In a frank discussion, Cheri and Amy process the steps (and mis-steps) required to move into a victorious life. They unpack how to leave your old stories in favor of the new one, how to leverage your past as a tool, and how to vanquish your habit of trying to fix it all. It takes God’s power to remake our old stories into victory stories, but it’s possible!
(This page contains affiliate links. Your clicks and purchases help support Grit 'n' Grace at no extra charge to you.)
- Cynthia Garrett’s book — I Choose Victory: Moving from Victim to Victor
- Cynthia Garrett’s website — www.cynthiagarrett.org
- Life Today Video interview with Cynthia Garrett — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2TMkpTVSww
- How does it make you feel to be told that you can move from victim to victor? What would need to change for it to feel positive?
- How can pausing before you respond move you from victim to victor?
- How can assessing your responsibilities bring you to new victories?
Featured Author — Cynthia Garrett
Longtime television host Cynthia Garrett has been breaking barriers throughout her entire career. She became the first African American woman to host a network late-night show, NBC’s LATER with Cynthia Garrett, in 1999. She currently hosts The Sessions with Cynthia Garrett, which airs five times each week on TBN, the world’s top faith and family network.
A popular speaker and an ordained minister who gives keynote addresses around the world, Cynthia also graduated from the University of Southern California School of Law. Learn more about her at www.cynthiagarrett.org, and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.
Transcript — scroll to read here (or download above)
Grit ‘n’ Grace: Good Girls Breaking Bad Rules
Episode #194: Walking in Your New Life of Victory
Note: This is an unedited, machine-generated transcript that is about 80% accurate.
Okay, Amy True Confessions time did you enjoy playing board games with your boys when they were little?
Well, actually, children’s board games are my favorite because I am not highly competitive. So I like games that I know I could do and a game that a five year old can do. That’s about my speed.
Right? Well, I’m, I’m highly competitive, and I don’t like wasting time. And so there was one game that my kids loved, and I hated it more than anything in the world. Like it would make me so mad. And then my kids thought it was so funny to see me like blowing my topic. I’m pretty sure that’s what the game was in their mind. Watch mom get mad.
Oh, so what was the game shoots and ladders. Ah,
that was a heartbreaker. Sure.
Oh my goodness. Okay, so I’m imagining some of our listeners are nodding you know, you work so hard and then you get this close to success and then because of the roll of a die like an arbitrary random dumb luck, roll the die and you lose all that hard work and you slide all the way back down.
Wow, after all these years, I could still hear the bitterness in your voice.
Oh, absolutely. I am still Oh, no, I have not recovered from this whatsoever. So. So yeah, I will freely admit, I have always struggled with this whole topic of being a victim. It’s hard to feel like you can choose victory when you’re in a situation that you did not
choose to be in. And when it suddenly feels like you have no options. It just feels so unfair.
Well, this is Cheri Gregory.
And I’m Amy Carol,
and you’re listening to grit and grace, the podcast that equips you to lose who you’re not love who you are, and live your one life. Well.
Today we’re processing what we learned from Cynthia Garrett, author of choosing author of choose victory moving from Victor. Oh, sorry. Let me just start that whole section again. Today we’re processing what we learned from Cynthia Garrett, author of choose victory moving from victim to Victor. Okay, so I’m
going to choose I’m going to move the eye so it’s next to the choose. Go ahead one more time and get the hook that you keep dropping the I choose victory.
It’s the cut here. I need to expand my screen. Okay. It’s my fault. Sorry. Okay. All right. Today, we’re processing what we learned from Cynthia Garrett, author of it Choose victory moving from victim
to Victor. On behalf of all our listeners, we want to say a big Gritten grace and thank you to Cynthia Garrett and her publisher Salem books for making this week’s conversation possible.
Here’s the Amazon book description for I choose victory. It’s time to live a victorious life you can win right now. The choice is yours. Overcoming obstacles from sexual abuse to social and justices Cynthia Garrett rose to influence in Hollywood. Yet it wasn’t until she realized that the war against victimization is really it wasn’t till she realized what Okay, sorry. Yeah, it wasn’t until she realized what the war of victimization is really about that she found the freedom, victory and peace she thought she wants you to experience it to
through faith and personal examples, Cynthia It shows you how to confront the victim mindset. Quit playing the blame game, defeat, fear and address pride and power. You’ll learn how to navigate the war zones personal spiritual and political of daily life.
