The words read failed in the right-hand corner of the paper. “You are a failure” You always fail at these things. You are worthless.” These thoughts rang in my head as I stared at the sheet of paper in my hand. I had just taken a four-hour exam that held my future. This has got to be a mistake. How in the world did I fail? I studied half a year for this. I folded the paper quickly and shoved it in my purse. I stepped onto the elevator and the thoughts continued. “Everyone knows you were taking this test today, you can’t tell them you failed. They are forever going to see you as a failure. You will never amount to anything.” I reached my car and collapsed in the seat. How did this happen? I just threw my entire future away, by failing this test. I had just failed my licensing examination and I had no clue how I was going to move forward. I called my parents and told them the news while sobbing. I ugly cried all the way home.
Failure is something I had not experienced in a long time. I was furious. I was furious with myself and furious with God. I could not believe he would allow me to fail this. I prayed so hard and studied harder than ever. For once in my life, I felt like God had failed me. It pains me to even write those words but that is truly how I felt. I had never been so upset. This was my future and I felt like I was following where God wanted me. Not to mention I paid a lot of money for the examination. Days went by and I began to distance myself from the Lord. I stopped attending my young adult group and paying attention in church.
One day, God spoke to me and he whispered gently, “I am going to use this failure.” It was painful to hear but this verse came to mind. “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you” Hebrews 13:5. I had memorized this verse long ago when my grandfather shared this verse with me when he was going through cancer treatment. With that simple whisper “ I am going to use this failure.” I began to adjust the way I had been thinking. I realized I had bought into the lie the enemy had told me “You are a failure and God failed you.” Yes, I did fail, but my worth is not based in my performance on an exam, even a national one. God did not fail me. He was with me every step of the way and he has something better for me. I want to encourage you if you are in a time where you feel like you completely blew it. God is not finished with you yet. He has not left you. He is walking with you in this time. Remember he will never fail you and will never leave you. I challenge you to memorize this verse and every time you feel defeated or doubt God’s faithfulness pray this and repeat it over and over until you truly believe it with your whole heart.
How God is using my failure/ lessons learned:
These are a couple of things I have learned from my failure. I challenge you to reflect on your failure and see how God is using it. God has a purpose for everything and every struggle we go through. So, take this failure and let God use it for his glory!
Written by: Rebeccah McCully
Failure. It is something we all deal with and can be incredibly devastating, even debilitating at times. There were times in my life where I felt like the Linkin Park song, “In the End” was my anthem. I felt like I would try to do better, try to succeed even harder just for nothing to happen and all of my efforts to amount to nothing.
If you know my story, you know that I struggled with an eating disorder as well as a few anxiety disorders. At the time, I felt that these were my greatest failures. I wasn’t doing well in school, I was thinking about dropping out of college, I almost quit my job because of this—I had truly felt that I had failed not only myself, but my family, and most importantly my God. I truly believed that God was letting me suffer as punishment for not being a good enough Christian, or not trusting Him fully.
I remember one Sunday in church, we began talking about this concept of the “wilderness”. When we are walking through the wilderness in life, we are looking everywhere but to God for answers. We need to stop and look to Him to be our light and our path. This struck a chord with me and that day I decided to stop trying to dig my way through the wilderness but to stop and look to God to be my protector and guide my path as I was on my way out of this very dark and scary place.
I began counseling and seeking wisdom from professionals, it was there that I remembered that God takes our darkest moments and redeems them as a means of making His perfection, grace, and mercy known to the world. He did just that! My recovery wasn’t linear, please hear me on that. I still have days where I feel like I am stumbling over stray branches or taking wrong turns. There are still days that are hard. However, I am remembering that the Lord is consistently taking that time of “failure” and turning it into a time of incredible redemption and faith. Every time you take two steps forward, praise Him. When you take a step back, praise Him. When you go rolling backwards down the hill, still praise Him. He is making a way for you and using every failure as a means of bringing glory to Himself in the period of redemption.
“Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19b
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
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