Stress … Anxiety … Confusion – these had become familiar companions over this past year. Why was this so hard? I came to the Lord with all my un-spiritual emotions and jokingly asked, “You’ve called me to write a book about hope – it’s seems like you could be a little more supportive!”
Have you ever walked forward in obedience only to be confused by long delays, unexplained detours, and unmet expectations? Have you found yourself wondering why the right path, God’s path, came with obstacles and difficulties rather than ease and comfort?
So how do we live in these places … as we wait for breakthrough … as we seek God’s guidance … as we wonder why God is making us wait … and how do we restrain ourselves from simply walking forward in our own “obviously wise” plans?
As I’ve asked these same questions, my heart has been captivated by the following verse:
In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
In all these things – stress, anxiety, confusion – we are more than conquerors!
Not JUST conquerors … MORE than conquerors!
We are created to conquer! Called to overcome!
So, how do we live Victoriously rather than defeated?
How do we live as Overcomers rather than overwhelmed?
God’s powerful answer to my questions came one morning as I worshiped Him with the song, “Holy Spirit” by Francesca Battistelli: Being an overcomer, first and foremost requires being overcome by His presence … overcome by His love!
Yes! When we surrender to God’s powerful, conquering love that is ours in Christ Jesus our Lord – then the victory is won!
What a surprising paradox: Surrender leads to Victory! The battle plan for God’s Conquering Heroes begins with a humble waving of a white flag.
Two weeks ago, after giving up all my self-effort, I surrendered my stress, anxiety and confusion to the Lord. “I can’t write this book. I don’t understand how to proceed. Show me how, Lord.”
That’s when God finally showed me the way forward. Isn’t that how it always seems to work?
We lay ourselves down – our Savior Rises up.
We confess we’re overwhelmed – our Overcomer overwhelms us with His loving presence.
We wave the white flag of surrender – our Conquering Hero leads us to Victory!
Here’s how it happened for me: God opened the door to a writing retreat, one-on-one time with a writing coach, an author and international speaker, who spent time with me in worship and prayer as we sought the Lord’s wisdom for this book. She gave me assignments and scriptures, but as I looked at her published books and considered all that needed to be done before my dream became reality, I was again overwhelmed.
I found myself defeated by the impossibilities of God’s call … focusing more on my inabilities rather than God’s sufficiency.
Yet the Lord graciously met me in this place, inviting me to believe Him with surrendered abandon: “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
I surrendered the confusion of my long waits, gave up the lie that I was somehow disappointing God by my inability to complete this task, and embraced the truth that: Our delays are not His denials.
In just two days – in many surprising ways – in His perfect timing, through the conquering power of His indescribable love – God broke through! Not only building up my soul but also building a framework for the new book – providing a powerful flow and focus.
I am praising God for victories and thanking all of you who have been holding me up in prayer. I woke up the day after this retreat with a heart full of peace, rather than anxiety. I even slept through the night for the first time in two years!
God uses our smallest surrenders to pave the way to His greatest victories! We are overwhelmingly victorious in all things as we intentionally open our hearts to the power of God’s lavish, extravagant, ever-present, unconditional love!
Lord, may we be overcome – not by our circumstances – but by Your unyielding, unconditional and unlimited love. May we be overcome by You, Jesus, rather than overwhelmed by life. We love You and trust You!