When Victory Is a Change of Heart and Not Circumstances

For nearly a year our family has been going through a legal situation that’s been pretty icky (to put it mildly).  Stressful doesn’t seem an appropriate enough word for what we’ve endured.  It’s resulted in a lot of anxiety, tension, sleepless nights and worry.

“God’s will be done” has been my prayer…okay, not really.  I mean sure, I’ve uttered those words a handful of times.  But in all honesty, it’s my will that I’ve wanted done.  I want our family to be the victor.  I’m rooting for our side.

I could give you all kinds of reasons why the “other side” of this legal battle is wrong.  If I shared some of the experiences we’ve had, you would likely agree.  Not to say we’ve handled everything perfectly because we have definitely made some mistakes. Yet there have been some clear-cut faults with the other party.  Viciousness, lies, threats…just to name a few.

Month after month, week after week, sometimes day after day of OneThingAfterAnother.  It’s exhausting.  As a result, emotions tend to get in the way of what God is trying to do.   Especially when the circumstances don’t change and it seems the other side is getting away with wrong.

Not only has this stolen my peace but it’s led to feelings of anger.  Left unchecked, it quickly spiraled into thoughts that I would be too embarrassed to share.   Here’s the thing with deep-rooted anger…it eventually shows itself.  Pretty soon I was spouting off words…ugly words that no longer had anything to do with wanting God’s will done in the situation.  It wasn’t even a matter of gaining the victory but defeating the foe.  It was all about revenge.

Here’s the scary part.  I was so wrapped up in these emotions that I didn’t recognize the person I had become.  I failed to see how the anger had consumed me.  Yet God in His mercy would rip that veil from my eyes, so I could clearly see the truth.  No dancing around the issue—He hit me hard, like a sucker punch to the gut.

That lightning bolt moment was just the beginning.  While I thought victory was about changing the circumstances, God would show me it was about changing my heart.  The outcome of the legal situation mattered little when the real win was a heart tender to God.  A heart ready to forgive…yes, even when everything about the situation was unfair.  Even when the people on the other side were acting wrong.

There may be circumstances you’re going through that are stirring up emotions.  People may have hurt you.  Life may have dealt some hard blows.  While we see victory as a changing of those circumstances (or perhaps even a little revenge), God is saying the greater victory lies in a changed heart.  Be ready to surrender your emotions…allow God to soften your heart…and focus on what He wants to do in you, instead of the other person.

Our family doesn’t know the end of this legal situation.  We are still facing some uncertainty and know that things could go in a way we don’t want.  But I’m learning that victory is found in making daily choices to forgive those who hurt us, love like Christ would and trust in His plan, regardless of the outcome.

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