Overcoming! Part 3

 

This is the third of a four part blog series, inspired by the girls who have called Courage House home – a home for victims of sex trafficking – and all the courageous overcomers who fight for their healing. Author Jenny Williamson, who is a huge football fan, uses Tom Brady’s historic comeback win in this year’s Super Bowl to encourage us all, in not only dreaming big dreams, but in courageously pursing them when obstacles are thrown our way. Jenny is Founder/CEO of Courage Worldwide, an organization that builds restoration homes for victims of sex trafficking.

Overcome.

To gain the victory; to win; conquer: to prevail over; to get the better of in a struggle or conflict; to defeat.

That one little word whispered to my spirit during intense times of prayer, hours of soul-searching, and while watching this year’s Super Bowl held more promise for me personally and for our organization, Courage Worldwide, than any word I have received in the 17 years I have been doing this. If you are also facing difficult circumstances, embarrassing situations, a recent failure, or if you are just plain tired of fighting the good fight because you have not seen the results you have hoped for, this blog is for you.

4. Pursue Big Impossible Dreams.

It’s only impossible until someone has the audacity to do it; ask Tom Brady. He has the most Super Bowl rings of any NFL quarterback – 5 and he is tied with Charles Haley for most of any player! No one had ever won a Super Bowl in overtime until Tom Brady did. No one had ever come back from a 25 point deficit until Tom Brady and the Patriots did this year. He had the most passing yards in Super Bowl history (466 ) and broke Jim Kelley’s record of 58 completed passes. Who dreams of a 5th Super Bowl win, when you were benched the first four games, and becoming the MVP – for the fourth time? Tom Brady did. He had the audacity – not just to dream – but pursue a dream,  in spite of the obstacles that many would call impossible.

Photo property of: chieftainpress.net

I have always been accused of dreaming crazy, big dreams or wanting to change the world. When I was young that embarrassed me and I hid from its implications. Now as an adult, over halfway through the time line of my life, I realize that is what I was made for – it is what YOU were made for. Each of us is created on purpose, for a purpose, and that unique purpose is designed to change our world!

For those of us who profess a faith in God, impossible is not in our vocabulary! We often need to be reminded that we serve the God of the impossible.

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

What would we attempt if we really believed this? That is worth pondering in prayer.

Grab a piece of paper or your journal. What big, audacious, impossible dreams are you pursuing? What steps are you taking today to make them a reality? What obstacles are standing in your way? Maybe you have a dream of going back to school and your obstacles are time and money. What will you have to do to overcome them? Maybe your dream is changing careers; what do you need to do? What obstacles do you have to overcome? As you dream on paper don’t let the obstacles discourage you from taking a tangible step towards them. This process requires discipline, sacrifice, passion and mental toughness to overcome all obstacles between you and your dream. But your dream; your destiny is worth it! The obstacles we overcome make the victory sweeter.

It is not enough to dream or imagine a goal; you must take steps to pursue it and courageously overcome each obstacle in your way. Combine your faith with the God of the impossible and you will overcome any mountain in your way!

5. Prepare & Practice — even when you’re benched. When I was going through my difficult season this past year, I felt like I was benched from the game. I was mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted. There was a huge temptation to quit before I worked through the three steps above. However, as I made the choices outlined above, my energy returned and my faith increased. I decided to use this time – this lull – to get better, to learn from the situation, and to focus on the things in my life I had control over and leave the rest in God’s hands.

I’m not sure Tom Brady gave his situation to God, but I do know he practiced as if he was playing on Sunday instead of riding the bench. He did the same daily three-hour workout, he ate the same healthy foods, and he threw the football over and over again as if he was in a game. He prepared to win. I went back to the gym (which I had stopped doing because I was so busy). I attended conferences and trainings that would make be better at my job. I focused on my family, and I prepared for the day when I would get back in the game – when we would have girls back at Courage House Nor Cal. This preparation was key in moving me forward and kept me from dwelling on the difficult and unfair.

