Overcoming is kind of a tough idea for me to tackle when I really start to think about it. The first thing that comes to mind is an image of someone who just climbed to the tippy top of a huge mountain. I’m not exactly sure why that’s what I think of, but I do think it makes for an accurate metaphor.
Have you ever faced something in your own life that felt like a huge mountain in the middle of your path? You’re going along smoothly, and then boom. There’s a mountain and you can’t continue smoothly down that road like you expected. Maybe you were broken up with, or you didn’t get into the college you dreamed of attending, or you are diagnosed with a significant disease, or any number of other challenges.
While this mountain metaphor is great and all, sometimes we face hard things that don’t look like mountains at all. Sometimes they’re almost invisible. You view yourself very negatively, or you battle perfectionist tendencies, or you face a crisis of belief. These kinds of challenges don’t always attract as much attention, but they can be just as much of a struggle to overcome.
I’ve had a tough time finishing this post, because once I would reach this point I’d start to type about a struggle in my past that I’ve overcome through Christ. However, what I found was that the things I struggled with in the past still pop up from time to time. Maybe not quite as much, but they are still a struggle for sure. When this happens, I tend to get discouraged. I think to myself, “I overcame this already. How are these feelings coming back again?” On this side of heaven, our struggles will never fully disappear, because we live in a fallen world full of sin. Through God’s grace we can fight against our struggles and not be beaten down by them. He fills us with power and strength to persevere, and allows us not to be enslaved to our struggles. However, temptation and pain will never fully end until we reach heaven. At first that thought seems a little discouraging to me, but look deeper. There’s a promise full of hope. What that means, is that in heaven every single one of our challenges will be gone! And until then, God will strengthen us to face them, but we do not have to completely obliterate them in our own strength. I find encouragement and hope and peace in knowing that I don’t need to fight against my struggles in my own strength, and be discouraged when I’m not strong enough to beat them. Christ has already overcome all of our challenges. We cling to Him in that hope now, and one day we will be brought to glory with Him and our mountains will all disappear in the blink of an eye.
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Written By: Emily
I have had a hard time getting my thoughts together on this theme of overcomer. Not because I have never had to deal with hard stuff and not because God hasn’t helped me overcome, but because so many of the issue’s I have dealt with haven’t been 100% cured. I kept asking myself, what am I cured of? And that’s not the point. The definition of overcomer is “to prevail over (opposition, debility, temptations, etc.)” It doesn’t say prevail once and for all. It’s not being cured of something, never to have to deal with it again. I have heard people say they quit smoking and never craved a cigarette again or they quit drinking and never wanted another drink. For the most of us though, God has brought us through a tough time AND he continues to be your strength because the struggles come again. At least, that’s the case for me. Often times I think that God wants us to learn from Him and lean on Him in the tough times and then continue to learn and lean in the better times as well. I know with my struggles I have to rely on Him and keep my eyes on Him daily because I know the devil knows just where to attack and I have to be ready.
I’ve struggled on and off for a lot of years with depression and more recently anxiety. Right now things are great but that wasn’t the case even just a few weeks ago. Depression and anxiety are something that literally just seem to come out of nowhere for me. Often times there are no triggers, and they don’t show up just when times are tough and hard. It’s a weakness that the devil knows just how to use, so I am in a constant battle. I wish I could say that God has completely cured me but the truth is, he hasn’t. And I’m ok with that. I know he uses my struggles for his glory. I know that in my tough and dark times I have someone more powerful than I could ever be fighting my battles. I know I have someone holding up my head. Psalm 3:3 says, “But you, O LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.” If I didn’t have struggles, would I keep my focus on God or would it stray because life was so easy?
The Bible makes it very clear that we are always in a battle. He also speaks very plainly about the attacks of the devil. In 1 Peter 5:8, Peter says, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” We have an enemy that is looking for the weaknesses in our lives, our struggles, our temptations, our addictions. BUT in John 10:10 Jesus says, “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance.” We have a way to continue to have an abundant life in the midst of the messes life can bring! It’s Jesus!
