The surgery coordinator called last week. This surgery has potential to change my life completely. One way or another, life will never be the same. When I got off the phone, my emotions were a whirlwind. The finality of it all overwhelmed me. I’ve prayed against, thought about and claimed victory over this day for almost 2 years. The fact that it’s was now on the calendar with plans being made was really just too much for me. It reminds me a bit of how Jesus must have felt when it was time to head to Calvary. He had, after all, known that day was coming for years… and years.
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray,” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said the them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” (Matthew 26:36-38)
Jesus, in his humanity, was overwhelmed when looking towards the cross. He knew the hurt, the pain and the scars. He fully understood the depths of what His Father was asking Him to step into. His “soul was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”
Did He take a victim position? Did He allow himself to fall into the depths of despair? No. Quite the opposite.
I’m also moved by Paul. When you read his defense of himself in 2 Corinthians 11, you can see just how much that man suffered. Lashes, beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecks, floating in an open sea for 24 hours, constant danger from bandits, hunger and thirst, cold, naked (vs 24-29) and the list continues. Yet no where in Paul’s letters, preaching or writings does he take a weak victim position. I never heard him say things I think we are tempted to say. Thinks like “Why did you let this happen to me God?” Or “If this is what it’s like to be on your team, I’m done.”
Fact is, I can’t find anywhere in the Bible that allows us to take a victim position. No where in the New & Better Covenant are there allowances made for us to be weak and victimized by our situation or our circumstances. No where. Absolutely no where.
Over and over Paul writes about our position as Saints. He talks about everything we have because of the finished work of the cross. This isn’t something we attain in the “sweet by and by.” These are things we have NOW. Here on earth. We have been blessed with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3). Read through Ephesians 1 & 2. See the power position Paul paints for us. Beautiful. Here’s a “to go” version you can print too.
It’s interesting to me that the letter to the Romans was written a couple years after the 2nd letter to the Corinthians. Paul had experienced all these hardships. Years and years of hardships. If there was anyone every in history who should have had permission to say “chuck it all…” and act like a whiny victim, it was Paul the Apostle. Yet what does he write in Romans 8??
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine, or nakedness or danger or sword (See 2 Corinthians 11)? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, nighter the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35,37-29)
Did you see that? Not only did Paul think of himself as a conqueror. But he saw himself as “MORE THAN a conqueror” because of the finished work of the cross. I don’t know about you, but when life hits me with hardships, I don’t feel like a conqueror. In fact, many times I feel conquered. Conquered by the situation I’m facing. Overwhelmed to the point of death. The mountain often feels way too big to move regardless of my faith.
After I hung up the phone with the surgery coordinator, I had a moment where the victim thoughts started trying to overwhelm me. If there’s one thing I’ve learned through this experience with my voice and the tumor, it’s that I need not ask questions that tragedy refuses to answer. “Why me? How did this happen? Why is this happening? Doesn’t God love me?” etc etc etc. Despite me trying to push them away, they came flooding into my mind. I was tempted to begin to take a victim stance. I surely didn’t “feel” victorious. After all, we’ve been praying for 2 years for healing and now I have to have a surgery scheduled? What in the world, Lord?
Almost immediately, the Lord quickened a scripture to my heart. I have it written on a note card in my bathroom and I read it every time I brush my teeth morning and night.
My Father started to remind me. “Wait a minute, Dacian. There is no failure with me. I am your champion defender, remember!? There’s no risk here. Do not be paralyzed. Trust me. I’m not done yet.”
Then the Lord reminded me of a TED talk (watch here) I watched once about a year or so ago. A behavioral scientist named Amy Cuddy shared her studies on body language and what happens socially when you put your body in a power position. Through her research, she learned many things, but one that intrigues me is that you can actually change the way you feel by putting your body in a “power position” for 2 minutes. Fascinating. Your body can influence your soul.
What is a power position? It’s one where you open yourself up. It’s a posture that communicates confidence and power. Here are some examples:
This happens in nature all over the place. Many animals open themselves up when they want to take positions of power or authority.
I decided I wanted to try out Amy Cuddy’s study. I wanted to start feeling powerful. I wanted my emotions to line up with the reality I knew I had. “More than conquerors.” So I stood in my kitchen with my arms outstretched and my head up towards heaven breathing in the peace of the Lord. Then the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “Who do you look like when you stand like this?”
I started sobbing. I realized that as I stood there with my arms out stretched, that I looked like Jesus on the cross. Then it hit me. The paradox that the ultimate position of power came from a Savior who surrendered and laid himself down as a sacrifice for us all. In what was looked upon as weakness and failure, He opened himself up on the cross arms outstretched taking on Himself all of our sin and all of our diseases. He bore them by His stripes (Isaiah 53:5)
It hit me. How could Paul write from such a position of power despite his pretty constant hardships? He knew how to step into the power position of the cross. He knew how to “renew his mind”. He knew that by renewing his mind, he would be transformed supernaturally into something that he didn’t feel. Into someone who understands that despite how they feel, they ARE “more than conquerer.”
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)
This is how we live as masters of our emotions instead of being mastered by our emotions. When we are mastered by our emotions, every fleeting thought or feeling can slam us into the rocks of our situation. But when we live as masters of our emotions, we are like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. We can be overwhelmed to the point of death, yet our first response is to get alone with our Father. To go to Him in prayerful surrender. To step into the power position of the cross and take on every good and fitting things Jesus has provided us because of His finished work.
People keep asking me how I’m doing. My answer is going to seem a little crazy and surprising. I am fantastic. I have chosen to step into the power position of the cross. To renew my mind with the things Paul says about me. To know that I have been given every spiritual blessings and everything I need for a life of Godliness (well, Peter said that one but it still fits). I am choosing daily to not be a victim of my circumstance. But to let my circumstance be a victim to the cross. GLORY!
I want to encourage you to take 2 minutes today. Stand in a power position. What is going on in your life that is “overwhelming you with sorrow to the point of death”?? You look that situation in the face, then outstretch your arms breathing in the peace of God as you do. Step into the power position of the cross. And know this. Whatever you are facing. Hardship. Sickness. Disease. Sin. Jesus bore it so you don’t have to. So claim his stripes over it and rejoice in the breakthrough that has been released. His purpose and His Will is headed your way. GLORY!!
*** Disclaimer… I do not necessarily agree with or condone the links shared in this article. I love what the Holy Spirit looks like in you as He brings revelation of Truth to your heart **)