As I slide into the morning, a carpe diem outlook begins to brew (the assist goes to caffeine and oatmeal). God and I will conquer this day together I say to myself as I scratch out my to-do list. Possibility percolates as I ready my pen to check off my assignments. But here’s where it goes south. You see, I am an unrealistic list-maker. It would take me and a staff of ten to carry out what I intend to complete in a day. These twenty or so items on my fantasy-list waiting to be checked off after work, after driving my kid around, after I make dinner… are oh-so unrealistic. My self-measuring stick is a ruler lined with tasks.
I do believe I was created to conquer. But sometimes this belief lies in how much I can accomplish and when I come up short, I often deflate in defeat. As I shine a spotlight on this deflation, I find a woman whose feelings of dismay transcend beyond an incomplete list of to-does, to a place that whispers your value is based on what you accomplish.
The truth is, this is not the only area where I struggle with murmurs of self-doubt and a sinking self-esteem. My fight is long and storied.
I often peek at the people around me who seem to walk strong, not struggling with many downfalls, who appear accomplished. Still, they too may hear the whispers. The insecurity, brokenness, depression, addiction, financial yuck (among the list), may be the private backstory of their lives. A yearning to overcome, yet stuck in the mud of pain, sin, and secrets.
Are there hidden whispers in your hidden places too? Can I speak something to you? My friend, you were created to conquer.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Romans 8:37 (NIV)
My heart fills with promise as I drink in this declaration written in a prison cell by the apostle Paul. In a preceding verse (I encourage you to read this section of scripture) Paul asks: ” Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (Romans 8:37)
This hero of faith was beaten by rods and whips, shipwrecked, and nearly drowned. He suffered from hunger and thirst, emotional agony, and danger, and much more. (2 Corinthians 11) Persecuted for championing the cause of Christ, Paul also suffered from a metaphoric Thorn in his Flesh (2 Corin. 12:7-10). Was it mental, physical or spiritual? Speculations abound.
Nevertheless, Paul’s joyful and vehement proclamation rings true inside that prison cell and to us today- we are more than conquerors. The Bible tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139) We are God’s handiwork, created to do good works. (Ephesians 2:10) God’s word is replete with declarations of His intention for us in our life here on earth.
But the Bible promises messiness too. In John 16:33, it says we WILL have trouble here. But this promised-filled messy spot is where Jesus comes in. Jesus’s heart is for us, His beloved, to live an abundant life, even though it can be tangled and untidy along the way.
I know this because I’ve lived it. Discouragement shadowed and disappointment conquered me again and again. I believed the worthless whispers until I grew tired of them and plugged my ears and got to work.
I am learning, down to my core, that my value is not based on what I accomplish, nor anything I’ve done or not done. I tossed the misshapen self-measuring stick aside. I’ve learned to hear God’s whispers through His word, as it tells me I am worthy because I am His. Completed to-do list or not, I am precious in his sight.
And so are you.
The world needs a you that is choosing to fight, to conquer, to heal. A you that walks towards victory.
Each fresh day, we have a choice. Will we face these next twenty-four hours as people who are created to conquer or as people who walk in defeat?
My Friend, what is holding you back? Name it.
Now go after it!
You were created to conquer.
“You are not what others think you are. You are what God knows you are.”
― Shannon Alder