First it is having a relationship with him. Let him be King of Kings and Lord of Lord in your life! Second, keep him as the top priority in all you do. Keep your eyes focused on him, learn his word and talk with him ALWAYS, in the good times and bad. Third, have people in your life who will encourage you and turn you back to Jesus when you get off track. When the struggles of life get you overwhelmed, you need someone to help point you back in the right direction. And remember, you are an overcomer! The one who overcame sin and death is fighting for you and loves you! He is your shield, your glory and the one who will always lift your head!
Written By: Heather
Fear is defined as “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger” (Miriam Webster)” This definition is something that has lingered in my life for countless years and sometimes still does. Recently this month, I have had two areas of my life trigger fear from my health to financial security. In both instances for about 3-4 hours I struggled with fear. You’re probably thinking well then why are you talking about overcoming fear if you still struggle with it?
Good question, fear I believe is something that we will struggle with over our lifetime. Fear is an emotion that is normal to experience, the problem really with fear is that it can be gripping. It can grip you to the core of your heart and make you question the sovereignty of God. Overcoming fear is not suppressing the emotion of fear. Overcoming fear is a heart change. Overcoming fear is trusting in Christ so much that no matter what comes your way you know Christ is with you. Overcoming fear is knowing in the depths of your heart God is sovereign over all. In the book of 1 Timothy it talks about the type of spirit Christ has given us.
1 Timothy 1: 7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
To overcome fear is to grab ahold of those fearful thoughts and remind yourself that Christ is your source of strength. I challenge you to write this verse down on an index card put it on your mirror and memorize it. When hard things come your way quote this verse and know God is with you. To overcome fear and to trust Christ with your whole heart is the best feeling. You feel free, relieved, and deeply loved by your heavenly Father. So, stop living behind the bars of fear and live in the freedom of trusting the Almighty God.
Written by: Rebeccah
Everyone loves a story of overcoming, right? Everyone loves the underdog! It is so encouraging to hear stories of overcoming until you’re the one that has something to overcome. For me, overcoming has always involved some amount of pain. I have overcome many obstacles in life and I can honestly say it has never become easier with time. In order to best explain the process and the lessons I have learned, I will discuss the most difficult thing I have ever had to overcome.
Some of you may know my story, and for some of you this may be the first time you hear it. In my sophomore year of college, I was diagnosed with an eating disorder, anxiety, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. My world was shattered. I felt broken and ashamed and scared, the list of emotions could go on forever. For the first time in my life I felt stuck, I didn’t see a way out of the pit that I had somehow dug myself into.
It wasn’t until two years later that I felt that I had “overcome”. How did I get there? Through Christ and Christ alone. Here’s the kicker though, I still have bad days. It is still hard. Recovery and overcoming is not linear. Overcoming came from taking baby steps forward and persevering on the days where I rolled backwards. It required patience with myself and trusting that the Lord had never left me no matter how far I felt from Him.
The tattoo down my spine says, “I loved you at your darkest.” It is based on Romans 5:8 and reminds me every single day that Christ died for me in spite of my filth and shame. It also reminds me that because of His death, I am forgiven and able to overcome again and again. Please keep in mind that recovery and overcoming is something that we will succeed and fail at every single day. Please also keep in mind that overcoming is possible through Christ. Think about the verse that talks about having faith the size of a mustard seed. Having faith in Christ will allow us to overcome time and time again. Use the resources He has given you here on Earth and look to Him always. You can and will overcome.
Written By: Adyson
One of the first things I ask people when I get to know them is “what character of The Office do you identify with?” It says a lot about them, if we’re being honest. I always said I was Pam (because I wanted a love like her a Jim), but people started to tell me that I was more of a Kelly. Kelly? No, absolutely not. Wait, yes. You’re right. So now when I have this conversation, I declare that I’m Kelly, and I proudly have that as my identity in The Office.
This is a silly example (but also super serious, I don’t take this question lightly), but identity is something we take value in. There are lots of routes I could take while talking about identity – self-confidence, self-image, etc. But I want to take that route that’s close to my heart right now, and it might be close to yours.
