I have always been an introspective person. I am a bit quiet, have a few great friends I can really trust and I hate to fight with people. I like peace, I need peace. I know that everyone needs and wants peace, but some of us can’t succeed in life and be healthy without true peace. Other people like a little fire or spice in their life and they seek out arguments, because it excites them. I am not one of those people.
Most of you know that I was recently divorced from a 15 year long marriage. One that rarely had the peace that I so desperately needed. I grieved, I prayed, we were counseled by many people to get us through our struggle, before and after the divorce. I know we are not completely healed but we are close. I praise God for that, he alone brought me through my pain because I asked him to. Recently I started going on dates again. I thought I was ready, I told myself that if I waited too long fear would control my decisions and I would end up an old spinster. So I decided to fight the fear, and try a date or two.
Fear is something I don’t like. I actually get baffled when my children say they are afraid of something, because I rarely fear things anymore. ANYMORE is the key word. I know that fear is a tool of the devil and so I refuse to let fear control my thoughts and decisions.Many say I am brave, but its is God who is brave. I am weak, that makes me strong. One thing that I didn’t realize is that my constant need for peace was actually a manifestation of a fear of fighting.
If you haven’t read the bible recently, I will give you a spoiler alert; there is tons of fighting in both the Old and New Testament. Some of it was God ordained. This does not mean we have an angry God that wants to smite people all the time. It does mean that God knows that standing up for what you believe in is imperative for a healthy relationship. He wants us to know how to fight.
A new friend of mine called me on something I said recently that made me and my introspective self really think. After telling them my justifications for dating after my divorce I then told them that I used to be in ministry, but felt that I was not ready to get back into that because I need time to heal from my divorce. Imagine my chagrin when they called me out.
You are ready to date, but you are not ready for ministry again? How does that work?
Ouch is right.
After mulling this over for some time and looking at my current situation I realize I am not quite ready for either. But I am getting very close. The one lesson God wants me to learn before I move on is to not be afraid to join the fight club. Yes, that is right. God wants me to fight. He wants me to stand up for myself. Be bold. Stand up for others. He wants me to realize that seeking peace sometimes means you need to go through the battle first. Thank God he has perfectly laid out instructions for a good fair fight.
First we put on his armor. He tells us all about the parts of his armor in the book of Ephesians.
Like all soldiers we must have the proper equipment to win a fight.
First we need a helmet, God’s helmet of salvation tells the enemy that we are covered. We have our minds and thoughts covered by Gods blessing and a physical representation that Jesus already won the fight for us. Can I get an Amen?
Second, would be the breast plate of righteousness, protect your heart by knowing who you are in Christ. You are an Heir to the throne, act like it.
Third, we put on the belt of truth. Truth is so important; if we fought without truth then we have already lost the fight. Resist the Devils lies that you are not good enough, not strong enough, that you do not belong or are not worthy. Or the lies that you can earn your way to victory, that you are more blessed, more holy or more humble than everyone else. These all are lies to break you down, and if anyone knows the psychology of sports half the battle is believing in your heart you are going to win. If you can do that the game/fight has already been decided.
Fourth, we need our shield of faith to protect us when we doubt. Have faith that God will be there in your hour of need. When you really don’t think you can make it you call out to him. When we do this he will send his holy spirit to lift us up.
Fifth, we need the sword of the sprit, and last but not least prepare your feet with the gospel of PEACE.
Whoop, there it is. My favorite word, Peace.
We all want it, but are we willing to do all that work to get it? I used to run away from the battle, but I am learning how to fight fair and that running away is no solution. I have come along way from my chilhood days of serious escape.
As a child I used books to escape reality, to make connections and comparisons with characters in stories and to just find the peace I so desperately craved. This spilled over in my real life as a young adult and I found my self running away from my problems often. Physically running away, emotionally running away, mentally running away. It took me years to realize I did this and more years to start to try to correct it. I know I am not there yet. But I am working on it. That is what makes me a great person though. I seek out help with my troubles, I know I am not perfect. I am perfectly capable of saying “I’m Sorry” and in fact I think it is imperative to the success of any relationship, from marriage to child rearing to teaching. Tell them you are sorry when you mess up.
The problem that I have had for the last 15 years is that I was in a relationship with someone who was never wrong. In their minds it was impossible for them to be wrong and everything was always my fault. At first I apologized for the things I supposedly did wrong (which were false accusations), because I wanted peace in the home. Then I went to the opposite extreme and fought back too much, adding to the anxious war zone that was mistakenly called home. It took me years to figure out there is a balance to it all, and I am still learning this. Lately God is trying to teach me how to fight in a godly way so I can avoid the mistakes of the past.
This past year has been a full scale atomic bomb type war for me. My marriage. My divorce. My workplace. Even beloved family members and best friends. These fights have brought me to my knees in utter desperation. Some fights were completely out of my control; one sided battles that were going no where. Others were unfortunate miscommunications which ended as all fights should, with true repentance of both parties and complete reconciliation. Others I believe will end this way, but I am still in prayer for those situations. Gods plan is so beautiful that way. It is a shame that my marriage could not have ended that way, it had the potential but it just wasn’t meant to be. It brings me to tears now, just thinking back on all of the pain that has been manifested in mine and my children’s lives. But now it is time to look ahead to the future and Thank God for the blessings of today.
God has a plan for us because he knew that we would be fighting and would not only need protection but a strategy. Now I know that he wants me to practice the strategy he has put in place for me to find real true peace. Put on Gods armor to prepare for the battle. Spend hours in real prayer, that is where wars are won; on our knees in prayer. We can also fight the good fight in worship. This has always been my preferred method because I love music and it takes my eyes off of the temporary and helps me refocus on the permanent truth of God’s love and protection. There is a great song by an awesome musician by the name of Jonathan David Helser, “God of the Angel armies”. (click to watch/hear it)
This song got me through my darkest days. I played it on my drives to work and sang it with all my heart. The more I sang, the more I believed and my triumphs in the face of evil is proof that God is my protector. God is for us, not against us and he wants to rescue us, we just need to ask.
Are you going to fight the good fight? Lets stand up together.
So what are you waiting for?