In the midst of all life throws at you, there are two constants. God’s unconditional love and the ability it gives you to live a victorious life.
I choose victory will challenge your thought patterns, encourage spiritual and personal growth and equip you to win.
We’re delighted that y’all are joining us as we dig in today and apply the truth Cynthia Garrett shared with us last week.
Let’s dive in Sherry with loose who you’re not. And you tell us you’re not chained forever to your past?
Yeah, that just came out so strongly. When Cynthia Garrick told us why she wrote her book, I choose victory. One thing that hit me was how she said that in giving her testimony, which is a wonderful thing to do, but she said she had been telling her story over and over and over again. And what I realized is sometimes we can tell a victim story over and over and over to the point that we reinforce it as if that is our current reality and current identity. And there are some stories I’ve actually had to quit telling as a speaker on it. I’m sure you’ve had similar experiences yourself. And you know that some of my my books including exhale that we wrote together, was kind of founded about seven years ago when I did this model. a blog called the perfectionism crime where I called out perfectionism for all the crimes committed against the women in my family. And for a while there, I would show that video when I would speak at retreats, and I would watch it again because it was so important to me. The last time I watched it, I realized I don’t even recognize the woman in that video anymore. And not in a bad way. Like, I have sympathy for her. I have empathy for her. I do. I remember to a certain degree, but I also know that chapter is done. And I don’t want to keep telling that story over and over again, as if it’s the current story. My heart and my mind are ready to move on. So yeah, you’re not chained forever to your past.
Well, the one that I’m currently working on to kind of put it definitively in the past is my silence and I want to be super careful because Lynn cow, and I’ve been writing some about this and she has a daughter. That’s a social work major. And so Mariah has been really instructive to us as we have talked about some of these things. And she said, Be careful not to say that you’ve been silenced. And that’s really true because I hold power over my own life. You know, Jesus is above me, but we all have choices that we make. And I realized that I wasn’t silenced that I had chosen silence for years, about some things that are really important to me like racial reconciliation, right? Like racial reconciliation, like women’s roles and leadership in the church and, and women’s gifts being employed in the church. But I chose silence because it allowed me to fit in. Hmm, it bought me approval. It made me seem like I agreed and went along with everybody else. And so that was a very special comfortable place for me. Now in the far distant past, God took me through a time when I believe he kind of clapped his divine hand over my mouth because I had been such an opinionated girl. And I mean, I love to debate you down, like I just loved that. And then I went through a period where God was really stripping me of my own opinions and showing me how His ways are higher than my ways that his thoughts are higher than my thoughts. And that was a good silence. But then I slid into this negative silence that I chose, and I really want to put that in my past. But the interesting thing is, is that God is calling me to use my voice, but not in the same way I would have used in the past. So instead of my opinions, I really do want to bring God’s word into the cultural country. arms that we’re facing. And so that’s that’s kind of a different thing.
I don’t know that I’ll go into this, okay. No problem. All right, so we are both choosing to lose. Okay, so lose who you’re not, is you’re not changed forever to your past and that should be really, really good news. So moving on to love who you are. So what does that look like for you?
Well, for me, it kind of is an ancillary one, but you are a student of your past just not a resident of your past. And that was something Susie Eller said to us early on in our in our time with grit and grace, but we can learn from our past and I think it’s a beautiful thing to be a student of your past. And, as we’ve talked about things like mental illness for example, that we use counselors to help us visit our past and be a student of the past and learn how to process our past. We can use journaling, we can process with God during our quiet time or even with a friend over our coffee table. And so we can we can learn from our past and use what we’re learning there to move forward. And that’s really what I heard Cynthia saying is that she kind of stopped telling the old stories because God started saying, hey, you’ve got some you’ve gotten some tools along the way here as you move forward, share the tools and so it’s this. It’s this learning process. And so we don’t avoid the past but we use it as a learning tool instead of becoming a resident there. You know, one of the things that that is I was processing this years ago, I had volunteered in a mentoring program. And the woman that I volunteered with was making amazing progress. She had come out of incarceration And drug addiction. And God was doing miraculous things in her life. But along the way, she had to go back into rehab for a short time because she started using again. But I was talking to Richard Eller Susie’s husband about this. And he gave me this new perspective that I had never heard before. And he said, with addictions, that success is measured by the length of time increasing between using and now that and that really encouraged me so so just because we fall back a little bit doesn’t mean we’re starting back at the beginning. And that’s been an instructive and helpful thought for me as I process my own behaviors. I mean, for a long time, I would say I was addicted to perfectionism. Hmm. Um, it was a it was a negative thing that reared its ugly head over and over again in my life and so, for now, Also, that I can lose who I’m not I can be a student of my past and learn from it. And just because I fall back into it every once in a while doesn’t mean that I haven’t made progress and to move forward.
