I never actually described myself this way, but today the description sort of fits well. I'm a fighter. I grew up fighting. Some people may call it strong willed, but I was stubborn and feisty. I'd fight my siblings, I'd fight my daddy, and I'd fight myself. Resisting most new things, habitually reevaluating situations, finding difficulty in settling for contentment, I'd struggle to find a healthy balance for my emotions. The thing about fighting is that it doesn't allow you much room for rest. So you are restless. Ever try to to counsel a restless soul? It's severely difficult.
And so, many of us are constantly fighting. Fighting others for our happiness. Fighting to have our voices heard and our rights acknowledged. Even fighting to be loved, appreciated, and valued; feeling depleted when we don't get what we so fervently have fought for.
Then of course, there are some of us who continually find ourselves with arms in position to battle with our own selves. What a futile thing! Yet, my number one enemy has always been me. There's that critical voice I hear in my ear pretty much in every situation. "You'll never make it." "You're not fit for this." "You're not strong enough." And most times, if I'm honest, I lose the battle; finding myself succumbed to the accusations that hold me back from anything good and worthwhile.
All this talk of fighting reminds me that most of the time, our energies are wasted on the wrong battles. Even more, sadly, we're wrestling with the wrong enemy. Today I was reminded, when I lashed out so quickly. It's like an immediate response. A defense mechanism. Why are we so prone to quickly defend ourselves? Is it based on pride, fear, anger? Whatever it is that leads us to quickly go into battle, I was reminded of those powerful words written by the apostle Paul, found in the book of Ephesians 6. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood..." The fact is that I am in a constant spiritual battle, and it's not necessarily against the ones I'm fighting with.
On the surface, it seems the world is against me. So I resist and I attack when I feel disrespected or devalued. But I lose every time because my real struggle is spiritual and the real culprit is not the man I wake up next to or the woman I face in the mirror every morning. It isn't my children, although you'd think it so based on our daily encounters sometimes. I often wonder, "if flies could talk..." If only those nasty flies on the walls could speak, they'd prove to be excellent character witnesses! And so we waste our breaths and lose sound sleep because we are angry with the very people we love. Because we've been let down or disappointed. And all the while, Satan the real culprit, watches us drift apart from one another, as we attack and defend. All the while, we fail to detect his schemes and his tactics. As long as we are fighting one another, he gets to do his job, which is solely to destroy.
So today, I'm calling him out. Today I know I'm fighting. Better yet, I know who I'm fighting against. So I will turn away anger with love. I will extinguish wrath with a gentle response. I will be slow to speak and quick to listen. I will choose mercy and grace over getting my own way. Because ultimately, these are the things that my enemy is fighting me for. These are the things that make him cringe. And these things he wants to destroy.
I'm a fighter, and I'm gearing up for today's battle. However, I will not solely depend on my good intentions. Those will only get me so far. I will continually depend on the one who's already conquered. I will depend on God's grace for the day, and I will trust that He will be my strength, shield, and armor. He makes me strong enough to join the fight, and He alone, makes me victorious.