In Others’ Words: Defining Defeat

Defeat Quote by Fitzgerald My perspective on defeat has changed a lot as I’ve gotten older.

I think there was a time, early on in my life, when I didn’t think much about defeat — when I was brave. And then somehow, someway fear crept in and told me all the reasons I had to be afraid … all the reasons I couldn’t be brave.

And I believed fear.

And defeat? Well, as odd as it seems to say this, defeat won so many of the battles I faced. So many of my defeats were final. And by that I mean, every single defeat, every loss, passed final judgement on me.


And then, something changed. Me, I guess. And my view of God.

I allowed God’s lavish grace to destroy the weight of all the defeats I still carried — the couldn’ts and shouldn’ts and didn’ts.

I breathed the fresh air of God’s love. Inhaled it like an intoxicating perfume that revived my strangled soul. God loved me — defeats, failures, mistakes — all of me.

Mistakes were no longer final — not when I stood in the wide open spaces of God’s grace. (Romans 5 The Message) Being wrong, being declared a loser or being flat-out ignored by someone no longer held the same power over me — not in the light of God’s declaration that I am His and I am Redeemed.

In Your Words: What response do you have when you see or hear the word defeat? How do you handle defeat? 

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Defeat Does Not Define You   Click to Tweet




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  1. April 28, 2014, 6:03 am   /  Reply

    I’m learning, through God’s grace and love, that the world defines ‘defeat’ –not Jesus. I can’t let setbacks and rejections define me. I have to keep striving and working on my relationship with God so that he is glorified, not me. Defeat is about me–and there needs to be less of me and more of HIM.

    • April 28, 2014, 1:41 pm   /  Reply

      I like your perspective about defeat being about me — and that life needs to be more about God.

  2. April 28, 2014, 6:58 am   /  Reply

    With death, the last enemy, having been defeated…there is no final defeat.

    I’ve come to think that what we do, if it’s done in the context of life as a prayer, isn’t ever lost, that God does bring it all together in the end.

    The loose ends we’ve left are gathered into the most radiant bows.

    • April 28, 2014, 1:42 pm   /  Reply

      Doing what we do in the context of life as a prayer …

      Okay, I’m pondering that thought, Andrew.

      • April 28, 2014, 9:50 pm   /  Reply

        If life isn’t a prayer, what is it?

        Either each moment is taken into the Almighty, or none are.

  3. April 28, 2014, 7:35 am   /  Reply

    I don’t think I’ve ever looked at defeat as permanent. At the most, it’s a temporary state, waiting for the next hour or next day to be reversed. I’ve been called hardheaded. I prefer the term persistent. 🙂

    • April 28, 2014, 1:42 pm   /  Reply

      I don’t think you’re hardheaded, Pat.
      I think you’re beautifully strong.

  4. April 28, 2014, 8:48 am   /  Reply

    What a stunning photograph! Rob does have the eye for photography. 🙂

    I used to become defeated easily. I’d give up and play the part of a victim. As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that defeat doesn’t have to be permanent. There is a way to overcome just about everything. I think part of defeat comes when we give up, give in. Yes, I may suffer a temporary defeat, but as I work through the emotions that came with it, I can re-orient my perspective and push through it to something . . . new.

    • April 28, 2014, 1:43 pm   /  Reply

      What’s the “new” waiting beyond the defeat?

  5. April 28, 2014, 9:03 am   /  Reply

    Being a sports mom, I have learned that some defeats are hard lessons, like when the team members are selfish and don’t pass the puck. 5 players + a goalie MUST work together. And if the defensemen are not there? The goalie is, as we say, hung out to dry.

    Last month, at the district play-offs, against our fiercest rivals, the ref kicked out our top scorer, and team captain. After that boy had been roughed up, tripped and shoved. And hadn’t retaliated.

    Our kids were down 2-0. But when it came down to it, they played their blades off and won 4-2. WITHOUT the top-scorer.
    Why? Defeat was not an option. Because when a ref is local, and so obviously biased it’s incredible, the kids have to play against the other team, and the ref. The boys played clean, and won. They played hard and FOR their captain, who they knew was unfairly booted from the ice.

    Seeing a bunch of 10 and 11 year old boys take on the game as a matter of honour, not just bragging rights, teaches everyone in that whole rink that even children know the difference between a well played game and dignified victory, and cheating to win.

    Many times, my boys have come home and said “we lost, but the other team out-played us”. That is a good defeat, and they learn from that.

    And creaming another team who cheated? Well, ahem, one must occasionally rise above the desire to yell “take that, suckers” to the nasty, NASTY parents on the other team who cheered when one of our boys got injured.

    • April 28, 2014, 1:45 pm   /  Reply

      OOOOOh, yeah.
      Sometimes the parents of players absolutely amaze me in an “you ought to be ashamed of yourselves” kind of way.
      But to play honorably — even if you lose — there’s no defeat in that moment. None at all.

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