Overcome: "To gain the victory; to win; conquer: to prevail over; to get the better of in a struggle or conflict; to defeat."
Did you watch Tom Brady and the Patriots overcome a 25 point deficit to win the Super Bowl in a never done before, historic comeback?!?! Even if you don't love football like I do, most anyone can appreciate the audacious comeback the Patriots orchestrated in the first ever Super Bowl overtime. Watching that game was like watching the word overcome - literally come to life. It may sound strange to you when I say, God used a football game to confirm my word and focus for the year, but that is exactly what happened.
I stink at New Year's resolutions so much so that I stopped doing them all together in the year 2000. It was the year I was turning 40 and I was tired of proclaiming resolutions that I rarely succeeded in accomplishing. (Losing weight, exercising more, sending out Christmas cards next year, or going back to school were my most common, reoccurring declarations). In the beginning of a new year, I would "feel" motivated to accomplish my goals, then my feelings would wane, and so would my commitment. (Don't judge me.) Thus, 17 years ago, I resolved to do something different. What I did, changed my life!
I picked a word.
I decided I wanted to have a word-a single word-to encourage me, sustain me, and provide focus for my entire year. The process went like this. In October or November of each year, I would sit down with my journal to reflect upon the ups, downs, challenges, and successes of the current year; I was trying to see threads of lessons I had learned, struggles I had overcome, and failures I experienced, as well as choosing new goals to accomplish. I would read my Bible, inspirational biographies, and books I found encouraging to see if there was a word or theme of words that made my spirit leap, or as some would say - my heart soar. Every single time I did this, there would be a word (or words) that leapt off the page, attached itself to my heart, and became the center of my thoughts. When this happened, I would claim the word as mine for the year.
After several years of doing this, I thought it would be an interesting spiritual exercise to ask God to pick a word for me. I used the exact same process, but included conversations with God asking Him for the year's unique word and focus. When I included prayer and added a dose of faith, the chosen word(s) became even more powerful and encouraging. Not only did it provide focus for the year but also divine direction in my own purpose and destiny. Through the years my words have included - believe, prayer, fulfillment, foundations, forward movement, restore, abundance, and expand-all words filled with possibility and hope.
I repeated this now familiar process this past November during a very difficult season in my life - one of the most difficult six months I have ever encountered personally and professionally. I experienced humiliation, persecution, false accusations, and betrayal. My personal and professional reputation and motives were criticized, mocked, and maligned publically on the front page of our local newspaper-not once, not twice, but four times! The calling I believe I had received from God to rescue and restore children who have been trafficked for sex was called into question as was my faith and my character. As I approached the end of the year, I was desperate for a new word - for encouragement and divine inspiration, because for the first time since I learned that I lived in a world where children are sold for sex, I considered quitting. I hate admitting that but it's true. My difficult circumstances conspired and taunted my resolve to continue fighting for these vulnerable children I had vowed to love and call family. After ten years of engaging in this evil war that robs them of their innocence, I wondered if I had the strength to continue. Until... I watched the Super Bowl and my word for the year was confirmed in living color!
That one little word whispered to my spirit during intense times of prayer, hours of soul-searching, and while watching this year's Super Bowl held more promise for me personally and for our organization, Courage Worldwide, than any word I have received in the 17 years I have been doing this. If you are also facing difficult circumstances, embarrassing situations, a recent failure, or if you are just plain tired of fighting the good fight because you have not seen the results you have hoped for, this blog is for you. During the next several weeks, I will post 8 lessons I have extracted from my personal journal - lessons God has been teaching me about overcoming!
I pray you will be encouraged.
Thank you for your time and attention today. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know how you are doing and how God is working in and through your life.
You Were Created on Purpose for a Purpose
Have you ever contemplated your particular purpose -- the very reason you are on this planet? Have you intentionally pursued your true identity and attempted to fulfill your destiny? Do you have the courage to be you? If you answered no to any of these questions but want to answer yes, then life coach, author, and speaker, Jenny Williamson, will help you do just that through the pages of her book Do You Have the Courage To Be You? Jenny recounts her own journey to find her purpose and how ultimately she decided to start Courage Worldwide, an international non-profit focused on helping exploited girls find hope and restoration. This month, make a $50 donation to Courage Worldwide and receive a free, autographed copy.