How about you? Well, you know, what you’re making me realize is, I think in our old days, like when we started grit and grace, both of us, I think we’re much closer to perfectionism, we would have seen victim and victory as being polar opposites. And if you weren’t completely victorious, you were then you were sliding all the way back down again. And so what I’ve experienced more recently is when I do catch myself, going back into perfectionism, and then pulling back out of it, there’s a gratitude. There’s a gratitude for recognizing it for realizing No, I’m not going all the way back down again, and realizing it’s like we dipped a toe in and then got back out again, we didn’t you know, end up going out with the tide and being swept away into the ocean where we’re now drowning in it. So, yeah, that’s so so important. Well for me, so you said in terms of love who you are You, you said you are a student of your past, not a resident. And so my version is going to be you are responsible for your self. Cynthia made a couple of really important points for me. She said, People don’t choose to be victims, like, I think that’s a core definition of a victim. And she said, we need to learn to choose victory. Like it’s not necessarily something that just comes naturally to everybody. And here’s the thing. My temptation is to try to move from victim to victory by controlling my external circumstances, which as you know, is code word for me to control my people. All right, that’s how I try to move from victim to victory. Like if I can just get the people to cooperate, then I’m going to be victorious. But then there’s this irritating thing called free will. And it turns out I can’t actually control what other people do. And so You know, I, as you know, and many of our listeners know, I mean, I’m doing graduate work and leadership and one of the things that has become so clear for me is that true leadership doesn’t actually start with telling other people what to do, or trying to help other people to see things my way or to choose to do things my way true leadership starts with self leadership. When
I meditated again,
I didn’t realize my voice was so rough today.
true leadership starts with self leadership, which is another way of saying self control. And self control is one of the fruits of the spirit that grows as we follow Jesus. Wow.
Whoa, that is powerful. Okay, so that last one, again, self control. You said true leadership.
true leadership starts with self leadership. And that’s just another term for self control. And self control is one of the fruits of the spirit that grows as we follow Jesus. So to become themselves leaders, we have to be followers. First we have to be followers of Jesus.
So, so good and powerful because it takes, it takes the X Factor the thing that we can’t control, which is other people out of the equation. And it’s similar. I saw a friend of mine. Her name’s Melissa post something on Facebook yesterday, and I couldn’t find it, but it’s along these lines. She said, you might not be responsible for your wound, but you are responsible for your healing. Yeah, I was like, wow. Because I loved one of the things I loved about our interview with Cynthia, there were so many things. But she truly has she has two things. She has a compassion for people who are victims because she herself has been victimized over and over and over again by circumstances out of her control. Um, but she also has the right to speak to victims because she herself has dealt with those things. And so that The combination of the compassion and then the power that she brings to the conversation is just amazing.
All right, so now we talk about we’ve talked about lose, you’re not love who you are. Now it’s time to focus on action. Amy’s favorite part of every episode here, which is live your one life well. And so I will tend to focus on questions to ask ourselves where Amy you will probably tend to focus more on actions to take.
So I people what to do. Yeah, yeah, that’s the Aussie.
Yeah. Okay. Go ahead. Sorry, say that.
Did you just boss me around? Did you just tell me to go ahead.
Okay, but but
Okay, so I’m really excited. This is one of my newest epiphany. And I haven’t had haven’t had a chance to process it with you before. So I’ve been very excited about this. I did put it up on Facebook. And I saw that you put a game in a heart. So anyway,
so this is good. Hold on to your take notes to the good.
