Ouch! That’s how it feels when an uncomfortable truth washes over you and denial is no longer an adequate flotation device. Could it be the promotion that passed us by, the marriage that failed, the friendship that suffered, and the ambitious goals that collected dust on the shelf were our handiwork? The comfort of blaming an outside source is of no comfort when that source is self. The good news is we can win from within.
The first step toward this personal victory is always the hardest part. Using myself as an example, I’m thoroughly successful at self-hazing when I’m not pleased with my professional or personal performance. I’m much harder on me than any supervisor or friend could ever be. An old friend would often say, “we do the best we can with the information we have at the time.” This is true but when we repeatedly avoid or ignore the information available to us, it delays the work God is trying to do through us. This is why the difficult act of acknowledging our role is an important first step. But, there’s another (often overlooked) piece that blows the entire equation wide open.
God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. (Psalm 46:5)
Granted the psalmist isn’t talking about a particular person here but instead the refuge we can always find in God.
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works. (Psalm 73:28)
That same place of help that can meet us at our point of need exists without fail within us. We often forget that and in the forgetting we risk getting in our way. We try to conquer the world, our circumstance alone. What if we got up in the morning, went to work, came home to attend to our family’s needs fully conscious and aware every moment of every day that what is inside of us is capable of overcoming and sustaining us through anything?
“Am I a God who is near,” declares the LORD, “And not a God far off?” (Jeremiah 23:23)
Not only is He near, He is within. It’s an all-access pass to greatness. Like a rolling suitcase that contains all of our valuables, we can take this awesome gift with us wherever we go. But, carrying a suitcase of salvation around isn’t enough. We have to open it, sort through it, understand it, and use it to conquer whatever is in our way—even if that obstacle is us. Would you pack luggage for a long trip that you never intended to use?
“Or do you not realize about yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?” (2 Corinthians 13:5)
The realization that He cares enough to be present in our everyday existence brings about a loving result. It begins to color and flavor our choices, our plans, how we treat ourselves, and how we treat others. A heartfelt prayer for guidance on how to be the best that we can be should soon follow our acknowledgment that we’re the source of our situation (or at the very least, our response to it). Don’t stop there. Turn that amen into action and win from within. Conquer self, conquer the world.