Everybody wants to be seen as being successful in his/her own right. But are you truly successful, or are you a survivor?
I recently attended a function where I had conversations with various people over the course of an evening. I was amazed at what I have learned from these conversations. There are so many people out there who are fighting the battle of survival.
It’s not about having enough money or living a typical “business-like” lifestyle. It’s not even about having a job or being unemployed.
It goes deeper. It’s about true happiness. It’s about contentment.
I think the concept of being content – as found in the Bible – is often taken out of context. People think to be content is to just accept whatever comes your way. You should be happy with whatever you get dealt with and just make the best of it.
I disagree with that way of thinking. It robs you of any possibility of enjoying a quality lifestyle. I back my statement with John 10:10 (NIV) where Jesus says “10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
So, when should we be content? What is the level of contentment we should be striving for?
Why should we just ‘accept whatever comes our way’, while Jesus says that He has come so that we can live life to the full?Contentment comes when we can live life to the full. Click To Tweet
Going From Being A Survivor To Becoming an Overcomer
I have come to the conclusion that many people are in survival mode without even realizing it. Many people see themselves as being ‘driven’, being ‘competitive’. And that’s good. I totally get that – if that is your calling and you really enjoy what you are doing.
First of all, let’s get one thing straight. There is nothing wrong with being a survivor. But often, being a survivor is part of the process – part of the journey – to becoming an overcomer.
The Stressed Survivor versus the Calm Overcomer
You may think of yourself as being successful because you are climbing the ladder of success. Once again, that is good and it is obviously a good achievement. But what is motivating you?
Are you in your dream job? Are you looking forward to going to work in the mornings or do you go to work because you have to? Do you feel the effects of the pressure from work, such as negative stress and anxiety? That might be a sign that you are surviving.
Being an overcomer doesn’t mean that you will never face challenges. You will have to be a survivor at times. But when you are passionate about what you do, you will become an overcomer. You set your own targets. You are the one who motivates your team. You don’t need to be motivated by anybody else because you are motivated by your passion for what you do. You don’t suffer from negative stress or high blood pressure due to your work because you find pleasure in what you do.
The stress that you experience as an overcomer is positive stress. It makes you alert. The body produces chemicals that allow your body to function at optimum levels.
Negative stress is experienced when you constantly go beyond the boundaries of positive stress. Your actions are no longer based on passion and excitement. You start doing things because you have to. This leads to anxiety and negative stress and eventually health problems.Find your true identity and you'll find true happiness. Click To Tweet
What is the Difference Between A Survivor and an Overcomer?
So, how can we define the difference between a survivor and an overcomer?
Survivor: There are quite a few descriptions in various dictionaries for the word ‘survivor’. The two sources I found most helpful with relation to our topic was Your Dictionary.com and Dictionary.com. Their descriptions are as follow:
- A person or thing that survives; specif., a person who has survived an ordeal or great misfortune.
- A person regarded as resilient or courageous enough to be able to overcome hardship, misfortune, etc.
- A person who continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardship, or setbacks.
Overcomer: The best descriptions for the word “overcome” (in relevance to our topic) were in the Advanced Oxford Dictionary of Current English (1989) and Dictionary.com. It was as follow:
Advanced Oxford Dictionary:
- Get the better of; be too strong for: ~ the enemy; ~ a bad habit; ~ temptation.
- To get the better of in a struggle or conflict; conquer; defeat: to overcome the enemy.
- To prevail over (opposition, a debility, temptations, etc.); surmount: to overcome one’s weaknesses.
- To gain the victory; win; conquer: a plan to overcome by any means possible.
The scripture mentioned above (John 10:10) says the thief (the devil) comes only to steal and kill and destroy. Jesus, on the other hand, says that He has come that we may have life, and have it to the full.
So, how can I say the devil is stealing from someone who seems to be successful?
You Might Be Surprised to Find Out Who Is In Survival Mode
One form the thief can take on is the form of pride. We often see people who seem to be super-successful. They seem to be extroverts and they’re always on the go. It just seems like nothing can go wrong for these people. Yet, when you get to be a bit more observant, you start finding traces of antidepressants where they are.
“Why would someone so successful and energetic be on antidepressants?” you ask. It is because they maintain an ‘image of happiness and success’ on the surface. Yet, beneath the surface, behind closed doors, there is a lot of stress and unhappiness. They don’t tell you about those stresses. They don’t tell you about the challenges they also have to face. The challenges, the financial difficulties, even bankruptcies, are hidden from the world.
They find a way to hide these things and move around it. They are often very good at it and able to carry on with life while hardly anybody noticed what they’ve just been through or even are still going through.
When nobody is watching, the traces of sadness, utter exhaustion, anxiety and often depression make their appearance as soon as this person lets his guard down.
Yes, It’s Private and Personal; But Don’t Allow It To Destroy You
I’m not saying you should go stand on a rooftop and announce to everybody that you are going through a difficult time. It’s not necessary for everybody to always know all the detail. Yet, always trying to hide everything from the world can sometimes demand a harsh price.
These people get robbed of their spontaneous inner joy. True, there is no need for everybody to know everything about you. But there comes a time when you need to face reality. Admit to yourself that you are not happy. When things are getting too much for you to handle, it is good to have someone to confide in. It is wise to seek help and find healthy solutions to your problem.
Finding a way around your problem, and then just to continue down the same route is not the answer.
There is nothing wrong with going through a tough time. There’s no shame in failure. We all fail at many things. Again I say, there is no need to make an announcement to the world about what happened to you. But also don’t allow it to eat you up from inside just because it’s so ‘private and nobody needs to know’.
If somebody finds out, don’t allow it to derail you. It happened. Get up and get on with life. Take control of that which you can control and let go of that which you can’t.
Did you have any breakthroughs in life? Have you gone from being a survivor to becoming an overcomer?
If so, you have so much to be grateful for. If you have anything of that nature, and you are willing to share with us, please feel free to do so in the comment section below. That way we can all benefit from each other.