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Friday, May 20, 2011

Victory

All my life, I've heard about "The Victorious Christian Life." It was everywhere --- church, camp, conferences, Bible School, Bible studies. The whole center of teaching at the Bible Institute I went to was "the crucified life" as presented in Galatians 2:20, Romans 4-8, and other passages that fit with these. The result of all that for me? That I was a complete failure and would never "attain" or experience this type of life. This failure (as I saw it) was so deep feeling that I walked away -- not so much from my faith, but from the pursuit of all God had for me in life. In that stagnant time frame, I was anything but a happy person, and gradually found my way back. . . at least to the point where I had left off. How gracious God is and how patient and forgiving!

If I've learned anything about myself, I've learned I'm very simplistic. And I like pictures. Things my heart and mind can see. I remember these things easier and I can fit myself and my heart into the pictures my mind has formed.

The other day, someone asked me about "living victoriously" and wishing someone could explain it without all the "canned answers." I dug into the past 30 years or so of my life and my mental files where I have kept a running tab on what I have latched onto. And this is what I've learned:

Victory is always portrayed as an end thing. The end of a race, the winning of a game, the beating of an opponent, the top of a mountain. It’s when the pictures are taken. It’s when the flag is raised. It’s when the medals are given.

No one takes the pictures where victory starts. It starts with a vision and a wanting of what I see. It’s making a plan and drawing a map that goes from here to there.

And in the plan, the drawing, the heart of a victor is conceived. It beats. It dreams. It sees the end, the finish line, the top of the mountain. It’s seeing a goal and wanting to reach it. The heart trembles with fear and the hand feels the hesitations, but pushes on. No one takes pictures of my heart. No one cheers. No one even notices me in my starting place. But this is victory. Starting. Beginning. The first step.

Mountains are high and a real victor picks the highest. The one that is lost in the clouds. The one that stands one step in front of me. I stand at sea level, the bottom of the mountain. I take step one -- one foot above sea level -- and I am victorious. In that moment, I move towards the top. I set a goal, set my heart, and I take one step! But no one takes my picture. No one calls me a winner. No one drapes me with a medal. But my heart knows. And it’s right. And it’s good.

Another step, and then another, and I’m going up. I smile, and all is well --- until I fall. I’m crushed, but in my hand is still my dreaming heart and it screams, “Get up! Get up and start again!” And I do get up. And once again I know victory. It’s in the getting up. It’s in seeing the top of the mountain. It’s moving on -- again! I fall --- again and again and again. But victory is not giving up. It’s getting up. Every time, I get up, find my heart and move upwards. But no one takes my picture. No one cheers for the one with wounds and scars and torn clothing. But, oh, my heart knows! And now I am determined. And I taste victory.

I get tired and hungry and cold and discouraged. I’m behind, moving slower than I planned. But victory is going beyond what I thought I could do. It’s pushing forward, no matter what. It’s laying aside things that weigh me down. It’s pressing on. Victory is one step. Just one. And victory is then another. It’s pressing on. It’s my heart. It’s never being satisfied with where I am. It’s taking out my plan, seeing my heart moving towards the top. Victory is today. It’s this moment. It’s where I am now, in this fleeting flash of time, moving --- always moving!

Victory is knowing I will make it. It’s seeing the top, though clouds are still hanging low. It’s carrying a victor’s flag the whole way, picking it up time and again, and again, and again . . . And even again.

Victory is moving upwards, even though others quit and go back. Victory does not listen to threats of failure. Victory sings, “Not to the strong is the battle, not to the swift is the race, but to the true and the faithful victory is promised through grace.”

It’s too bad I can’t take pictures of my heart, my mountains, and my upward journey! What an album that would be! It is in the looking back that I understand, that I see clearly what was once hidden in the misty clouds. I look through the pages of my heart, and there, in every picture I see a cross. Sometimes I was carrying it. Sometimes I fell beneath it. Sometimes . . .wait!!!!! Who is that with me in these pictures???? Who is carrying my cross for me??? I thought I was alone. . . .

7 comments:

Ladybug said...

Cora
Such a nice post so enjoyed it...
Victory comes but not always as
fast as we would like it....

Blessings /Hugs

Paula Greene said...

I came across you blog yesterday and from the first paragraph of this post,I was hooked! I am blessed to read what you have learned about victory and feel greatly encouraged.

Garden Lady said...

Cora
I loved this post and the pictures you included with it. Keep pressing on, getting up when you fall...love the reminder that we are not journeying alone.
Blessings

dsblanchard said...

Dear Cora,

I read a lot of biographies as a 6th grader. There were 6 12 foot shelves of biographical books in the hallway of my school and I started at the top left of the shelves and worked my way to the bottom. What occurred to me a I read your blog was this is exactly how the greatest got great, one step forward and two steps back. Edison tried dozens of elements for the light bulb till he finally hit on tungsten. My own state's former governor Robert Casey tried 6 times before he finally won the governor's seat. There were famous writers who were turned down hundreds of times before having one thing published. There were medical technologists who performed tests hundreds of times until they did it the way that made a difference. Over and over again it was persistence not talent or intellect that gave them the victory. I think you said it so well: persistence is the offspring of vision. If you are called to something you have to do it no matter how long it takes, how many hardships you have to endure, or setbacks you have to push through.

And what happens when you are just simply too exhausted? He carries you for awhile and cheers you on while you rest. By the time you are rejuvenated, He has cleared the way before you, and off you go again.

I needed this great reminder. I loved the mountain climbing example. It so aptly describes the feel of many of our tough journeys.

I'm running out to get my gear,
Dawn

Dani said...

interesting post, Cora...The teaching at the college wasn't complete...no wonder you felt so defeated....its only half the story...we can do nothing in our own strength..its all Jesus.. "Victory in Jesus, my savior forever, He sought me and bought me with his redeeming blood".

I was surprised because of the Palomar mt. map..we've been there many times..its just south of us..LOL

Tammy@Simple Southern Happiness said...

Victory in Jesus, I sought him and he saved me. Its only after we turn our life over to him without reservation, then we can truly feel his awesome love. The rest is telling other about him.

nancy huggins said...

I guess Victory is seen in different ways from different people..I call my Victory so far for raising 8 sons and 1 Daughter..I am sure there will be many more victories for me and I love your posts and the pictures do explain a lot :)