Survival is Victory.

Otter - surviving

An older friend was involved in a collision on the Freeway yesterday. Miraculously she and the motorcyclist both walked away but, when I called to check on her this morning, she had gone in to work.

Wait, what? If you escape physical injury, praise God. But there is still injury!

In crisis, why do we set the bar so high for ourselves?

As I prepare to turn my half-century, I can see on how many occasions I have done this in my own life. When no one else would have expected miracles from me, I have expected them from myself.  Why?

Our lives are wonderful, and difficult. Sometimes it feels like we’re flying, sometimes Life has the unmistakable appearance of being unendurable.

Yet we do. Endure. Why do we expect so much more of ourselves than that?

“Well, I survived the terrifying accident unscathed, praise God. Off to work I go.”

“Well, they didn’t die, so what have I got to complain about?”

“This isn’t going to kill me so, for the love of Pete, suck.it.up.”

I’m obviously talking about the larger things in life here. Things which are difficult to overcome. So why when the playing field is no longer even reasonably level, is it then that we expect so much more of ourselves? As if we are saying to our circumstances, “Oh YEAH?? Bring it on! It’ll take more than this to bring me down.”

Isn’t there strength to be found in calling something difficult what it is?

As Christians, we cling to the verse in Romans 8: ‘In all these things we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS through Him who loved us.’ Yet the longer I walk with Christ, the more I have been caused to reevaluate what conquering – victory – may look like.

Because it won’t necessarily be me standing on top of a hill waving a flag with a huge smile on my face. It might be much less than that though victory nonetheless.

What if sometimes victory is as simple as being able to say, “I’m still here. I’m still standing on the truth. I’m still listening. My head is still UP”?

What if victory is oftentimes simply survival?

In this period of my life, there are so many things I wish I were doing better. I wish I were stronger, wiser, more mature, more calm. If I measure myself against a bar higher than survival, I am clearly failing this season altogether.

But grace shows me that, in reality, I’m not failing.

I’m still loving my kids (imperfectly).

I’m still showing up.

I’m still feeding us.

I’m still moving forward. Painfully slowly or not, I am still moving.

And I still know my foundation:

I am still standing on a rock that no wave can sweep me off.

Am I enjoying it? No. Am I thrilling to the “adventure”? No. Can I find positive things to say about it everyday? No.

But am I surviving it? Yes.

And for this reason alone I want to shout at my inner critic, YES I AM, YOU BIG BULLY!!”

Because I am victorious, even now. And so – I bet – are you.

jsg/mar15

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