What about the emotional and spiritual victories? The moments in your life when you had to overcome a broken heart, heal from a loss of someone you love, walk through and move on from a broken relationship, accept a 'new normal' that you didn't sign up for. When we allow God’s healing into these dark places in our lives, we can find and declare victory in Jesus. These mountain top experiences help us get through the valleys and desert times in our lives. These victories can accumulate over time and work as a reminder to you of God's provisions and promises. God doesn't promise we won't ever hurt again or endure a trial, but if we remember our victories instead of only our losses, we will be better equipped for the next situation that arises.
In 2013, my son C was on a little league baseball team called the Hot Rods. He started the season strong, but by the middle had been hit by baseball pitches multiple times. He then became discouraged, asking if he still had to go to practice. C started to feel unworthy as a player, like he wasn't adding anything to his team. In a playoff game against the Emeralds, to further advance either team, the Hot Rods were down by 3 - if they couldn't score in the last inning, they were finished. First batter up, out. C was up second; I couldn't help but pray from right field that he would get a hit, one that would make a difference, one that would raise his confidence level. As I held my breath and watched a few pitches go by, I told myself what a great season he had. One full of learning how to throw and hit a ball for the first time, one full of laughter and teaching him what it meant to support his teammates and cheer on others when they succeed. A season full of not giving up, staying committed to practicing and learning more about baseball. It took a team of coaches, players and his biggest fans (his parents) not getting frustrated, being patient and being driven to succeed. After all, it was about sportsmanship and finding the joy in every aspect of life.
It felt like slow motion in that moment as I watched the next pitch. It came right down the middle and I heard that wonderful cracking sound as C hit a double!!! He stood there in pure shock until everyone screamed "RUN!" When he got to second base, he did the cutest victory dance, hands in the air and all. Next batter up hit a single, which sent C to third base - if you are thinking we waited for another batter, nope; coach yelled for him to run like the wind home!!! C ran with all his might, adrenaline on full blast, to slide and steal home base. Hot Rods won and advanced to the 2013 playoffs, where they played hard and won the Little League Baseball Championship!!!!
C didn’t know what it would feel like to win for his team - that they would all shout his name while his Dad paraded him around in the air. All he knew was that he was letting his team down every time the bases were loaded and he froze at the plate in fear. Fear of getting hit, fear that he would strike out and fear of disappointing everyone watching him. At any point in the season, his coach and teammates could've given up on him; we could've too. We could've convinced him that baseball just wasn’t his gift and maybe he would do better in a video game championship (he is truly amazing at video games - his Dad designs games, it’s in his blood). C could’ve given up too – but he remained dedicated and committed to the work, putting forth the effort, hoping that one day it would reap a reward. He practiced, he learned what a strike was and how to shake off being hit by a pitch. He learned to swing and that if you are going to go down, at least go down swinging!!!! He also learned to run. C is not a “high-knees” kind of runner - he is a “shuffle-your-feet” kind of runner, :”slow and steady wins the race” is more his speed. That day though, when he finally got his hit, that sweet boy RAN. When you finally have purpose, you run with urgency.
Victories don't come from sitting. Through my own life experiences and the difficult journey’s I have had to walk, I can attest to the fact that my joy gets stolen in times when I fear the unknown or refuse to move forward in healing and restoration. Many of us accept our lives instead of playing a leading role. Don’t just accept failure or loss - attack it, grow from it, better equip yourself for the future. We must put forth effort; we must try; we must keep our eyes focused on our maker. We need to trust every victory, great or small, so we can trust that God is holding us every time a trial comes our way. We must stay focused vertically instead of horizontally, keeping our hearts and minds centered on God instead of a fallen world that will fail us.
I don’t know where you are at today. Maybe the pain you are experiencing is more than you can bear or you are like me and live in a frequent tug-a-war with what your heart and mind wants/needs. I want to encourage you to look back on some of the victories in your life and see how you and God overcame together. Sometimes we need a good old fashioned little league WIN in our lives. It wouldn’t be an instant cure, but those few moments of unsurpassable joy would leave such an impression that you would certainly find the energy and momentum you need to power through what stands in your way.
1 Corinthians 15:57 says, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Give him your hurts, your struggles and your fears so that you can be an overcomer and declare victory over it all.