Part 4 of this blog series will be sent on Thursday, March 23th.

Follow us on Courage Worldwide’s Facebook Page and/or Twitter page for a month of encouragement in overcoming the obstacles to your dreams.

Make a $50 donation this month to Courage Worldwide using this link and receive a free autographed copy of Jenny’s book Do You Have the Courage to Be You, an inspirational read about finding your unique purpose and destiny.

Announcement: Jenny’s newest book, a workbook and study called Uniquely You, published by PTLB, will be available on Amazon in June 2017.

Overcoming! Part 2

 

This is the second in a four part blog series, inspired by the girls who have called Courage House home – a home for victims of sex trafficking – and all the courageous overcomers who fight for their healing. Author Jenny Williamson, who is a huge football fan, uses Tom Brady’s historic comeback win in this year’s Super Bowl to encourage us all in not only dreaming big dreams but in courageously pursing them when obstacles are thrown our way. Jenny is Founder/CEO of Courage Worldwide, an organization that builds restoration homes for victims of sex trafficking.

Overcome.

To gain the victory; to win; conquer: to prevail over; to get the better of in a struggle or conflict; to defeat.

That one little word whispered to my spirit during intense times of prayer, hours of soul-searching, and while watching this year’s Super Bowl held more promise for me personally and for our organization, Courage Worldwide, than any word I have received in the 17 years I have been doing this. If you are also facing difficult circumstances, embarrassing situations, a recent failure, or if you are just plain tired of fighting the good fight because you have not seen the results you have hoped for, this blog is for you.

Photo property of: cbssports.com

“To win the Super Bowl, nothing is negative about this,” Brady said. “I just want the focus to be on positivity and that’s just kind of how I am and how I’ll always be.” —Tom Brady

1. Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself. (That was supposed to feel like a bucket of cold water thrown in your face or a swift kick in the butt.) I certainly needed to hear those words when I was struggling through my own difficult circumstances. In order to overcome the obstacles in life that will be thrown our way, we must stop feeling sorry for ourselves when they come.

Tom Brady, the New England Patriots quarterback, was publically accused of cheating – something he said he didn’t do. He fought it in court and lost. When the decision went against him, he didn’t spend energy on blaming others or feeling sorry for himself. Whatever internal battle he was going through, he did not let it propel him into quitting. In fact, it seemed this obstacle caused him to re-double his efforts to overcome the failure and proved everyone wrong by winning his fifth Super Bowl!

When we get hurt, disappointed, or face, what we believe, are insurmountable odds, we tend to start navel gazing. Our view and lens goes from outward to inward, thus it becomes incredibly easy to be hyper focused on ourselves – our pain – our circumstances. This is so dangerous. When we feel sorry for ourselves we begin to convince ourselves that we have the right to be bitter, angry, and unforgiving. We begin to feel justified in aligning ourselves with these emotions, wrapping them around us like a comforting old blanket. Stop! They are not going to make you feel better. Quite the opposite, actually. These feelings you may believe you are entitled to are energy robbers and motivation stealers. Left unchecked, they will embezzle your health and hijack your destiny. These feelings are sinister whispers trying to convince you to quit.

2. Think Different Thoughts. You have the internal power and personal choice to take every thought that pops into your head captive, and then decide if you will come in agreement with it. I can’t pretend to know what Tom Brady was thinking when he was accused of cheating or when he was 25 points behind and just minutes away from losing the Super Bowl. But I can tell you what he told his team at halftime. We will win this game. He told the reporters after the game he knew they were going to win. He referred to his team as being “mentally tough.” That is what I mean by taking every thought captive. They focused on the goal of winning, not the scoreboard, and took control of their thoughts and emotions, which in turn produced winning actions. Do you?