I have taken on a few identities: single, broken, and weak.
I’m the twenty-three year old who isn’t in a relationship, and has only really seen broken love when it comes to relationships. I’ve been in a toxic relationship, have been greatly mistreated by someone recently, and I’ve just felt devastation. I’ve put my identity in this.
Maybe you’re with me right now. “Yes Carrie, I get that.” Or maybe your identity is found in hurt you’ve experienced from your parents, or a family member, or a friend, or whoever.
Let me start with this: Your identity is not found in your pain.
Read that again, and another time. This isn’t who you are. Your identity is not found in what has happened to you, or even what will happen to you. Your identity is found in the never ending and crazy love the Lord has for you.
I recently began going to counseling, and I sat across from her and told her stories of things I’ve been through, things I’ve never shared before, and I said, “This is all I know, so I feel like it’s just who I am.”
She replied with, “Let me stop you there.”
Do you see how dangerous this thinking is? How it completely distorts how we view ourselves and what we deserve?
Sweet friend, it’s time to change our identity.
How? What do we do to strip off the identities we’ve placed on ourselves and put on the one we get to rejoice in? We ground ourselves in truth. We learn what the Lord says of us, and we declare, “This is who I am. Not what this person says, not what the media says, and not what I say. My identity is found in Jesus.” And from that, we begin to see ourselves differently. We have armor to defend ourselves with, we have ammo when the enemy wants to toss lies at you. We know who we are.
I clung to the identity I gave myself for a long time, and as I start to discover what the Lord says about me, I’ve viewed myself in a new way. Loved. Cherished. Free. Brave. I am no longer a girl who has been tossed to the side and hurt, but greatly loved by the God who made me. And let me preface with this: this is not an overnight thing. It is a process. This will take discipline, prayer, and accountability.
I didn’t see change until I told someone about the way I felt. Share with a family member, friend, or mentor how you’re feeling with your identity. Let them love you and cover you in prayer. Allow them to walk with you through this time.
Lysa TerKeurst writes, “We must tie our identities to our unchanging, unflinching, unyielding, undeniably good, and unquestionably living God.” Not to ourselves or the people around us. Him alone. When our identity is found in the One who made us and loves us, the opinions from others wipe away, become nothing, and lose value. Your identity is found in the empty grave, and not the pain you’ve experienced in life.
This is your identity: Loved. Chosen. Free. Forgiven. Friend. Daughter. Beautiful. Known. Heard. Seen. New.
But let’s begin the process today. Wherever you are, whether in your room, at school, at work, at a coffee shop, let’s change the way we see ourselves. Tear off the old identity. That’s not who you are anymore. Claim these – this is the truth.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” 1 Peter 2:9
Written By: Carrie
Imagine something with me for just a minute… You and I are at a quaint little coffee shop. It might be your most-frequented stop, and you’re introducing me to your favorite cup of coffee. Or perhaps we’re checking out a new-to-us spot. The choice is yours; it’s up to you. But the coffee’s on me. What are you sipping on? I probably have an Americano with pumpkin spice and steamed almond milk in hand. (Because as I write this, that’s what I’m actually sipping on.) We’re sitting in our cozy little spot, and rather than spend much time on small talk, we decide to get down to what really counts. I want to know the real you. So I ask you to tell me who you truly are. I want to know what makes your heart skip a beat; what makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning.
Go ahead and take a minute wherever you are right now, and think about that. Jot down a few words that come to mind, or make a mental list.
If you’re anything like me it might feel a little awkward to describe yourself. It makes me think of one of those icebreaker games. Just bear with me.
Are you funny? Sarcastic? Athletic? A friend or daughter? Girlfriend, fiancé, or wife? Musical? Are you short or tall? Quiet or outgoing? Creative, academic, or both?
There’s an almost endless amount of words and qualities you could choose from, and none of them are wrong. (Unless it’s a gift you totally don’t have, like if I said I was a singer. If you know me well—real, real well—you’ve heard my voice and you’re laughing right now.) However, the way you think about some of these words could be wrong.
