A few months ago I was watching my favorite college football team play a game against an opponent that was far below their perceived talent level. By all stretches, my team, should have easily blown out the opponent by 3-4 touchdowns. As the fourth quarter approached, the score was much closer than anyone anticipated. Actually the game was tied and my team was playing horribly. At this point I’m wondering if my team is going to blow this opportunity for a win and lose to such an easy opponent. By the end of the game it took a last minute drive and touchdown to finally seal the win. As a fan I was dejected at the final score knowing that my team should have won by multiple touchdowns, but noticed something very interesting with the players and coaches. As players ran on the field to celebrate, most of them were smiling and jumping and acting as if they had won a huge football game. When it was time for the post game interviews, every player had the same big smile and joy of winning that game. I remember distinctly the best player on the team being the most excited of all the other teammates. What was I missing that they were so happy about? Didn’t they just play the same game I watched. Even the coach was happy with the win! What seemed like an odd reaction to me was celebrated on the sideline and in the locker room.
GOD gives us the perfect picture of celebrating our small victories in the story of the prodigal son. Most of the time when we read this story we see ourselves as the son who returns to the Father and receives forgiveness, grace, and a new beginning, but I want to look at the story from the father’s perspective. The son basically demanded his portion of the family inheritance and ran off to another country. As a father myself, I can imagine his concern for his son as he watched him leave with all that money. He probably tried to talk his son into staying or at least imparted some wisdom on how to make his inheritance last. I’m sure there were many nights where the father would walk outside and look to the stars and wonder where his son was and how he was doing. And then there was that fateful day-the father was out in the yard when he saw a familiar face walking down the driveway.
But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry. Luke 15:20-24
The father celebrated the arrival of the son! All those nights praying, waiting, hoping the son would come home finally arrived and he threw the son a party. The father wanted to celebrate this small victory. He could have easily scolded his son for wasting his inheritance or for living sinfully, but instead he took that opportunity to pay a tribute to his return. His son was lost and now he was found! We need to do the same thing in our lives. Everyday we can celebrate the small victories, instead of condemning ourselves for things done wrong in the past. Paul was the perfect example of this. The man who wrote 2/3 of the New Testament also spent the beginning of his life murdering Christians and trying to destroy anything that mentioned the name of Jesus. He knew what it meant to celebrate the small victories in life. In Romans 8: 1-2 he writes:
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”
We need to learn to celebrate our victories in this life. If you struggle with self doubt or feelings of insecurity, celebrate when you have the courage to speak up or step out no matter the significance. If you have bitterness or resentment towards someone or something, celebrate the moments that you pray for that certain person or thing. For many, pornography is a huge battle, celebrate when you tell yourself no and you decide to look away. Look for opportunities to see God’s goodness and victories in your life. Many times we don’t win by 3 or 4 touchdowns. Sometimes we should have easily won the game, but we stumble, and fight, and finally make it into the end-zone with time expiring to win the game. 20 years from now when you look back on this season of your life, you’re not going to look at the way you won the game, but you’re going to look at the score board and know that you scored more points than the other team and you were victorious! Celebrate your victories. GOD does and so should you!
Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. Galatians 6:4-5 NLT
Do you ever find yourself in comparison mode? Instagram and Pinterest have the unique ability to remind us of all our imperfections- from the food we eat, to the way we decorate our house. Even when you make a decision to continue in your career instead of being a stay at home mom, you are reminded of all the other moms who are “mommin’ so hard”…
It is easy to get caught up in the comparison game if our foundation isn’t firmly planted on things that matter the most. It can honestly drive a person crazy trying to live up to expectations that may not be realistic for their own personal current life situation. Galatians paints a great reminder to pay attention to our own actions, because that is what we are responsible for: ourselves. We can’t control what other’s may do or say but we can control ourselves- it’s a choice. Sometimes you may beat yourself up wondering why you aren’t doing something the way someone else does it.. it doesn’t mean you are right and they are wrong or vice versa because we all have a particular calling and destination for our lives that only we are held accountable for. Pray and ask GOD what a “job well done” looks like to Him. We tend to be our biggest critics- from making sure we are the trendiest in fashion, to being a perfectionist at our work place, in the home, or in school. Someone else’s “ideal” may not be yours, and that is totally ok!
Here are some ways to stop comparing and start celebrating the differences:
Find confidence in Him. Philippians 4:13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Delight in the One who knows the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.
Seek Him who can direct paths rather than looking to others and ultimately discover God’s plan for your life as you draw near to Him. Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
Drew & Valerie Blackston
Anchor Movement was born out of the desire to reach others with message of Hope and Growth to a world that is drowning in oceans of hopelessness and swimming in rivers of confusion. In our own walk with God we have seen the faithfulness and goodness of our Creator in every area and trial that we have faced. We have seen death up close and personal, heartbreak that won't let you sleep, and uncertainty that drains a person of passion and desire for life. We've questioned our purpose, our destiny, and even our existence. Through it all, He has always been there. He was our Anchor when the storms blew in and the waves crashed on the shore of our lives. He was the rock that held during the hurricane. We felt like the disciples hollering at Jesus, asleep in our boat, "Lord, save us! Don't you care?" And he answered back, "You of little faith, why are you afraid?" He is this mighty Anchor that held us steady even when we felt like others had abandoned us. Through physical challenges and mental struggles, He is the Anchor that whispers "I will never leave you nor forsake you. I am the Lord your God." My God. Not their God, my friends God, or my parents God, but mine. It's personal. Where stories once held my faith, experiences have replaced that. Like Gideon said to the Lord, "Where are the miracles that we heard about from our fathers?" God said, "Go in this your might." Go in a new experience. Go in a deeper knowledge of Me and My goodness. Go. Two little letters with immense significance. How do we go? Where do we go? What happens when the paved turns into gravel and then dirt? What happens when the road is not clearly marked and we find ourselves questioning when we first started down this road? We have to keep moving.
You can't go without moving. Movement is essential to get from one place to the next. Jesus used movement to get from one city to the next. He used movement when he walked on the water in the midst of a mighty storm. He used movement to reach out his hand and heal the leper. He used movement when He carried His cross up Golgotha and He used movement when He walked out of the grave three days later. We are called to be anchored in Christ, but we are also called to move. God never intended for His message to stay on the inside or in our little circle. God called us to action. Anchor-Movement is that. We are Anchored to Jesus. His Word, His Life, His purpose is our Anchor. We are fixed in Him, but we are not idle. We are constantly moving and growing. Moving and growing closer to Christ in our personal relationship with Him and living this relationship out on a daily basis. We are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, because it is the power of God that brings salvation. Biases do not keep us from the mission of the gospel. Preach the gospel to all people no matter their skin color, their culture, their nation, or their political background--all people. We are not ashamed of our God. It is through His goodness and mercy that we are saved and made whole and now we must go and tell the World. Our prayer is that God will use His message to make a lasting impact on the world around us. Not to us, but to His name be all the glory. We have this hope as an Anchor for our soul--hope that pushes towards movement---movement that brings salvation and deliverance. Let's go change the world.