I used to be shy about my story. I didn’t want to tell people out of fear - fear of rejection, fear of being made fun of, and fear that they would look at me differently. But over the course of the past several years, the Lord has taken that fear and whispered this simple reminder: “Carrie, I am going to take your mess and turn it into a ministry. Share what you overcame.” Sometimes it’s still a tug-of-war battle with God and I. I still get nervous, but he always washes that away. And as I type, and fingers still tremble a little bit, my heart still races a little bit faster, and I still get the urge to hit the backspace and erase what I’ve written so far.
When I was in early high school, I began to experiment with self-injury. In middle school, a boy cut himself in front of me, and I was curious. At that point in life, I struggled with self-worth, depression, and numbness. I needed to feel something, so I sat in my room and tried cutting for the first time. What started as a one-time thing turned into an addiction I carried with me for years. I came to college with the addiction and I just thought of it as something that would be there for the rest of my life. It was my normal.
But victory stories are the best stories. Stories of people in that rock bottom, climbing to the top, overcoming struggles, trials, weakness. Overcoming to become something new and something great.
That’s you. That’s me. That’s us.
Jesus came to give you that victory story. Jesus died to give you that victory story. Jesus came back to give you that victory story. I say we claim it again. It’s time throw off the shame, the guilt, the fear. Let’s share.
My story of overcoming was (and is) a long story. It was a process I had to go through for a while. It wasn’t overnight, and let’s begin with saying that’s okay. Your story doesn’t have to be a story that is instantaneous, it can take time.
I sit here and write now, free from that bondage. A survivor. An overcomer. And that’s all great. But how?
I had to get help.
I think a big part of overcoming is being vulnerable and honest. I had to speak up, with my trembling voice and say, “Here is where I am and I need help.” And I’ll tell you, it was terrifying. I told my parents and my closest friends. I started to see a counselor. I surrounded myself with people who spoke truth into my life. On the days I couldn’t get out of bed, I was encouraged and prayed for. And the Lord began to move in ways I could see.
I didn’t feel relief, freedom, or healing until I opened up. And community is such an important reminder that we need people to rally around us, encourage us, and cheer us on. There were days I tried to pray, but I didn’t know how. There were days I didn’t want to cut, but I didn’t know differently. And those people - my cheerleaders - talked me down, prayed over me, and showed me there was more to my story.
Do you believe that? You should, you wholeheartedly should.
Your story matters. So it’s worth overcoming. Every person plays a part, and every person will have a different story of victory - yours matters. Maybe your healing process looks differently than mine or your friends (I like to think of us as friends, is that ok?), but know it is intricately designed, perfect for you, fit for you, made by the God who made you and loves you.
As I stand on the other side, free and having overcoming, I will tell you one thing – it is so incredibly worth it.
Sisters, it’s time to overcome.
Written By: Carrie
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