If you’re an athlete, rock on girl. I played one season of church league basketball in the third grade and cried on my way to the first practice because I was so not excited about it. If you’re someone who loves the practice and competition, I can totally respect that. However, no matter how impressive a player you are, that trait is not the most important thing about you. The same goes for any of the other characteristics I listed above.
Being smart, athletic, or artistic are important things. They help make you who you are. God gave you these abilities and talents, and they influence the way we worship God and interact with the people around us.
This brings up my two main points here:
Think back to those words you would’ve told me about yourself in the coffee shop earlier. Your gifts and talents are incredible, and I hope and pray that you work on refining those and fulfilling your God-given potential in all of those areas. However, I pray that you never forget who you really are. I pray that you remember who God says you are, and find your worth and value in that. Your gifts and talents may disappear at any moment, so if that is where you base your worth, you will shatter and have to pick up the pieces and create yourself again. However, if you find your definition of self in God’s Word, you will stand firm no matter what you face. You can always be confident in who you are because of Whose you are.
Written By: Emily
Who are you?? That is a question I ask myself all the time because who I am seems to change all the time! I currently am a wife, a mom, a step-mom, a daughter, an aunt, a travel agent, a teacher and a kindergarten room mom. Just 5 years ago I was a wife, step-mom, soccer mom, aunt, daughter, granddaughter and teacher. Five years before that, I was single and a social worker. Five years before that, I was a college student, a bible study leader, a fiancé, a roommate and a friend. You get the picture! Life changes, seasons change and who you are and the role you play changes. You may feel confident, you may feel totally insignificant, you may be comfortable or totally unhappy, you may feel uncertain or in completely over your head. Life is a roller coaster and changes are around every corner!
However, there is one thing in the midst of it all that is constant. And that one thing is who you are in Christ! Sweet girl, this is why I became a part of the Worth More Team. I have struggled all of my life trying to get the knowledge in my head of who I am in Christ to connect with my heart. I want so badly for you to know that Christ made you in his image. You are so perfect and so loved! God created you in His image. As you go through life, as seasons change good or bad, remember that the one constant is that you are a child of the King and He loves you no matter what!
Psalm 139:13-16 MSG
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.
Written By: Heather
Driving down the road the other day, I was struggling. I was having one of those days where I had an attitude problem. My attitude was mixed with frustration and annoyance. There was not anything that made me upset or caused me to have a bad attitude, I just woke up that way. Have you ever had one of those days? I think we all have been there. Recently, I‘ve had several of those days in a row. My attitude stunk and I was not sure what was making me so frustrated.
Then it dawned on me: I was struggling with my attitude towards myself. I started tracing the patterns of my thoughts and realized that they were all wrapped up in my faults. My attitude was negative because I was judging myself. I did not like the way I was not comprehending things I was trying to learn, I did not like that I was struggling with acne and felt ugly, and the list goes on. When it comes to our identity and the way we think about ourselves, we need to check our attitudes. Your attitude affects your identity. The way that you think about yourself is so powerful. It is important that you keep your attitude in check.
Philippians 2:5 "Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus"
We need to set our thoughts on the things of Christ. Our thoughts shape our attitude and our attitude helps to shape our identity. So, it is vital that if we want to have a positive self-image and view of who God made us, we need to be in the word. We need to be grounded in truth and think like Christ. When we have Jesus in our life, we are given a new identity. The things from the past are gone and we are a new self.
Colossians 3:10 “And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”
Girls, let's reign in our bad attitudes and not let it affect how we view ourselves. The truth is we are all beautiful! We are gorgeous daughters of God and we need to know that we are deeply loved. I challenge you if you are struggling with this to write down all the good qualities about yourself. Then after that look up scripture that reminds you of the truth of whose you are! Take the challenge and know you are beautiful!
Written By: Rebeccah
You’re meeting someone new, starting a new job, moving, stressed out, going through a breakup—what is the one thing everyone tells you? “Just be you! Do your best! There is no one out there that can be a better you than you!” What happens when that doesn’t feel like enough, though? What if that really isn’t enough? This happened to me recently.
