Take a moment to listen to yourself when you talk. What do you say to other people when you tell your story? This is not an exercise to condemn the way you speak of yourself, but it is to cause you to really consider your self-talk. There is a ton of literature with positive mantras and euphemisms to speak over yourself so that you may begin to feel the way you describe yourself. Consequently, you may begin to characterize yourself positively so much so it becomes your identity. Once it becomes your identity, you have formed a new attribute of yourself. The Bible tells us, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23.7 Part a). We may physiologically be what we eat, but the sum of our character comes from what we are thinking about. How do we describe our experiences in relation to others? Are we speaking from the perspective of a victim or a victor? The truth is, even in our times of hardship, our all-knowing, all-powerful God allowed ever bit of it. He has the capability to intervene at any time. Why doesn’t He? In all the terrible things that have happened in my life, I realize I wouldn’t be the woman I am today had those things not happened. My testimony was built through hardships and obstacles. There are some things that I talk about now in my life, and when I talk about those things, I know that I was only able to even survive those past times because God protected me and provided for me. However, I could not always describe my past this way. It used to be somebody’s fault. It used to be if he/she had not acted the way he/she did, then I would not have had this or that experience. I was wrong, and I was complaining.
The reason I was such a complainer is because I didn’t know how to experience God’s peace about anything. I was defining myself by my circumstances instead of by the identity God gave me. John 16:33 advises, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”. It is imperative that we develop a nature of peacefulness despite our tribulation. And, we must learn the reason and purpose of tribulation because it has its place in our lives. Tribulation is inevitable. Job 14:1 says, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.” Although the scripture says man, it means mankind, women included. We don’t have to do anything to add trouble to our days, since it is coming to us no matter what. When it comes, we should be prepared to learn whatever the lesson is. Then, can experience God’s glory. Romans 5:1-5 says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, andrejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” From this passage we see the ultimate goal of our tribulation is to experience God’s love. During trying times, we gain patience, experience, and hope. Let’s not forget that these traits are present along with faith. While tumult is wreaking havoc on our lives, must believe that our Lord will rescue us for His name’s sake.
It is easy to call the circumstances as they are and say of yourself, I am down and in despair. When we talk this way of our experience, it is a complaint. These types of words are how the adversary is able to keep us looking down instead of looking up towards the one “who is able to keep us from falling” (Jude 1:24). God wants us to “overcome him (the devil) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11). The more positive words you come up with to tell your story, the more you cause someone else to live in liberty. You exalt God when you tell your story from the perspective of how you overcame adversity. The truth is you cannot overcome without Him. Overcoming obstacles catapult you into your destiny. “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10). Ultimately, we are subject to trouble so that we come to know and live like Jesus. The testimony comes as we praise God for His part in the trouble. Thus, we can “give thanks always for all things unto God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20). Developing thankful verbiage towards our situation allows us to uplift the name of the Lord. Although it sounds crazy, but I learned to give God thanks for had things happening. When someone says hurtful things to me, I thank God for using individuals as vessels. Feeling opposition makes me know that I am on the right path, and that God is getting ready to raise me to a higher level of faith so that He gets a higher level of glory. 2 Corinthians 3:18 declares, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” So, we must not run away from trouble, but we must go through it so that we stand triumphant and experience God who transforms our stories from complaints to testimonies.