I started this post at the beginning of the year but didn’t feel super victorious so I put it on the shelf. Now that the year is over I can see a little bit of what God had in mind.
- “an act of defeating an enemy or opponent in a battle, game, or other competition.”
I sat down during worship at the end of 2018 and asked God what my word was for 2019. Before I could even get the question out of my heart, I heard God say, “Victory.”
My first thought when the Lord said victory was, “Oh man, that means I have to fight!” I was fearful of the inevitable battles that come with a word like victory. The past several years have all felt like heavy battles and I wanted to see some breakthrough.
When God spoke victory over me, I became dreadful. I am faithful and steady, but not very brave. I have spent most of my life afraid and hiding. I rarely see future Tif without the limitations that I have known so well up to this point.
Now that 2019 is almost over, when I look back, I can see some of what God had in mind. There were key things throughout the year that God used to bring me victory:
- The enneagram taught me a lot about myself and others. I am a 2 which means I really enjoy helping people. This makes sense to me, but I had never seen the dark side of my desire to help until I studied the enneagram. Here’s a link to the test if you want to take it.
- My fear of confrontation was exposed. I am so worried about keeping the peace and not making a mess, that I am often afraid of bringing correction when needed.
- I was exposed for thinking it was modest to be rude to myself.
- I took a small group through Mending the Soul this summer which showed me that my journey towards healing is ever evolving.
- God took me into a wilderness season this fall. It was quiet and lonely.
- And then (the cherry on top): my dear friend got me the book Leadership and Self-Deception. It is not a Christian book, it’s actually a book for those in the workplace, but man, I have seen so much yuck in my life from that book. I highly recommend it.
When God spoke victory to me and over my year, it was not about being victorious over other people, or even the enemy. He was talking about getting victory over myself. My lenses were dirty and I was seeing through them unclearly. 2019 was like being exposed to my true self over and over and it wasn’t pleasant.
When I first started writing this post at the beginning of the year, I thought that these would be the kind of scriptures I would need:
“For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!” (Deuteronomy 20:4 NLT).
“Do not be afraid of them,” the Lord said to Joshua, “for I have given you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you,” (Joshua 10:8 NLT).
“For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith,” (1 John 5:4 NLT).
Those scriptures are powerful and all true but these are really more along the lines of what God had in mind for me:
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing,” (James 1:2-4 ESV).
“I’m not telling you this because I’m in need, for I have learned to be satisfied in any circumstance. I know what it means to lack, and I know what it means to experience overwhelming abundance. For I’m trained in the secret of overcoming all things, whether in fullness or in hunger. And I find that the strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty,” (Philippians 4:11-13 TPT).
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts,” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT).
Please hear me: God was not mean to me this year. But… I am stubborn and hardheaded sometimes. I resist change and justify my attitudes. God was kind and merciful to show me things that were harming me and keeping me stuck. This poem by Benjamin Barton does a great job of describing the kind of victory God wanted for me:
When I am neglected or forgotten, or purposely set at naught, and I smile inwardly, glorying in the insult, that is VICTORY.
When my good is evil spoken of, my wishes are crossed, my taste offended, my advice ridiculed, and I take it all in patient, loving, silence, that is VICTORY.
When I am content with simple raiment, plain food, any climate, any solitude, any interruption, that is VICTORY.
When I can stand face to face with folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility, contradiction of sinners, persecution, and endure it as Jesus endured it, that is VICTORY.
When I never care to refer to myself in conversation, nor seek commendation, when I can truly love to be unknown, that is VICTORY.
I have had to read that poem slowly over and over again. That is the goal. That is victory.
2019 was a year of victory for me. I held on tightly to God and allowed Him to do the surgery on my heart that He needed to. I’m sure there is still much more work to be done but I’m grateful for growth. My purpose is to glorify God, not be comfortable. I hope that when you look back over your year, you can see that God was up to good stuff in you too. Even the things that seemed hard or unfair, He will use to shape and mold you into who He created you to be.
I challenge you to ask God for a word for 2020. I got mine the other day while I was having a conversation with a couple we mentor. I was telling the husband about a vision the Lord gave me and while I was talking, God whispered the word, “TRAIN,” to me. I will be training in 2020. These words help us to have perspective when we are in the thick of it. Several times throughout the year, I stood on the fact that God promised me victory and knew He would see me through. When I get frustrated next year about the training that I will be experiencing, I will remember that He isn’t wasting my time. He is training me for a purpose and I can handle whatever comes because He is the one who spoke it.
“I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for,” (Jeremiah 29:11 MSG).