I started my first “big girl” job this summer, something that we all will do eventually. It has been going really well, but of course it isn’t perfect. I found myself struggling to find my niche, where I belonged in the hierarchy of the professional world. It’s all so new and can be so scary to figure out how to carry myself as a professional. When talking to my mom about it, she so lovingly said, “It’s all okay, just be you! People love you!” As much as I knew she was right, I couldn’t help but get teary-eyed. I couldn’t shake the feeling that “being me” wasn’t enough this time.
Friends, this is where Satan gets us. If he can get us to doubt, he can get us to believe. If I had kept going with this train of thought, there could have been dire consequences. Let’s talk about the snowball effect—a snowball starts small and continues to get bigger as it spins; our thoughts do the same thing. It starts with “maybe I’m not good enough” and ends with a broken spirit, too afraid and disparaged to move forward. Friends, do not believe everything you think. Do you hear me? I am going to say it again. Do not believe everything you think. Thoughts flow in and out of our head all day every day, hold tight to the truth and refuse to latch on to the lies.
You are enough. You always have been enough and you always will be. Do you know how I know that? Before you were born, at your lowest point in life, at your best, God loved you so much that He sent His son to die for you. He knew you were worth it, and He knows you are worth it now. You were and are enough, there was never a shadow of a doubt regarding your worth.
There is a video on YouTube called, “Beyond the Shadow of a Doubt.” It is a spoken word by Joseph Solomon. Watch it. Watch it. In seven minutes, I was reduced to a puddle of tears as I realized just how much I doubt myself and worse, how much I doubt my God. Watch it. Joseph cries into the camera and in one of the most powerful moments exclaims, “Doubt your doubts, don’t doubt your God.” Friends, doubt your doubts. Next time you are doubting yourself, your purpose, your faith, doubt those doubts, do not doubt your God.
As I sat on my bed questioning if being myself was enough, if I was enough, I was wracked with guilt as I realized that doubting myself was doubting my God. When we don’t believe we are enough, we are saying God made a mistake somewhere along the line in creating us. Friends, He doesn’t make mistakes. He created you in His image, with His son’s blood covering you, making you completely capable to walk this Earth as an image-bearer of Himself. You are enough. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at what the scripture says. Romans 8:17 says, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” What does that mean? An heir is someone who will inherit something. So, this verse is saying that we as children of God are inheriting His kingdom, just like Christ did as we are co-heirs or co-inheritors with Christ. How incredible is that?
Next time that you are doubting yourself or questioning if you are enough, I want you to take a pen and write that verse down: on your wrist, a post-it note, somewhere. You are a child of God and a co-heir with Christ, you re unrivaled. There is not a force on this Earth that can take you out of the game, because God is within you. You have always been and always will be enough.
Friends, I leave you with a challenge. I want you to go through scripture and make a list of what scripture says you are as a child of God. I will get you started with a few of my favorites: without rival, relentlessly pursued, redeemed, free, accepted—the list goes on and on. Next time you are questioning if you are enough, I want you to pull out this list and hold your head high. You are enough.
Written By: Adyson
Old friends make the best friends, that’s what I hear older people say anyway. I never truly believed
this saying until last fall when I ran into a familiar face at my local Target in town. Her name was
Jacqueline, she was nineteen now and a college student. Her hair was now a dark brown and her once freckled face was now clear. We ran into each other at Target, ironically down the street from where both our younger years began in Fresno, California. It took a couple glances before I realized this
Jacqueline was my Jacqueline, just a grown-up version. She too looked at me and realized I was
Vanessa, her Vanessa from years ago. We both had grown up. Instantly, our faces became familiar to
each other once again and we ran to hug each other. It was as if no time had passed, and the stories
of past childhood antics began right in the middle aisle of Target.
