Our greatest defeat in life is not our loss to others, but our loss to ourselves.
It is the enemy's favorite game--to pit self against self--to watch us struggle in our weaknesses, drown in our fears, accept mediocrity, ignore our purpose and vision, and bathe our thoughts in negativity and regret. Our failures become our ball and chain. Our wrong choices become our identity. Our past becomes our keeper.
Hear this... self defeat is the greatest defeat.
A few people come to mind when I think about self defeatists...
Moses. He told God He wasn't good enough and questioned why in the world He would want him [Moses] to go and tell anyone anything. (Read more in Exodus.)
Naomi. The pillar of hopelessness. She told everyone God gave her a hard life and even changed her name from Naomi, meaning pleasant, to Mara, which means bitter. (Read more in Ruth.)
Me. There was a point (actually a few points) in my life when joy couldn't bloom because I'd allowed the weeds to take over. Sure, I kept trying at life, but always with the false knowledge and understanding that the work wasn't good enough, that no one would love me, that I would never be excellent, and that because of my past, I wasn't worthy of anything good anyway.
Self defeat can be deceiving if we've lived in it for long periods of time. We become awfully comfortable with mediocrity and we believe the lie that tells us we're okay. Except we're not. We're missing what God has to offer us. We're missing out on tremendous joy.
So, how do we fight self defeating thoughts and attitudes?
- Discover His identity. Whose are you? Do you know God? Do you understand His power? Are you in close relationship with Him? If not, this is where you start.
- Discover your identity. Ask God who you are to Him as you read scripture and spend quiet time in prayer. He will reveal who He made you to be--your gifts, talents, purpose, all of it. When His truth becomes your truth, everything changes.
- Speak truth. Safeguard your mind by speaking truth over your negative thoughts. Affirm yourself with scripture and other positive declarations. By loving yourself, you are no longer telling God that He somehow made a mistake with you. Your heart will be open to new opportunities in relationships, in your career, in your church, in your community, and beyond.
Brothers, Sisters, I get it. If you are wallowing in self defeat at this very moment, you are not motivated to do any of this. The last thing you want is change, right? I understand. But there is no greater joy than discovering or remembering what God has planned for you.
The greatest victory is not victory over others, but rather victory over ourselves for the glory of God.