolate inside than the wilderness I restlessly roamed. I would be dead inside even while my body still breathed.
Yet, here I am – alive, breathing and filling up inside with a vibrancy I only thought possible in fairy-tales and make-believe worlds. I have done absolutely nothing to deserve this. No effort of mine made this possible. No striving, no conniving, no bargaining, no manipulating, no earning, no achieving made this a reality for me. Nothing short of surrendering my pride and rebellion could open the door to His gentle knock on the door of my heart.
Let me tell you, that was a brutal battle to lay down my pride. I didn’t know it was pride, for a long time. It took His patient teaching and leading for me to understand how deep I was in rejecting Him and His ways. It was humbling. It also, crazy as it sounds to my ears, was what broke through the granite dam stopping up the waters of life in my soul. It cut through layers of crap that I thought I’d already blasted through with my bravado, my religious battle cries and feigned hope disguising my doubt and despair. I was clueless to what I really needed to do which was to let go of self-reliance and fear of rejection.
I needed to surrender. Worse. I needed to admit that I need things. Up until then, there were only a few things in life that I was unable to deny that I needed – air, food, water, shelter and finances to get those other four needs taken care of. And I was pretty sure that I was smart enough to get money on my own without anyone else’s help. The Lord let me believe that for a while. I guess you could call it a training wheels season before He’d challenge me to try surrendering my so-called independence.
I had no reason to trust Him. I had no framework in my childhood to build on. I had no ability to trust a human being let alone an invisible being. I’m pretty sure now that that’s part of the victory, His victory – getting me to trust Him in spite of all the crap I’ve survived. Coping skills are a tricky thing to let go of. Survival skills, that’s what my coping skills were to me. I was not going to give those up without a fight.
I need Him. I need relationship. I need family, community, acceptance and belonging.
Admitting those things to myself was hard. I wanted to think of myself as indestructible and self-sufficient. I wanted to help others but always be above their help. I wanted to be untouchable. And I was. No one got close. No one got in. The truth is that it kept me safe from the dangerous people around me when I was younger. But those survival skills needed to go once I was in a safe place, once I knew more about Him, once I was past just surviving.
I wish I could say it was easy or that there are ten easy steps to freedom and surrendering to God. But the truth is that I’ve always distrusted anyone who claimed they had all the answers or that their one-size-fits-all method worked for everyone – guaranteed. I just don’t believe that crap. Here’s what I have to offer you – my story of how He brought me out of my personal hell. And here’s why I share my story – to give you encouragement, to let you know that you’re not alone in having pain, trauma, sorrow and a crappy experience in life, to show you that God can do for anyone what He did for me but in a way that is as unique as you are.
I’ve never met any two people who have exactly the same story of His glory. Each one of us reveals something new about Him and so do our stories. He is way too vast to do the same thing twice, ever, in all of time. You are unique. Your story is unique. Your image of Him is unique. How He rescues you, redeems you and restores you is going to be unique.
Your unique life and story matters. To all of us. To each of us. To Him. You are the victory. This is all for you because He loves you that much. You are His victory. Savor that. It will carry you through whatever battles lie ahead and to the victories just beyond.