Gratitude Day 16 // Gratitude in Victory

Image by Cailin Valente

Image by Cailin Valente

Psalm 18 1 John 5: 1-12

How awesome is it when we finally accomplish something we’ve been working so hard to achieve or overcome something we thought was impossible? The victory we receive, however, does not belong to ourselves alone, sisters in Christ, but to God. Today’s passage was written when the Lord saved David from Saul and other enemies and talks about victory in battle.

Not all of us fight in a literal battle (unless you’re in the military in which case more power to you), but we fight with different things everyday. We fight against temptations, against the tendency to give into our anger, against anything and everything that works to take away our joy. It sounds overwhelming, so I have two words for you: “small victories.” Whether you’re struggling with some kind of temptation or addiction or you’re working towards losing weight or exercising more often, small victories add up to a lot when it comes to building your confidence.

I often listen to Catholic Radio and there are advertisements about a program called “Battle Ready,” headed by Doug Barry. The program is primarily targeted at men, but the Battle Ready Website also has a page for women. I definitely agree that women should be just as “Battle Ready” as men are, but we don’t need to hide behind supporting roles if God calls us to be valiant leaders. In the words of one of my favorite literary adaptations: “You’re only a secondary character if you let yourself be!”

Whether you’re struggling with a temptation, an addiction, hoping to lose weight or get fit, all of these things are rooted in a sense of self-worth. We can’t fight for others if we don’t value ourselves. I’m not just talking about appreciating the way we look on the outside, but learning how to define yourself. The greatest battle we’ll ever have to fight is the fight over our soul. Once we know how to define ourselves and understand who we are and whose we are, we will accomplish a great victory!

There are so many ways that we define ourselves. We can define ourselves by things like our gender, our race, or the types of people we are attracted to. We can also define ourselves by our mistakes or by what people say about us or the things that we struggle with. None of these capture who we are completely.

The foundation of our identity and self-worth rests in the One who created us. God is bigger than ourselves. He is the one who designed us and knows exactly how much we are worth. We are worth so much to Him that He sent His son to die for us. But that’s only the beginning. By seeing ourselves the way that God sees us and living with an attitude of gratitude, every step we make towards becoming better people becomes a small victory.

As I continue to grow and learn more about my faith and myself, I have a tendency to compare myself to the person I used to be. I don’t know if it’s a side effect of my Asperger’s Syndrome, because people with Asperger’s have a harder time adjusting to change than most people, but I see the effects of my past in my everyday life. I have a hard time taking compliments and adjusting to new situations because I constantly think “I’m not used to this.” I spent way too much time living in the past.

I addressed this issue to God through prayer journaling. I asked God to relieve me of my anxieties in the past and then wrote an affirmation that reminds me of who I am now. Affirmations are powerful, wonderful things, but make God part of whatever affirmations you create for yourself. Sometimes I write Bible verses I love or praises to God as part of my affirmations. Through writing affirmations, we can remind ourselves of who we are and whose we are.

Today’s featured song is “Manifesto” by The City Harmonic, which is a song that expresses an affirmation of what we believe in. If you want a song that sounds more like a personal manifesto, listen to Francesca Battistelli’s “He Knows My Name,” which is one of my favorite songs that’s also in the Spotify playlist for this Bible study.

Stay grateful, dearest sisters in Christ!

Study Questions

1.How do you define yourself? Why do you think people have such a desperate need for labels?

2.Have you ever had moments of spiritual warfare? How have you dealt with it?

3.What do you feel is the greatest victory that God has helped you achieve?