LOSING IS WINNING
by: Carolyn Best
I came to know Christ as my Savior at the age of seven. I was afraid I would be left behind if Christ returned or my folks died. Scared and knowing I needed something outside myself I one night came to my mother and she led me to know Jesus. In simple faith and trust, I entrusted my eternal destiny to Him.
I really loved the Lord so much that I wanted to please Him and I loved my parents so much that I wanted to please them as well. When I saw some of my older brothers and sisters hurt my mom and dad, I determined in my heart that I would be different. I would live right. And so I began my struggle to “live for Jesus”.
Actually I lived a pretty good Christian life. I taught Sunday School, sang in the choir, went out on visitation, attended every church service, and even lead others to know Jesus. In fact, I did so well I thought within myself that I was really good. As a teenager, I dedicated my life to full-time Christian work and began attending Bible College. At first I was very enthusiastic, but by the end of my last year I knew something within me was missing. And in the meantime I had fallen in love with John Best and married him. I went through a period my last year of Bible college of deep depression that continued off and on for several years.
The Pit of Depression
We moved to Dallas, Texas after college so John could attend Dallas Theological Seminary. Away from everything and everyone familiar, my depression deepened. By the end of John’s second year of seminary, I was totally bedridden, depressed and in tremendous pain from a back injury. I was angry with God. Although I had dedicated my life to Him for full-time Christian work, I had served Him faithfully year after year, I had lived a good life, yet He was allowing me to be incapacitated and in unbelievable pain. Why? Why? Why? I began to doubt the very existence of God. How could there be a God of love? I had done my best and He was rewarding me with pain I could not bear.
Relief was all I wanted. So I began my drop into taking pill after pill just to relieve the pain. I lived for the hour when I could take another pill. Without me realizing it or even caring I became hooked on pain killers. In this semi-conscious state I lost my desire to live. I wanted out of this horrible joke my life had become. I could not face the solid wall of pain that engrossed me from head to toe. I knew that if something did not happen to help me I was finished. I could not go on like this indefinitely.
Lifted Out of the Pit
I began to honestly face myself with truth. If there really was a God, couldn’t He help me? In brokenness, I confessed my sin to God. I saw clearly my spiritual pride. Now I could do nothing for God. I had to take from Him. I needed Him. I could not live without something beyond myself to really change me. I humbled myself, admitted my sin and asked God to transform me.
Jesus met me right there in such a real way that I will never doubt the existence of God again. Right in the midst of my pain I had a peace and joy in my heart. I went from deep depression to peace and joy in a short time. Tears of relief and joy filled my eyes time after time. God had performed a miracle within my heart, but He did not immediately change my circumstances. My intense back pain continued for months.
Set Upon the Rock
Now that I have learned more about what actually happened that day when I personally encountered Christ, I have a clearer idea of just how He changed me. Nevertheless the fact that He had changed me was startling to both me and my husband.
John told me that some deep seeded attitudes that I had were changed 180 degrees: for instance, instead of resenting being in Dallas and away from my family, I now really wanted to be there. Instead of fearing being different than the people I worked with I now really desired not just to be different but to reach out to them with Christ’s love.
Because I didn’t understand exactly what had happened to me or how I could consistently walk in victory, I for many years had an up and down Christian life. I didn’t realize that Christ could give me His victory in even the small things. I thought He only cared about the big things. Time after time when the pressures of raising children were added to another battle with pain, I would become angry, discouraged and disappointed in myself. I thought some things still depended on me rather than upon Jesus who indwelt me.
How did I finally get to the place where I understood enough of the truly biblical concept of Christian living so I could consistently appropriate it in my life?
My Way Established
Let me take you back to 1984. I was once again suffering severe pain, seeking for God to work in my heart to touch me once again with His power and strength. John brought home some books by Charles Solomon, The Handbook to Happiness and The Ins and Out of Rejection. I read completely through those books in just a day or two and I knew immediately that this explained what I had experienced several years ago before. Now I knew how to consistently live with Christ as my life and I knew how to share it with someone else. God has used me both with groups and individuals to help people and I’ve seen God work miracles in other lives. It’s exciting to know I can’t change anyone, I don’t have the power to change people. But I know Christ has changed my life and I’ve seen Him change others.
My ‘Know It All’ Attitude
My biggest problem was (and still is at times) my ‘know it all’ attitude. I thought I knew what was best for myself, my family, my church, unsaved people and the whole world as far as that was concerned. But I failed time and time again when the pressure was too great. Jesus in His love was breaking me down. When I clearly saw that I could not make it in my own fleshly efforts, I humbled myself, admitted my sin, counted on my death with Christ to sin and allowed Christ to live His life through me (Romans 6:11).
The flesh is still with me and tries to regain control in my life but I have the power in Christ to not just overcome, but to live in real victory.
The flesh wants to tell people where to get off, how they should change things to make their life better. In contrast, Christ in me wants me to admit my anger, to be honest about the way I feel. In love Christ in me wants to point the way to a better life which is never found in fleshly efforts to live right or to change habits, but is only found when Christ is allowed to rule and reign.
The flesh wants me to always be right and not listen to someone else. Christ wants me to be open to the fact I could be wrong in my personal judgment, that other people may be right and since it is not a matter of moral right or wrong why not try it someone else’s way. Even if they fail I will not criticize the person who is down.
The flesh wants me to imitate good works. But Christ wants me to let Him live His life through me and good works will be the natural result.
Freed from Fighting
The flesh tries to control others. As a child I was in many physical battles with my older brothers. Over the years I hardened myself to the point of becoming very controlling and mean to others around me. My sister, Linda, who is two years younger than I, recalls one Christmas when we both got identical dolls for Christmas. She says I smashed the head of her new doll and tore off the arms. I had turned from being the victim to being the victimizer at a certain time in my life . I became a fighter. I honestly could not recall these things very clearly until a recent session where I was helping someone else. God helped me to trace this flesh pattern all through my life up to today. I had to face the overwhelming truth of my guilt and shame. But along with this was an overwhelming sense of God’s forgiveness and love.
Christ wants me to ask forgiveness and allow Him to work in other’s lives. By the way, I have asked my sister to forgive me and I’ve asked my immediate family who have had to live with me to forgive me. The greatest help however, is knowing God not only forgives me but He loves me. Praise His name! It is His life that gives me power to allow God’s work to be done.
In closing, I used to be a person who thought winning was all important. I played sports to win, I lived my Christian life to be a winner. But I lost. All my efforts could not make me a winner. I have found that ‘losing is winning since it turned me around’. I thank Jesus for all the pain and all the suffering because I have found something that is worth it all. I have found Christ’s life, joy, and peace and that is worth losing for.
Exchanged Life Ministries Texas, Plano TX
Abundant Living Resources, Garland TX
Carolyn co-founded both of these Dallas area ministries
with her husband, John Best
Carolyn’s story is from the book Exchanged Lives! The testimonies in this book are the stories of 31 individuals who have experienced by faith what God has already provided for them in Christ. These people were once in life-long ruts. Read in this book the stories of their dilemmas and deliverance.
Order the book Exchanged Lives! or John’s book The Good News of the New Covenant from the website below.
John E. Best, Th.D.
Abundant Living Resources
547 Briarcliff Dr., Garland, TX 75043