Okay, so but I’m gonna realize I’m walking a fine line here because Cynthia Garrett, she talked about how we need to set boundaries, which is what I’m going to talk about. But she also said we need to be on guard against blame shifting. So you all are going to hold me accountable for not blame shifting right? Like me, listeners, no blame shifting isn’t me about boundaries. So, um, we’ve talked for years about, you know, the various ways that we can be control freaks, I guess this is the C word again. And, you know, I’m very well aware that when something goes wrong, just let me fix it. Just let me fix it. And to some degree, and I’ve tended to say, Well, if I only want to do that I’m not really that loving. I really don’t care about the other people. I just want to feel better. But here’s something that became very clear to me in the last couple of weeks. I have believed at core law life for a really long time and that is this whatever is going wrong is all my fault. Okay, whatever is going wrong is always all my fault. And I’ll say it again. whatever’s going wrong is always all my fault. And here’s here’s how it came came to mind. Last week, someone in my household got upset over there being some cold water on the floor. And I started doing what I always do, I started to scurry around to mop it up, even though I was clearly I knew I wasn’t the one who would use the icemaker and let crushed ice fall on the floor and melt. So in other words, let’s be clear here, I started to react like a victim, like I had to solve the water on the floor problem, or else, you know, something, I don’t know, just or else something was going to happen. And I stopped myself, because I’m 53 years old, and there was a little bit of cold water on the kitchen floor. This wasn’t like some big emergency. And so later than I was processing, why did I have this big reaction like the cold water on the floor was my fault. Like it was my fault and thus I had to fix it. And so I posted on Facebook, a little note that says it’s not your fault. You don’t have to fix it. I literally wrote that little note to myself as a reminder and then I posted, um, oh, wait, hang on a second. Hang on, I’m gonna go back online and find this because the download loaded version has nothing but really Oh, no, I think I’ll be okay. I
actually printed it so that that’ll be alright.
So I printed out. So I posted that little picture of the note note of the note I’d written. And then here’s what I posted on my Facebook page. Yes, of course, sometimes it is my fault. But what hit me late last night is sometimes it’s not, which is pretty big news when you’ve spent decades assuming the blame for whatever goes wrong. So maybe like me, you have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility. So rules like you break it, you buy it, you make the mess, you clean it up, you create the problem, you fix it get taken to an unhealthy extreme because you unconsciously take responsibility for it. Everything. Maybe you know what it’s like to live constantly on your guard ready to fix whatever goes wrong at a moment’s notice, while inwardly wincing each time someone mutters control freak under their breath, or decides you need a good dose of truth and love and actually says it to your face. So yes, of course, sometimes it’s your fault, but sometimes it’s not. And here’s the thing you need to know when it’s not your fault. You don’t have to fix it. And I’m tearing up just saying this. You don’t have to tiptoe on eggshells or do the dance. You don’t have to apologize for something you didn’t even do. You don’t have to jump in and make everything better. Sometimes it’s really and truly not your fault and you don’t have to fix it. And then in parentheses, I put you may choose to offer your support and help but that’s a different topic for a different day. You know, Emory recently used a phrase she she looked at me and she’s about something, I don’t know what the situation was. And she said, I think that’s a huge problem. I just about fell over. I haven’t had the nerve to use that yet, but I’m not I’m starting to work on I’m starting to practice it in my head. So, okay, so here’s how this huge epiphany, which I know is still kind of messy, but here’s how it how it’s helping me to choose victory to use Cynthia Garrett’s term, to stay out of a victim mentality, I can ask, Is this a new problem? Or is this a new problem? If it’s not my fault, I don’t need to make it my fault, and I don’t have to fix it.
So good. And let me say that, you know, this has been a little bit of my process, too, is feeling that overdeveloped sense of responsibility. And I remember one time that she speaks This is like over a decade ago, Rene Swope finally getting so she’d been saying about the circumstance. It’s not your responsibility. It’s not your fault. It’s not your responsibility, and I just kept agonizing and I finally she goes, and then name of shame.
