Jen’s Gem: Your victory is today.
When I was in elementary school, I tried out to be a cheerleader for the boy’s basketball team. Miraculously I was chosen. My mom made my red skirt and I topped it off with my white Peter Pan collared school uniform shirt.
I was very excited as I joined the seasoned squad and began to learn the cheers. To my surprise I could do a back bend and a cartwheel, sort of. That my friend is where my cheerleading prowess ended.
God has blessed me with many gifts. Being a cheerleader was not one of them. To start, I had no coordination. When the squad would go left, I’d go right. When they’d wave their arms, mine were at my side. Houston, we have a problem.
I reached out to a fellow cheerleader and invited her for a sleepover. I asked if she’d work with me on the cheers. We spent hours going over each of them. They came so easy to her and it’s likely she scratched her head wondering why I struggled.
The truth is, I never felt comfortable in my cheerleading outfit. Most of the other girls were taller and thinner than I was. In my mind, they were also much prettier. (Believe me…if you saw my elementary school pictures, you would agree!) I didn’t understand the game of basketball and so I was never clear on when to cheer “Defense!” vs. “Go Team!” (I’ve since come to learn that one does not shout “defense” when you have the ball.)
But here’s the thing I did know. I wanted to be better. That’s why I reached out to my teammate. I didn’t want to be behind the eight ball and make a fool of myself on the sidelines. I didn’t want to be a victim of my circumstances and lack of a cheerleading genes. I wanted a victory.
My cheerleading days are long gone. The challenges I face today are more complex than learning a handful of repetitive cheers and trying to do a perfect cartwheel. Back then, I relied on my teammate to guide me in improving my skills. Today I rely on God and His Word to help me maneuver through my days.
While there are many times where I find myself going right and God wants me to go left, I can rest assured that He will course correct me quickly and graciously. It is His desire that I align myself with His perfect will so that my days will be joyful and prosperous. It’s a simple formula really, but difficult to execute sometimes.
It takes practice. It takes daily renewal of my mind’s former religious beliefs. It takes perseverance. It takes wanting to be a victor more than wanting to be a victim.
We live in a “Why me?” culture. Why did this happen to me? Why did that happen to me? The truth is, we may never, ever know the answer. Getting stuck in the “why’s” of the past keeps you rooted in the past – a place that can never be changed. The past is where victims live. The future is for victors.
This revelation came to me yesterday while attending a women’s event at my church.
You’ve heard the saying “Bloom where you are planted.” Well, if you are rooted in your yesterdays, your past, blooming is impossible. It may be time to pull up those roots – many of which are likely weeds – and focus on your today and your future.
For some, this will be a gargantuan feat. It will be difficult. Our identity, our story, may be wrapped up in the past wrongs and hurts of our lives. If there were a lot of these, it might feel like a big fat web. It might be scary to begin to unravel it. You may not know who you are without the past that has defined you.
That’s where the grace and mercy of God come in. Just like my cheerleading friend who guided me through perfecting each move, God is there to do the same. My friend wanted me to be successful. God wants you to be successful. His plan for your life is perfect.
He does not want you living in the past. That’s why Jesus came – to share the good news to the people that the days of rules were over. The days of being entwined in the nearly 700 Old Testament laws were finished. With Jesus, there’s only one law. Love one another as He loves you. He has a new message. It’s a new day! There’s a new way!
This week I’d like to encourage you to pray and meditate on the following Scripture from Jeremiah:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11)
For you and I? This is a victory cheer!