“We don’t understand a lot of things. But we learn that people are very disappointing, and that they break our hearts, and that very sweet people will be bullied, and that we will be called to survive unsurvivable losses, and that we will realize with enormous pain how much of our lives we’ve already wasted with obsessive work or pleasing people or dieting. … Side by side with all that, we will witness transformation, people finding out who they were born to be…” – Anne Lamott
We went to a movie today – my husband and I and the three kids. They boys had been wanting to watch Planes since it came out in August, so we’ve been waiting for the opportune moment (in other words, waiting until it comes to the three-dollar theater so we don’t have to spend 50$ for a movie experience. )
So we went to see it today. It’s the story of a cropduster that wants to be a racing plane. Being a Disney movie, you’ve probably already guessed the ending (and if you have kids you’ve probably already gone to see it and surely know the ending), but I liked it.
It’s the story of an overcomer.
A little plane that had a dream and refused to let go of it. He didn’t give up when his friends advised him against racing, telling him it wasn’t what he was made to do. He didn’t turn back when everyone laughed at him, a little cropduster, preparing for the race. He didn’t let go of his dreams when everything seemed to go wrong.
Little Dusty Crophopper overcame.
And I know it’s just a story (and a kids’ story at that) but
life is full of stories
and the ones that we tend to love the most are the ones where someone (or something) refuses to give up when everything says turn back.
From Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz to Tony Stark and Captain America in The Avengers, from William Wallace and his band of “warrior poets” to a little hobbit named Frodo and his ever-faithful gardener Samwise Gamgee …
the best of stories are about overcoming
about not giving up, about forging ahead no matter what the obstacles and believing that you will make it, about being willing even to die trying.
The theme makes the best real-life stories too.
and it can be the story of your life.
I’m not sure if anyone noticed that I didn’t post my usual “Thursday Thoughts” on the theme of the song from Sunday, “Overcomer” by Mandisa. I didn’t post it on Friday either. In fact, I skipped it altogether.
I guess, in the middle of a busy and rather trying week, if I had time for any thoughts on the matter, they probably would have been along the lines of, “Why on earth am I posting a song about overcoming when I feel like the opposite 99.4 % of the time?”
Mandisa’s words from the song seem to fit my week precisely:
“Got so much on your mind,
Nothing’s really going right,
Looking for a ray of hope.”
Okay, so I know that God gave me the grace for the week, and I’m almost caught up in my work after a few late nights of editing … but I really don’t feel like an overcomer. I feel tired and like I’m always playing “catch up” with what I have to do. When I feel like I’ve finally managed to find the right balance in one area, I realize how far behind I’ve fallen in another. To be completely honest, sometimes I wonder whether it’s all worth the effort.
“Whatever it is you may be going through,
I know He’s not gonna let it get the best of you.”
When I think of an “overcomer,” I tend to picture some superhuman kind of creature, like Thor or a gladiator. I picture someone who has never fallen. But that’s not an overcomer. Lyrics to another song come to mind: “The race is not just for the runners; some of us walk while others barely crawl.”
Maybe that’s the essence of overcoming: not flying over every obstacle, but getting up even when I’ve tripped over the obstacle and fallen flat on my face. Maybe it’s refusing to give up, no matter how far behind I’ve gotten, or how worthless it feels to try to go forward.
“You’re an overcomer.
Stay in the fight ‘til the final round.”
The picture comes to mind now is of a fighter in a boxing ring. And what fighter ever got through without taking a few blows?
“You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless.
That’s when He reminds you,
You’re an overcomer.”
Have you fallen and yet gotten up? Taken a few blows but are still in the fight? Tripped and made a fool of yourself but determined to finish the race?
You’re an overcomer. Believe it.
I’m trying to believe it for me. Because I think it’s true.
[Quote by Frederick Buechner, from Secrets in the Dark]
We labor to be born. All what little we have in us of holiness labors for breath, strains to be delivered of darkness into light. It is the secret, inner battle of every one of us. And through all our laboring, God also labors: to deliver what is whole in us from what is broken, to deliver what is true in us from what is false, until in the end we reach the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, Paul says—until in the end we become Christ ourselves, no less than that: Christs to each other and Christs to God.
No one ever said it was going to be easy to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” the great voice sings (Matt. 5:48). Be holy. Be healed. Be human. Because the light shines forth in the darkness, giving power to us all to become children of God.
But every time that voice rings out, we answer with the voice of our own littleness, our own earthboundness, that such things are too wonderful for us, that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, that we can will what is right but cannot bring it about. It is no easy matter to save us when half the time we don’t even want to be saved because we are so at home in the darkness that is home. We none of us come to the end of our days with the saving more than a fraction done at best. But, praise God, the end of our days is not the end of us.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it,” the great voice calls out; and with this life behind us, we move on through realms of mystery and mercy and new life beyond our power to imagine until at last, through the cloddish and reluctant flesh of all of us, Almighty God of his grace will speak again in a different tongue and to a lesser but unthinkably significant end the word that was once made flesh and dwelt among us, from whose fullness we have all received.
Behold the Lamb of God who takes away, who gives.
And just so you don’t forget who you are …
“You’re an Overcomer”