When you experience random, negative thoughts birthed when you have been hurt, disappointed, and/or experienced failure, do you change them, or do you come in agreement with them? Enticing thoughts such as, “How dare they do that to me after all I have done for them!” “I deserve better!” “It’s not my fault.” “It is not worth it – I’m quitting,” conspire to enslave us.

If we come in agreement with these negative, self-serving thoughts, we give them power – power to influence our emotions, produce our actions, and control our outcomes. To overcome, we must hijack the destructive, arbitrary thoughts that originate from pain, unfairness, or failure. To overcome, we must not only capture them but kill them off before agreeing with them. It is a discipline. Winners think winning thoughts. Overcomers think overcoming thoughts. When these types of negative thoughts pop into your mind after you have been hurt or are struggling in the middle of difficult, impossible circumstances, you must shift your focus from the difficult to the divine. Ask for a heavenly perspective on your situation. Pray. Focus on your goals and dreams – not the man-made scoreboard. Our thoughts ultimately produce our emotions, which in turn generate our actions; therefore, it is critical we decide which thoughts we are going to align ourselves with if we are to overcome.
“… We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:5)
3. Don’t take it personally. In order to overcome, we must become less offended. Yes – less offended. We also have this power. We need to view every circumstance as a test or an attack, not a personal assault. A test is to win – an attack to overcome – both make you stronger. When you continually experience offense, hurt feelings, and/or blame others for your circumstances, you make them the author of your story – you give them power over your dreams and goals.

Tom Brady wasn’t happy about being accused of cheating and his subsequent suspension for the first four games of the season, but he didn’t waste time and energy blaming NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for handing down that sentence. He remained focused on what was good and positive in his life. He didn’t let the temporary obstacle ruin the entire season or re-write his story. He retained that control. Though the Commissioner had power over this one particular decision, he did not have power over Tom Brady’s life, his thoughts, or his actions.

For those of us who profess a faith in God, we need to take our hurt, pain, and discouragement to Him for perspective and comfort – not other people. Often when we are hurting we seek validation from people we love or whom we know will agree with us. We start forming a team with our names on the back of the jersey, whose sole mission is to agree with us and make us feel better. But often what we really need is that cold bucket of water or the swift kick in the butt telling us to get over it and move on. To overcome we must stop taking “it” personal.

Part 3 of this blog series will be sent on Thursday, March 16th.

Follow us on Courage Worldwide’s Facebook Page and/or Twitter page for a month of encouragement in overcoming the obstacles to your dreams.

Make a $50 donation this month to Courage Worldwide using this link and receive a free autographed copy of Jenny’s book Do You Have the Courage to Be You, an inspirational read about finding your unique purpose and destiny.

Announcement: Jenny’s newest book, a workbook and study called Uniquely You, published by PTLB, will be available on Amazon in June 2017.

Overcoming the Obstacles to Your Dreams! (Part 1)

 

This is a four part blog series, inspired by the girls who have called Courage House home – a home for victims of sex trafficking – and all the courageous overcomers who fight for their healing. Author Jenny Williamson, who is a huge football fan, uses Tom Brady’s historic comeback win in this year’s Super Bowl to encourage us all in not only dreaming big dreams but in courageously pursing them when obstacles are thrown our way. Jenny is Founder/CEO of Courage Worldwide, an organization that builds restoration homes for victims of sex trafficking.

Overcome!
To gain the victory; to win; conquer: to prevail over; to get the better of in a struggle or conflict; to defeat.

That one little word whispered to my spirit during intense times of prayer, hours of soul-searching, and while watching this year’s Super Bowl held more promise for me personally and for our organization, Courage Worldwide, than any word I have received in the 17 years I have been doing this. If you are also facing difficult circumstances, embarrassing situations, a recent failure, or if you are just plain tired of fighting the good fight because you have not seen the results you have hoped for, this blog is for you.

