walking Together toward Victory
Victory comes in stages...
Too often we only see Victory as the end result of years of hard work. That is unfortunate, for Victory is substantially achieved with the initial intention of the heart. (adapted from Mike Bickle's study on Song of Songs, www.fotb.com)
What we need to remember is that before we gain Victory over something, we first have to decide to fight it, and it is from that initial internal decision that the process of Victory begins. How many people (thinking of everyone currently on the planet) are in the same place as you, they do not want to be that way, or do that thing, any more? Not very many... Most are either blissfully unaware that there is anything wrong, or spend most of their time and energy defending themselves with rationale that convinces them that there is nothing wrong with it anyway, ("No, I don't struggle with that, I can do it whenever I want!"). Therefore, when you decide to stop, you have already pulled ahead of the crowd.
Stages of Victory
- Initial Victory - Wanting to stop (with no success)
- Partial Victory - Trying to stop (yet mostly unsuccessful)
- Partial Victory - Trying to stop (now mostly successful)
- Total Victory - Stopped (no longer even tempted)
1. Wanting to stop already separates you from most people around you. Do not beat yourself up if you are only at the beginning stage. Everyone starts there. We look at others and forget that they too walked stages 1 through 4. (If they seem to have jumped from 1 to 4, it is because they never struggled with it in the first place. For example, I tried that once, and never wanted to again)
2. Then next step is that period of Recovery in which you are now aware of the struggle, sometimes with success, yet mostly giving in. Do not quit! This is the critical time in which deep patterns of thought and behavior are being rewritten. It is difficult and often painful, but there is no other way to proceed. The major obstacles at this stage are to question whether you should have even begun this in the first place. (It's like cleaning out your garage, about half way through, there is a worse mess than before you started. We all ask ourselves, "Maybe I should have left well enough alone!) Yes, things seem worse before they get better. Fight the urge to only seek quick fixes and embrace the process.
3. At this point in the process many days are spent winning, and some feel like losing. Again from the previous stages, you ARE making long-lasting positive changes in how you think, act, and feel. Do not quit, but even more so, do not forget that you are winning the war, even though losing some battles. Stumbling, even falling down, does not invalidate that you are in the race. You have started the race, you are headed in the right direction, and have made substantial progress.
A diet is a good analogy for this process. One day on a diet is beneficial. It is when you see those initial days (maybe even hours) as achievement, that even the low days DO NOT erase what has been accomplished. There are internal victories that are achieved along the way that count more than numbers on a scale. It is these internal changes that propel us to achievements in many areas of life. You've made it this far, you can keep going. (And the truth is, that even if you quit and have to go back to step 1, next time you will have a new and different perspective. If at first you do not succeed, try, try again.)
4. You have made it! This is what you wanted all along, to be done with it. It is important to not too quickly forget how it felt to trudge through stages 1, 2, and 3. Do not look down on people who cannot progress through at the same rate as you. (Equally important is not to look down on yourself for not progressing as quickly as others.) From your experience you have gained not only the upper hand over some behavior, you have gained a new better perspective on all areas of your life. There was no pill that you could take to get your new perspective.
From here, you can see clearer and further, the air is cleaner and there is a new feeling of hope that can affect all the other processes in your life. The major point of viewing Victory as progressing in this way is that this hope and success CAN be felt at any step of the way. You don't have to wait until the end of your diet in order to feel good about yourself and what you are accomplishing!
November 11, 2008
Is God Efficient?
Is God efficient? Is God concerned with getting the
most Bang for His Buck? Can we even evaluate His
best, from our viewpoint? If I can discover a ‘best’ way to do things, God
should be able to do so even better...