At the end of our stay in a country we are given questions to answer. These questions usually go along the lines of what did you think, how did you feel, etc. The purpose is for true reflection to take place and so that everything isn't internalised. This is called debriefing and I admit that it's really empowering. In Benin, a small West African country, we've each been given the task of writing a blog. It's a good thing since I'm also overdue on writing a blog anyway. But, and here's the reason for this explanation, this isn't just any old blog. It has to be about what I have overcome this year. I didn't say debriefing is always fun...
Without getting too spiritual, what does it mean to overcome one self? Can we ever truly overcome ourselves? I believe it is a state of being where you no longer place yourself first. As soon as a person realises that it is not about yourself and that in fact you can't do it by yourself, then you're on your way to overcoming yourself.
Through this year, by the grace of God, I've been placed on the road to overcome myself. This is quite a bold statement, arrogant even. The old me would have stated it out of arrogance... I have come to realise that my reasons for doing a year expedition with Global Challenge were initially selfish at heart. I believe that this was quite transparent to some, yet surprisingly I was obliged.
Here I was literally running away from my past. A broken relationship, the girl who I thought I'd marry ended up hating me. My father's untimely death that I refused to process. My career of being a firefighter was a dream come true that turned into a nightmare. Addiction, smoking cannabis on a daily basis, my form of self medication to ignore my depression and so much more. I was a failure and in the end I also failed with my attempted suicide. I believe any sane minded person would run from such a past. Like many know and everyone eventually learn, some things can't be run from.
From the onset of this year I knew I would 'overcome' but never in my wildest dreams could I have foretold what this would entail. My life's mantra has always been all or nothing. Mediocrity, being luke warm and indeference was how I placed myself on the path to self destruction. A few things to overcome this year included my shame of my past, my selfishness, my self contempt, my self reliance, my self doubt, in short my old self. These abstracts weren't what I was or am but they were what I used to base myself off ofSure, my past doesn't define me anymore but what will I build my future on?
This year has been inexplicable and yet it's so simple. A concentrated dose of God's love. Even though I have sometimes only allowed myself to experience things collaterally. In ministration there was no way that I could withstand this OD of love. God was out to get me and it would cost me my life.
Now I can and will proudly declare that I died to my old self. Only through Jesus and what He has done can I be reborn. He has made me able to overcome. The question beckons, will I ever wholly overcome myself and my human nature? I don't know how much time has been allotted neither or how much is needed.
But I'll be damned if I'm not giving it my all!
I cling to God's promises.
10 Romans 11-13
The message Bible:
Scripture reassures us, "No one who trusts God like this—heart and soul—will ever regret it." It's exactly the same no matter what a person's religious background may be: the same God for all of us, acting the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help. "Everyone who calls, 'Help, God!' gets help."