Joel Osteen “It’s Your Time” Series (Part 2): Thriving, Not Just Surviving

Yet when times grow tough and things aren’t going our way, it’s tempting to just hunker down. Thoughts of increase and moving forward are put on hold.” Joel Osteen “It’s Your Time” 
Hello ladies and gents! 
Chapter 7 of Joel Osteen “It’s Your Time” book, “Thriving, Not Just Surviving” really did something to me. What a wake up call! 
If you read my post Why I Almost Quit Blogging (Read it if you haven’t the slightest idea of what I’m talking about) then you know that I’m struggling as a teacher this school year because of my placement. Joel helped me  realize I am in survival mode. I’ve been surviving since September. 
He says, we tend to think”If I can just hold on, maybe I can make it through another day, another month, another year. If we’re not careful, we develop this survival mentality.” 
When I read this, I couldn’t help but say “Ooooo Joel, you have pulled my card.” I mean, I wrote about this already. This thinking is how I’ve been getting through the school year. I count down to Friday every week. The closer I get to the end of the week, the better I feel. It’s like I think “It will all be over soon because Friday will be here.” And, it’s not just a week thing either; I count down to the final bell during the day too. 
Why do I accept living like this? This is not God’s best for me. This is not living. Even, if I consider this another trial or test, I’m not responding in a way that will get me a passing score. I spent most of first semester depressed. And, when I couldn’t find another job, I accepted that I was stuck. That’s no way to live.
Are you in survival mode in any area of your life? Or, is it just me? I hope I’m not alone in this when I say “We gotta get it together.” 

Survival 

We all can probably think of a few experiences that make us survivors. I think of myself as a survivor of the death of my daughter (Read When Overcoming is Your Only Option (Part 1)  and When Overcoming is Your Only Option (Part 2) if you want to know the story). I guess, I always thought of survival as a way to say “I made it through something.” 
Joel showed me there are two ways to be stuck in survival mode: hunkering down during a storm or getting too caught up in the obstacle you made it through.
According to Joel, the problem is we tend to pitch our tents in the land of “I made it through.” We never really shed the inner or outer image of a person who survived an experience. 
We get so caught up in our survivor’s  image that we never really think of ourselves as being anything more than the thing we survived. And, if we don’t think of ourselves as anything more, then we no longer  release our faith for a better life outside of being a survivor. God never called us survivors.
Who would I be if Niyah didn’t pass away? Who am I because she passed? These are important questions to consider. Who would you be if that experience never happened? Who are you now because of it? 
Niyah’s death still hurts, but I can’t wear her loss like I’m fresh from the battle field with this badge of strength and courage because I am still standing after the enemy tried to utterly destroy my life. I thank God that I’m still standing, but I am more than my battle scars. You are too? You are more than the attacks that you’ve survived. 
When did we start thinking it was okay to never completely heal from our experiences? When did it become okay to tell those who share the same experiences that they’ll never get over it, it’s just something they will have to learn to live with? I mean, that’s how I feel with Niyah, even though God gave me two sons since her passing. And, one of my sons was born in the same room in which she was delivered deceased. He gave me “beauty for ashes” (Isiah 61:3). The same room where I cried, kicked, and squeezed my lifeless baby’s body is the same room where I smiled and kissed the face of a living baby boy. I think God wants me to know that I am so much more than a survivor. 
I am the mother of 3 amazing little boys who have wonderful lives ahead of them. I get to help raise 3 boys to be God-chasing men. How awesome is that? She is gone (to heaven anyway), but they are here. They were created with a purpose and it’s my responsibility (of course, with my hubs) to help them reach their God-given destinies. 
You are so much more than a survivor too. Do you believe it to be so? 
Things happen. Disappointments and setbacks are a part of life, but we can’t allow ourselves to get down and focus on our current problems as if life isn’t still happening. Survival mode means settling. Settling for the idea that we are victims of circumstance instead of victors who conquered our situations. 
I like the idea of being a conqueror instead of a survivor. Don’t you? Think about it. A conqueror is known for his/her conquests or victories. Conquerors kick butt. Survivors are known for making it through. Making it through isn’t bad in the sense that we came out on the other side. But, a survivor is known for the fight itself whereas a conqueror is known for the end result of the fight. A survivor dwells on the fight. A conqueror focuses on the victory. Both survivor and conqueror go to war, but the difference is in how each perceives the battle. Yep, conqueror it is for me. I hope you will accept this title as well. 
 
Now that we are conquerors, let’s go to the next level… 

Thriving 

Thriving is the victor’s mentality. It means living in God’s favor in the midst of war. Because, let’s face it, most challenges are unavoidable (not all though, I caused quite a few of the challenges I’ve faced). War is inevitable (It has taken me a long time to accept this). And, even in battle, God is still in control. Thriving is acknowledging that God’s power is at work in our situation. 
It sort of reminds me of something I saw on social media about choosing to worry or pray because you can’t do both.I agree. Either I’m going to worry about whether or not I will find a new placement or I’m going to pray about it and be at peace. I can rest and be at  peace because I know that the situation is temporary. I know that God will give me a new opportunity in time. 
Did you catch the key word “know?” When we know something will work out for our good, we act differently, doubt is non-existent, and we’d bet money on it because the odds are in our favor.  To thrive, we must know that everything will be alright in the end. That we are supposed to do more than survive. We are supposed to thrive. And since we know, we can enjoy life in the midst of the storm. We don’t have to wait til it passes to love, live, and laugh again. 
And if the storm’s already passed, we can get back to enjoying life again. We don’t have to walk around looking like what we’ve been through. Enjoying my boys will not detract from the love I have for my angel baby. 
In a nutshell, thriving is faith. Believing, walking, and talking faith. We can’t say we have faith and have a “woe is tho as me” attitude. It just won’t work. Either we believe it or we don’t. 

Tips for going from survival mode to thriving

  1. Make a quality decision. It’s time to stop living in the land of “I made it through” or “I’m just trying to make it through.” Joel says we can’t stay in survival mode. He says we must shake it off. We must stop dwelling on our past or current struggle. Settle this issue now. We are victors and not victims! 
  2. Work your faith. Confess your faith. To make our quality decision stick, we must work our faith by getting in agreement with God. Say it with me: “I will thrive in spite of my circumstances! God is with me at this very moment.  He is my source. He can and will fix my situation. I trust Him. I have peace.” 
  3. Enjoy life. Understand that survival focuses on the issue at hand and thriving focuses on life outside of the issue. What are your hobbies? What inspires you? What makes you laugh? Who do you enjoy hanging around? Do things that bring you joy and happiness. Spend time with people you love.

Final Thoughts

God never intended for us to just exist. He wants us to live. He never called us survivors. He says “we are more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37). And, for as difficult and challenging as life is, we must believe that we are supposed to thrive. He made us to be so much than our situation. Now, we must act like it.

Peace and Blessings,


    

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