On Monday I wrote about Peyton Manning. And you.
I called you, all of you, losers.
A lot of you liked being called a loser.
This commenter, however, did not:
Anthony’s comment got to me. Maybe it was the emoticon with the tongue sticking out. Maybe it was his generous defense of Manning. Maybe it was that adorable baby in the baseball hat. For whatever reason, I just couldn’t bear Anthony’s feelings being hurt.
So today I’m taking it back. Sort of.
We’re still losers. But we’re totally, totally winners, too.
Yesterday was a tough day. It was one of those days when I really did feel like a loser. I couldn’t find a single pair of shoes to fit my kid (who clearly had a bizarre foot-growth-spurt over night). I was late to get her to school for like the 20th time this year. I spent an hour looking for keys. I drew and re-drew the same illustration six times and never got it right.
Losses piled up like trophies in Peyton Manning’s trophy case, if the trophies were for terrible stuff like “Most Likely to Lose the Money Her Kid Raised for Children With Cancer.”
I felt defeated.
Later at the gym on our side by side elliptical machines, my husband asked how my day went and I thought of all the things that went wrong.
I said, “It was hard.”
But, before I launched into a full-on “I’m a loser” pity-party, I thought a little harder.
I thought of all the things that had gone right…
I’d paid the bills. All of them. On time.
I’d folded like five loads of laundry.
I’d written a letter I’d put off for too long.
I’d read the Bible to my daughter and she’d listened.
I was on an exercise machine! I’d eaten a KIND bar for breakfast!
And running through this list in my head, I felt less defeated and much more victorious.
I said to my husband, “It was hard. But it was good.”
You may be thinking I’m going to say this: “You win some. You lose some.”
Or maybe, “Dwell on the wins. Forget the losses.”
That’s good advice, I think. True.
But the full truth is better…
If, for the entirety of my life, now and forever, I had to keep up this exhausting practice of losing and winning, of fighting and trying and struggling and climbing and reaching (and failing)… well, I would probably give up. I would sit on the floor criss cross applesauce and cry and my family would just have to walk around me.
It’s too hard. To live a life constantly chasing who I should be, what I should do, so often disappointing myself and the people I love.
Solomon said, “all is vanity and a striving after wind.” I hate striving.
Se la vie, right?
I am a Christian, and as a Christian, I believe with every fiber of my being that one day all this losing and winning will end. And that it will end in a great and definitive victory.
I believe light will swallow up the dark.
I believe life will conquer death.
I believe we will all, every child of God, be made whole and perfect and right.
I believe in the end, we will win. Forever.
More than that, I believe our future victory spills backward, soaking us even here and now in triumph.
The Apostle Paul writes, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.”
Jesus, and His people, are characterized by victory. We ought to smell like it.
What does that look like?
It looks like depending on an all powerful God when we’re in way over our heads, knowing He’ll come through for His children.
It looks like hope in the face of what should be hopeless.
It looks like two hundred people smiling and laughing and singing, sure, at a funeral.
It looks like a prayer list covered in crossed-off, answered prayers.
It looks like a woman trying to walk away from an addiction, winning, and when she stumbles, knowing her small loss is temporary and not at all indicative of her identity or destiny.
For me, yesterday, it looked like grace for my mistakes and confidence that God would lead me into a better day. It looked like prayers for strength and answered prayers when things went bad and I didn’t freak out even a little bit. It looked like joy and patience and a weird amount kindness when people were mean to me. It looked like courage when I had to write a letter I didn’t want to write. It looked like generosity even though the budget’s tight.
I called us losers in my last post. Because we sometimes lose.
But we are not defined by our inevitable failures.
No, as children of God, we’re defined by our Father and Savior. As His offspring, in His kingdom, we walk through life victors.
Jesus is a winner. And so are you.