Joni’s life would change forever in a split second on a hot July afternoon in a diving accident at the age of 17. Her spinal cord was severed, and she became paralyzed from the shoulders down.
A once active young woman now confined to a wheelchair that she would repeatedly bang into walls until they cracked. Depression and alcohol became her companions, she wanted to die. 50 years later Joni Eareckson Tada is an amazing example of an overcomer, a woman who has persevered and is making a tremendous impact around the world in spite of her physical condition.
She said, “When the Devil insists God’s people only serve him when life is easy, I have the high honor of proving him wrong. To be on the battlefield where the mightiest forces in the universe converge in warfare? By God’s grace, I’m all in.”
When I think of the word overcomer, I see a picture of a mountain. This mountain represents the obstacle, the thing I need to overcome. There are usually two ways to deal with this. One is to find a way to go over it, the other is to attempt to dig through to get to the other side.
You may laugh at the last option because it sounds crazy and hard! However, that’s how I spent a lot of my years, trying to dig my way through and I’m sure some of you reading this may be able to relate. Trying to dig through was futile, hard, and frustrating. I was looking at it all wrong.
I had to come to the realization that overcoming is “coming over“. It won’t look the same for everyone because we are all fighting different battles and we may have different weapons, tools, and resources. I do believe, however, that the battle is won internally first, in our minds and hearts. What we tell ourselves, the voices we listen to, the way we view things will all have an impact on the outcome.
My “coming over” weapons
I need to make sure I have the right attitude in spite of my circumstances. It’s not always easy but it is possible to check my attitude and focus on changing it.
My faith in God makes me victorious, 1 John 4:5 assures me that he who is in me is greater than he who is in the world. When we persevere and don’t quit, we gain ground, we win.
Everyone needs to have a support system, the Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10 that two is better than one and if you fall, you have someone to help you up. Don’t try going it alone. Forgiveness allows you to tackle the obstacle with two hands, imagine trying to climb a mountain with one hand. Forgiveness is like opening your hand and letting go of whatever hurt you, whatever is slowing you down. It’s setting yourself free.
Flipping the pages of the calendar or the ticking of a clock will not bring about growth or change in us, that my friend, depends on us, on our movement, our choices. Yes, as we head into a new month, let me remind you that growth or change will depend on you.
Remind yourself today that you are an overcomer.
Print or write the word overcomer and put it in a place where you will be reminded of it this week.
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith.
1 John 5:4 ESV
Taken from the October Series by Andrea Rodriguez