Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Not a survivor, but a conqueror

One of my favorite authors is Erwin Raphael McManus. In his book "Seizing Your Divine Moment" he wrote something that has had a great impact on me: "You are called not to be a survivor, but to be a conqueror." Survivors bend backwards, allowing problems, allowing life to happen to them. But conquerors bend forward, attacking life and attacking their problems. We need to make a life, not to let life make us.

Last week I was facilitating a support group and had thought I would be really smart and end the meeting on that note. I thought it would encourage and inspire them. But a few of the people there were hurting so badly, they were so depressed, I decided it would be almost cruel to tell them that. Sometimes there is no energy for conquering, is there? Sometimes we need to be taken care of.

I guess the above statement holds true for day-to-day life when functioning is relatively good. But when we're really suffering, all we can do is to try and survive.

7 comments:

michael torres said...

Thank you so much for those words. It is interesting that erwin uses the words "you are called". I'm not sure who it is that has called us to do so, him?

Dream Writer said...

Hmmm, interesting. People automatically say Survivors. We learn something new everyday.

marja said...

Michael: Thanks for your comment. In religious terms, "you are called" means that God meant for us to live that way.

michael torres said...

I understand what the words mean, my point was that it is erwins interpretation that "we are called not to be a survivor but a conqueror" Where does God in scripture say this is true? God calls us all to do different things and to endure different struggles at different times. I cannot say that God has not asked Erwin to be a conqueror instead of a survivor but that does not mean God has asked everyone else to do the same. In my heart I cannot say that God has asked me to be as erwin says - does that mean my relationship with God is not right?

marja said...

I'm sorry I misunderstood you, Michael. I don't know where the Bible says that in exact terms either. McManus talks about leaning forward instead of backwards during a discussion on Jonathan, Saul's son, who advanced on the Philistine army with only one young swordbearer and one sword.

Actually, there are many stories in the Bible of courageous leaning forward, obtained by trusting in God: Moses, David, etc. etc.

He quotes the old hymn, "Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms...leaning on the everlasting arms." He claims that we have found comfort in God as "our Rock, our Fortress, and our Stronghold" but we have not been as faithful in capturing other aspects of who God is described "through rushing wind and fire" (which is the Spirit)

Like I say in my post, I think there are times when a person is just not well enough to lean forward. Surviving is all one can then do.

But this analogy is never-the-less an inspiration to me - when I am well. It is by leaning forward that my life becomes most meaningful. And I can only do that when I lean (forward) on God's arms.

marja said...

Michael, I got carried away and didn't answer your question about whether that means whether you're not right with God. I don't think whether you lean forward or backward determines that at all. And if you're asking me personally whether I think you're not right with God, I can't stand people who tell other people that they are or are not right with God.

There are many kinds of personalities, and I just tend to be the kind that McManus is encouraging. I tend to be the kind of person who finds Psalm 23 too tame. Most of the time I don't want to be a sheep. But there are times, like when I'm depressed, when I do get comfort from it.

My favourite piece of scripture that has gotten me through difficult times is Matthew 11:28-30 - "Come to me all you who are burdened and heavy-laden..." It's then that I need to lean backwards.

I guess there's a season for everything.z

Dream Writer said...

I am glad that you said, "I can't stand people who tell other people that they are or are not right with God."

Beliefs, religions, and the relationship with God is personal and no one has the right to judge.

That is my two cents for the day:-)