A moment where, for all intents and purposes, the defeat is seemingly an end-all; it causes me to ask, Why can’t I just get it right? Why can’t I just say no? The weight of an unwise decision or of a moment of failure can be a heavy one.
I would imagine that most would be able to point to such moments fairly quickly and easily. For me, one that comes to mind was a day where the decision I made was, in the grand scheme of things, a relatively small and trivial decision. To eat or not to eat at a pizza buffet doesn’t seem like a big deal to most, but in a season of life where I was learning to live outside of the grip of fear, making a decision that placed me in an environment where the emotional triggers were so overwhelming that I chose to not show restraint in the amount of food that I consumed, resulted in some hard lessons.
Maybe you’re not pointing to a moment in your past. Perhaps that moment is the one in which you currently find yourself. Moments of defeat can become crippling and after time we just become numb to it. We accept defeat as normal, as something we deserve. We feel the weight of a moment of weakness and the feelings of defeat and guilt that follow and we become too afraid to fight it because, honestly, we believe we aren’t worth the fight.
The truth is, though, we are. We are worth it. You are worth it. Many times in the middle of the struggle it’s hard to see the truth, let alone believe it, especially when the struggle is the result of a decision we wished we would have made differently. But, what a beautiful contrast we see in Scripture! Oh how I am thankful that the confines of my brain pale in comparison to the immensity of God’s love. In Psalm 103 we are reminded that God’s love for us is as great as the height of the heavens above and that our sins are removed as far as the east is from the west. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” In Lamentations 3:22-23 we read, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning” (emphasis mine). We have a God who is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and teeming with a love that washes over us.
It’s okay to wrestle with it, to feel it. Struggles and consequences will help us grow. But, when living in the freedom that comes from Christ, we can wrestle without succumbing. Living in freedom doesn’t allow room for wallowing in defeat, but it does allow room to wrestle it out. When living with the margin that freedom creates, the Holy Spirit has room to fight for us. We have room to feel the movement, be keenly aware of the battle that’s going on, and lean into the discomfort knowing that one wrong choice doesn’t mean defeat is our only option.
The day I chose to eat at the pizza buffet? I spent several long hours wrestling with the discomfort and the defeat because for me it was so much more than just the result of where or what I chose to eat that day. It was an opportunity for me to choose to believe the truth or succumb to the lies, to see the defeat as an end-all or as a moment to pursue victory.
The same is true no matter the circumstances. When we face defeat, we can stand back up. We can learn from our mistakes. We can grow. When we face defeat we can walk in the freedom of Jesus and find victory.