Monday, September 20, 2010

Fight or Flight

There have been several mornings I end up crying after the kids get on the bus. It’s not what you might think. It’s not because I am so sad to see them go, it’s because the mornings are so brutal. I’m not a morning person in the first place and no matter how hard I try to be prepared, it’s chaotic trying to get everyone to move in the same direction at the same time. Someone is always crabby. Someone can’t find their shoes or gloves or sweatshirt. Someone didn’t get their homework done. Everything that doesn’t go well or causes distress is like an arrow in the heart. So after everyone is on their way I feel like I’ve been through a war.

There are times in life when things become overwhelming. Or too painful. The demands of work, parenting, family or marriage seem like they are going to put you over the edge. I can be somewhat stubborn, but am not what I would call a fighter. I have hit the wall enough times now that I get this familiar feeling: RUN! I want to get the heck away from anything that’s hard. I want freedom. I’m tempted to run away.

I’m reading the book “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. I have to say that I like this woman. She’s a good writer and funny. And I admire a lot of things about her. Like her willingness to break out of the mundaneness of life and look for happiness. Although I like her, I don’t agree with her. She’s looking for happiness in the wrong place. It seems so brave and romantic to just drop all our responsibilities and go find happiness. But I think from what I read in the Bible instead of running, I need to stay and fight.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8

I’ve read these verses a lot of times over the years. I am not sure I’ve ever seen that the point is not our happiness in the here and now. It’s about sticking with the suffering and tough stuff in this life in anticipation of the joy we will have in Christ. I think fighting the good fight means fighting against those feelings of defeat, doubt, boredom, unhappiness and continue on with the roles and responsibilities God has given us. We’ve got to fight. I know I must. Because for the first time in my life, I know I can’t quit. I can’t quit on my kids. I don’t want to run from my marriage. Not that it’s not natural to feel that way sometimes. I think it is. I don’t like feeling trapped and smothered and I feel that pretty frequently. It doesn’t mean that I should act on those feelings even if that is what’s sold to us all the time. Do what make you feel good. Put yourself first. Blah, Blah, Blah.

I don’t really consider myself a fearful person but don’t you think that is where a lot of the running instinct comes from? I am scared of giving up my desires, my time, my freedom for … nothing? That is what the world sells us. Beth Moore says this, “Where great faith lives, destructive fear cannot live. Where great fear exists, no faith can survive. Fear is the arch enemy of faith.” Living Beyond Yourself, Page 169.

Maybe we won’t be loved. Maybe we won’t be important. Maybe our needs won’t be met. Maybe it will happen again. Maybe I won’t be happy. Those fears are the antithesis of faith. When we fight the fight of faith we meet those fears with promises from Christ. He fights for us. Again, Beth Moore, “Oh Beloved, we have nothing to fear. The pitiful powers of this world are nothing compared to the armies in heaven fighting on our behalf. Fear cripples faith, but never forget – just as quickly faith cripples fear. Whether fear or faith prevails depends on the commander we’re saluting.” Living Beyond Yourself, page 170

So although it seems intriguing to fight fear by running away, you won’t find faith there. Where we find faith is in the arms of Jesus. He hold the answers. He fights for us. He has a plan for us. When we feel like we can’t trust anything around us, we can trust Christ. He is all powerful. He has work for us to do here. He is coming back. That’s the way to chase away fear. That’s true freedom and faith. And you don’t have to run any further than your Bible.

“Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom

or the strong man boast of his strength

or the rich man boast of his riches,

but let him who boasts boast about this:

that he understands and knows me,

that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,

justice and righteousness on earth,

for in these I delight.”

Jeremiah 9:23-24

1 comment:

Peter and Nancy said...

I just read a blog post titled "Eat, Pray, Barf" that had a similar theme . . . that title made me a little giddy. :o) I can't remember which blog exactly, but I think it was Betty Duffy (which is on my sidebar). I haven't read the book or seen the movie . . . and now I'm thinking maybe I shouldn't invest the time!