|Photo credit: snow0810 (creative commons)|
Battling It Out
Emily Walters Laney
Have you ever gotten in a fight? Fist fight, fight with words, cold war with the silent treatment? I think you would have to be living under a rock if you could honestly tell me you’ve never experienced any sort of conflict. It’s part of the human condition. We don’t always get along. We are people- conflict is just part of the story. And sometimes conflict results in growth and positive changes. Sometimes you have to be refined in the fire in order to really be transformed.
Sometimes our conflicts are with people, and sometimes our conflicts are with life itself. Maybe the struggle came from an interpersonal issue, or maybe it’s just from life circumstances that have resulted in a situation that is less than ideal. Maybe I’m not making sense, but essentially the question is this: have you ever felt like you were battling life? No matter what you do, the overall circumstances just feel like a fight? You’re in the ring, you have the boxing gloves on, and you are trying to ward off the circumstances, doubt, and struggles that seem to be attacking you from all sides.
I’ll be the first to say that I’ve led a very blessed life, and my periods of trial have been minimal compared to other people. I’ve always had food to eat, a place to sleep, and clothes to wear. My problems have always been ‘first world problems’. But there have still been periods of trial, periods of a battle, where I felt weary and tired from the struggles around me. Right now things are calm, but I usually find myself staring at my boxing gloves, wondering if I’ll need to put them on soon. The lessons that God has taught me over the years are fresh in my mind, but the enemy is trying to make me forget God’s faithfulness. In my mind I’m touching the gloves that symbolize that battle, wondering what is going to happen in three weeks, six weeks, three months, six months. Will I have to put the gloves on and enter the ring once again?
But as I touch the gloves, wondering if they still fit and what’s going to happen in the future, a verse comes to mind.
The Lord will fight for you, you only need to be still. – Exodus 14:14.
Wait what? God will fight for me? Seems too good to be true. Isn’t there a verse that says “God helps those who help themselves?” I need to fight for myself! (actually, there isn’t a verse that says that, just wanted to throw that in there because I know we’ve all thought that before or had a well intentioned friend/relative/boss/acquaintance tell us that)
The Lord will fight for me. I know that. He’s done it before. He’s won many huge battles for me and my family over the years. Things have happened that I can only attribute to God’s incredible ability to fight for me. He loves us, and he’s there.
So, if you’re like me, always staring at those boxing gloves, walk away. Or better yet, hand them to God. If you’re in the ring, struggling to make it through the fight, step out of the ring and let God take your place. He wants to fight for us, we only need to be still. Rest in that today. I know I’m trying to.
Emily Laney is a social worker, educator and justice seeker. She has worked with vulnerable populations in the United States and abroad and loves to help startup nonprofits reach their goals. She is a Passion City Church door holder and leads a team of abolitionists at Not for Sale Georgia. She loves her husband Brent and their rescue pup Biscuit. Sunsets and Sushi make her happy.
You can connect with Emily on twitter @emilylaney or on her blog www.emilylaney.com