Responsibility Now you’ll
have to turn the volume down on that before as you add it Sherry but I was like it cracked me up. And sometimes in my head I say to myself,
not your responsibility, you know. And this is just one of those things that we were forming perfectionists we had and people pleasers, that element of it too. We have to get past and so here are the actions to take based on our conversation today. Number one, we have to assess our responses that when we when we have a reaction to something that feels a little off, we need to stop and say is this the old me or is this the new me Is this the victim me or is this the victor me the person that I’m choosing right this this thing that I’m stepping into God is empowering. As Cynthia said over and over again, this is not pull ourselves up by our bootstraps with I mean, God gave you that epiphany, I believe that and, and he empowers us to step into this victory instead of the old poverty mindset that Cynthia talked about. So we assess our response, and then we adjust our response accordingly, like, like you just model for a Sherry, you started to scoot around to clean up the water, but then you stopped and you thought, you know, the person who is responsible for this, they can clean that up. And you know, what that makes the people around us healthier to when we don’t do the cleaning up for them. And then the number two is assess responsibility, which as you said, Is this a you problem or a problem? And I think for those of us who have had this ever develop sense of responsibility, that that we have to ask ourselves, okay to pause Both of these require a pause and not just plowing ahead. But we ask ourselves, is this is this mine to take on? Or is this someone else’s that they need to take responsibility for?
You know, we’ve talked before about how we contend to be the people who fill every gap, and who, I’m realizing that when nobody steps up to take responsibility, I don’t just feel the responsibility and when they need to volunteer for something at church or school, if there’s somebody who won’t take responsibility for a thing that just happened. I’ve been the one to say, well, it must be somebody’s fault, and nobody else is stepping up to claim it. So I guess I have to hit. Yeah, that’s not true. It’s not a me problem. Wherever that you is, it’s their problem. Sometimes at least All right. So what’s the scripture that we’re that we’re putting along with this episode?
proverbs three, five and six, one of my favorites. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He We’ll make straight your paths. Sherry, how does that require grip for you?
You know, as we talk about a topic as charged as moving from victim to Victor, one of the things that I remember, years ago, I wrote a series on using Christian cliches, and why they can be very powerful, but they can also be very painful when they’re used the wrong way. And the thing I came to recognize is that when when we say things, like, just let go and let God or you know, even something like you know, just choose victory, like choose victory could come across like I’ll admit, I’ll just full disclosure, like I went into myself. And I realized that the grid in this kind of stuff for me is to is to make the choice to look in the mirror and say these things to myself. Because when it comes to things that if I say it to myself, and it’s a truth, it’s a distillation of a truth. And so I can look at myself in the mirror like it’s Sometimes I need to look at myself and say suck it up Buttercup, you just need to get this done. What I would rather do is tell someone else to suck it up Buttercup. That’s when it becomes a cliche that is hurtful. And I’m actually sidestepping the grid. Instead of doing the hard thing myself, I’m telling someone else to do the hard thing. And so for me, the grit in all of this is to be able to look myself in the mirror and say those distilled things that I need to hear so that I will move on to take action.
Wow. Very powerful. Yeah, I think that was both of our we were a little nervous walking into this, like, is this gonna be a quick fix or prosperity theology kind of thing. And it wasn’t at all We were so excited about the time with Cynthia. And for me, the grace is, is that I really can trust the Lord with all my heart because he is entirely trustworthy. And I’ve experienced him as entirely trustworthy when I’ve surrendered to Him. That was one of the companies ponents that Cynthia talked about was just that aspect of surrender if I will surrender my past, my flaws my sin, my yuck, my overdeveloped sense of responsibility of I will surrender those things. To him he is trustworthy to change those from a kind of a victimhood to a victory.
We hope you’ve enjoyed Episode 194 of grit and grace, the podcast
listeners, we’re so grateful that you join us each and every week.
And we’re so grateful this and we’re so grateful for this week’s sponsor, Cynthia Garrett, author of I choose victory, moving from victory. To Victor and her publisher Salem books,
check out our web page at grit and grace the podcast.com slash Episode 194. There you’ll find our transcript links to Cynthia’s website and social media and a direct link to order Cynthia’s book I choose victory, moving from victim to Victor.
We also want to say a big written grace, thank you to our prayer team. The whole grit and Grace 2.0 experience has been exciting, exhilarating, exhausting, and we couldn’t do it without the support of our dedicated prayer warriors. If you’d like to join our prayer team. Just go to grit and grace, the podcast comm slash support and there’s a little form you can fill out there.
Join us next week as we talk with Katie Orr author of Secrets of the happy soul.
For today, grow your grid. Embrace God’s grace and as a lightning The path along the one beautiful life he’s planned for you. Take the next step and live it