Frankly, I can’t remember when Jacqueline wasn’t there. Even though years had passed she was always in my thoughts and in my own way I knew she was there cheering me on. I guess we never forget our first best friend and the innocence of childhood play. We had started kindergarten together in 2000, we were both born in 1995 and at a young age we both knew we were headed for greatness. We were going to become well know movie stars together and take over Hollywood. We were both similar and did first of many things together.
Both our houses had a fence between us, so instead of walking through the front door Jacqueline’s
mom would push us over the fence. That fence looked like a mountain in my child eyes! Her mom
would always say,” If you have fear you get nowhere.” I think that’s why I live my life fearless now. Her
mom was my favorite person on the planet. That’s what I used to tell her anyways! Her mom always
made me feel safe and loved, something that my parents couldn’t give me. Looking back now I think
that’s why she took a special interest in me.
Jacqueline had a larger than life personality. Her short, uncombed, red hair and face full of freckles
matched that fiery personality! I had long dark brown hair, glasses and a larger than life personality as well. We were the perfect match. Most of our time was spent at Jacqueline’s house. She had a room full of Barbies, Britney Spears newest music hits and a drawer full of dress up clothes. I was on cloud nine, just straight heaven.
As soon as school was out we’d run into the house grab goldfish crackers, a handful of candy and go
straight to her room. We’d play for hours jumping on her bed, laughing until we cried. She had many
Britney Spears dolls so, we sang, “Oops I did it again” 24/7 around the house. That’s when our ideas of being famous began. We were going to be popular like Britney Spears. Loved by all!
On many occasions, you could catch us running around the house naked, wearing only underwear and a superman cape with a princess crown half off our heads. We were a mess. There was nothing we couldn’t accomplish or save together. We were invincible.
Jacqueline and I loved just talking with each other and being in the moment. In fact, we loved being
together and talking so much our larger than life personalities got us in trouble in first grade. We had to sit in the corner for disturbing the class and talking too much. Our teacher wasn’t too pleased with us that day. We laughed anyways.
Jacqueline and I loved to sit on her mom’s bed and watch her get ready for dates, and dream of being grown up wearing red lipstick. We would watch movies together, play in the dirt, swim, play soccer, put our heads out the window in her mom’s convertible, saw plays together at the local theatre, we had endless sleepovers, she would be at all my parties and I at hers. There was nothing we did separate.
We were truly partners in crime.
One day I came over, she was curled up in a ball crying. She was moving to a different town. It was the end of second grade now and the end of my first best friend. She did move. She hugged me by saying we’d always be best friends and her mother kissed me and told me to be tough, strong girl and know I was loved. I was heartbroken. I would look at her house with new neighbors and want my friend back. We lost contact and that second-grade summer would be the last time I saw her.
Time passed and here we were now both in the same aisle in Target down the street from where our younger years began. As our talked ended, we smiled, wiped tears and hugged, for a moment all I saw was the five-year-old Jacqueline, not the nineteen-year-old Jacqueline. We talked about college, Jesus, our salvation, what became of our lives, my move to LA, and life. Even thou we grew up, I’ll always see her as that red headed, freckled face kid running around naked with me in a superman cape and tiara. I watched her walk away. I wasn’t sad this time, I was happy. I finally realized when someone leaves our lives it’s not always forever, some do come back. True friendship never dies, it’s always in the heart. I have Jacqueline to thank for that lesson.
In this new season of school, college classes or wherever you are at in life, remember the importance of being intentional in friendships. It's true you never know where or how those friendship's will end up, but it's important to remember that friends may come and go, yes, but that's why we must show Christ to them in our time together. Show Christ-like love, be present, love knowing we may or may not get hurt in that friendship, and always pray. Pray for wisdom, guidance, grace and love. Friends expose sin that keeps us from God. They are honest about our faults. That's a two-way street, be honest with them as well. Friends help us to enjoy God. This can be by going to church groups together, hitting up a Christian concert, or simply sitting in your dorm room talking about him. Friends lead us back to God when we get distracted and head onto the wrong life path. Friends see us for how God sees us: beautiful, worthy, and seen.
Thank God for old friendships. Also, thank him for the new ones to come. Be blessed sweet friends.
Written By: Vanessa