Photo property of: abcnews.go.com

Did you watch Tom Brady and the Patriots overcome a 25 point deficit to win the Super Bowl in a never done before, historic comeback?!?! Even if you don’t love football like I do, most anyone can appreciate the audacious comeback the Patriots orchestrated in the first ever Super Bowl overtime. Watching that game was like watching the word overcome – literally come to life. It may sound strange to you when I say, God used a football game to confirm my word and focus for the year, but that is exactly what happened.

I stink at New Year’s resolutions so much so that I stopped doing them all together in the year 2000. It was the year I was turning 40 and I was tired of proclaiming resolutions that I rarely succeeded in accomplishing. (Losing weight, exercising more, sending out Christmas cards next year, or going back to school were my most common, reoccurring declarations). In the beginning of a new year, I would “feel” motivated to accomplish my goals, then my feelings would wane, and so would my commitment. (Don’t judge me.) Thus, 17 years ago, I resolved to do something different. What I did, changed my life!

I picked a word.

I decided I wanted to have a word—a single word—to encourage me, sustain me, and provide focus for my entire year. The process went like this. In October or November of each year, I would sit down with my journal to reflect upon the ups, downs, challenges, and successes of the current year; I was trying to see threads of lessons I had learned, struggles I had overcome, and failures I experienced, as well as choosing new goals to accomplish. I would read my Bible, inspirational biographies, and books I found encouraging to see if there was a word or theme of words that made my spirit leap, or as some would say – my heart soar. Every single time I did this, there would be a word (or words) that leapt off the page, attached itself to my heart, and became the center of my thoughts. When this happened, I would claim the word as mine for the year.

After several years of doing this, I thought it would be an interesting spiritual exercise to ask God to pick a word for me. I used the exact same process, but included conversations with God asking Him for the year’s unique word and focus. When I included prayer and added a dose of faith, the chosen word(s) became even more powerful and encouraging. Not only did it provide focus for the year but also divine direction in my own purpose and destiny. Through the years my words have included – believe, prayer, fulfillment, foundations, forward movement, restore, abundance, and expand—all words filled with possibility and hope.

I repeated this now familiar process this past November during a very difficult season in my life – one of the most difficult six months I have ever encountered personally and professionally. I experienced humiliation, persecution, false accusations, and betrayal. My personal and professional reputation and motives were criticized, mocked, and maligned publically on the front page of our local newspaper—not once, not twice, but four times! The calling I believe I had received from God to rescue and restore children who have been trafficked for sex was called into question as was my faith and my character. As I approached the end of the year, I was desperate for a new word – for encouragement and divine inspiration, because for the first time since I learned that I lived in a world where children are sold for sex, I considered quitting. I hate admitting that but it’s true. My difficult circumstances conspired and taunted my resolve to continue fighting for these vulnerable children I had vowed to love and call family. After ten years of engaging in this evil war that robs them of their innocence, I wondered if I had the strength to continue. Until… I watched the Super Bowl and my word for the year was confirmed in living color!

Overcome.

That one little word whispered to my spirit during intense times of prayer, hours of soul-searching, and while watching this year’s Super Bowl held more promise for me personally and for our organization, Courage Worldwide, than any word I have received in the 17 years I have been doing this. If you are also facing difficult circumstances, embarrassing situations, a recent failure, or if you are just plain tired of fighting the good fight because you have not seen the results you have hoped for, this blog is for you. During the next several weeks, I will post 8 lessons I have extracted from my personal journal – lessons God has been teaching me about overcoming!

I pray you will be encouraged.

Part 2 of this blog series will be sent on Thursday, March 9th.

Follow us on Courage Worldwide’s Facebook Page and/or Twitter page for a month of encouragement in overcoming the obstacles to your dreams.

Make a $50 donation this month to Courage Worldwide using this link and receive a free autographed copy of Jenny’s book Do You Have the Courage to Be You, an inspirational read about finding your unique purpose and destiny.

Announcement: Jenny’s newest book, a workbook and study called Uniquely You, published by PTLB, will be available online in June 2017.