What does victory mean to you? What does it look like for you?
According to Webster’s dictionary, victory is defined as “an act of defeating an enemy or opponent in a battle, game, or other competition.” Another definition states, “achievement of mastery or success in a struggle or endeavor against odds or difficulties.” Some synonyms include: success, triumph, achievement, and winning.
The world we live in today defines victory as tangible success. Success is defined by how many degrees someone has, how many expensive cars one owns, how big his/her house is, how attractive people think someone is and so on. It’s almost as if there is an actual way of measuring this. Well, that indeed is because of how materialistic and vain things have become. We are encouraged to be the Jones’s. They seem to be perfect on the outside when all the doors and blinds are shut. But, what is really going on behind closed doors?
With that in mind, I know I’m definitely guilty of pretending things are going well. I can wear a “mask” that covers what I am really feeling. I’ve learned that a smile cannot truly disguise the pain. I thought I was fooling others, but truly I was fooling myself. This only serves as a disadvantage–more than anything.
A depressive episode with bipolar disorder can make it so difficult to get through the day, let alone hour by hour. Through circumstantial experiences, I have become numb to feeling things. Trauma sets in and then after time, it kind of just becomes a ‘new normal.’ Then, when my mood cycles upward, it is a whole other ball game. I have energy to do nearly anything I want to do–or so I think I do. Realistically, that is not the case, but it surely feels like it. I’ve learned quite a bit in therapy around the fact that feelings and emotions do not have to equal actions. This might seem rather simple, but this can be mighty difficult to master with bipolar disorder, any mood disorder, or mental illness to be quite honest. Heck, I’m sure it is difficult for others on a daily basis. It just tends to be more intense and can interfere with everyday life when it comes to mental illness.
With all of this said, I have found so much hope that Jesus has died for all my sins and, therefore, all my thoughts do not have to determine my actions. I lay all of it at the foot of the cross. Even though my emotions tell me to do one thing. Even though my emotions tell me to another thing. It doesn’t matter because He renews my thoughts and emotions to reflect His actions. This is what it looks like to be “in Christ.”
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” [Romans 12:2].
We don’t have to live by the actions of the world. We don’t have to be like anyone else. We are our own, unique creation and so very loved by God. We have the power within ourselves to not conform but transform to the thoughts that serve us well. These thoughts are perfect, pleasing and good. When we fill our minds with thoughts that are contrary to what depression, anxiety, and fear tell us we then will feel so victorious. The whole journey is our victory. It isn’t just about the destination we are headed for, but the journey in which we are blessed to experience. Everything along that road; the roadblocks, speed bumps, traffic jams, dead ends, red lights, and collisions do not have to be THE END. They are just a bend in the road. The journey is a process in which there will be a lot of ‘unexpected construction,’ but the glory is His! The ups and downs will always be there, BUT God has made a way, makes a way, and will always make a way for us in accordance to His will. It is our destiny and much as we fight it, we will end up on the path to where we were meant to be.
In all, there is so much joy along the way but it becomes a matter of our perspective and how we choose to see it. With mental illness, we often don’t “have a choice” because of our struggle, but we still ALWAYS have a choice….no matter what lies our brains try to tell us. God is the victor. And we get the honor and opportunity to walk in the victory!
Might as well RAISE A Hallelujah! ❤ Thank you God!
Check out this song……