Picture it in your mind, a boxer steps into the ring. Gloves on. Sweating already. Practice swings. Planning out blows. Figuring out how to defeat their enemy. Game plan is set. Moves are choreographed. Fear is building. Will the boxer win? Then picture the face of that fighter. Who do you envision? Mike Tyson? Evander Holyfield? Laila Ali? Now change the face…could that fighter be you?
I will be honest in saying I have probably been in the ring battling for things my whole life. My friends….my husband….my kids…my acceptance in others eyes….my ability to measure up….my ability to compare….my ability to figure out a mess I had gotten myself into…constantly throwing punches….constantly trying to figure out my next move…constantly leaning on me.
And then as I fought yet another battle which I called Postpartum Depression, which I fought continuously for 2 years, God began to reveal to me that fighting a battle that He’s already won is silly. I found I had been fighting so hard for control for years that I had often been missing His gifts of grace all along the way. I found that His greatest gift where He is in control and has already provided my victory even when I mess up is was one I had not been utilizing. I found that I had been relying on me and my ability to do it just right that so much of life was stolen.
You see your ability to be a victor in life, in motherhood, in marriage, in friendship, in your job, at your school, with your family has nothing to do with your ability to succeed, be funny, be perfectly consistent in every situation, or have all the answers. It has everything to do with a gift that God has already given and just needs to be received. The stress of having to do everything just right or figure everything out creates a never ending battle that just makes life so much less fun because you don’t get to see how God wants to be your Savior in every day life. You are already the victor in EVERY area of life because Christ died to give it to you. And the more I paint the picture in my mind and try to figure out what each step will look like instead of trusting Him to direct my steps, the more I will be discontent and miss out on the blessings He has already provided.
You see when you come to know Jesus, you come totally on the basis of what He has already done and given to you. He does NOT require anything in return. He does NOT require you to stop drinking, smoking, cursing, lying, stealing, cheating, or any act of cleaning up your own life. He simply calls you to come and experience how much He loves you. You see His love is scandalous and available to all, even those people we deem bad, unworthy, or too far gone to experience His love. All God wants to do is love you. You are the apple of His eye. You are His prize possession, and the best news is that His heart of love for each of us are the same. You have no greater position in Christ if you serve every day faithfully on the mission field than someone who is still struggling with a crippling sin. And that position does not change based upon our ability to better ourselves. The only way to be truly transformed in life and free from the sin and things that so easily entraps us is to know His love and His grace and His mercy, and we will fall in love with a God who is so enamored with us that we can’t help but be different.
We are a culture so in love with love. Love is the answer. Love. Love. Love. And love is the answer, but only the love of a Father who will walk with you and remind you how much He loves you no matter what until you believe that you are who He says you are…forgiven, free, whole, full of peace, joyful, content, blessed, victorious. You will have plenty of opportunities and experiences in life that will tell you that is not true, but I assure it’s truer than true.
So take off your gloves. Stop fighting to overcome things. Stop fighting to juggle all the balls. Stop fighting to be who you already are. You see in the love of God you already have everything you need. Lay down your weapon of choice. And look to the God who loves you, and He will open your eyes to all the victories that He provides on a daily basis. And little by little, moment of love by moment of love, you will be changed. Without fighting. Without relying on you. Without having to have all the answers. In the middle of mistakes you’ve made. He’ll still come right alongside you whenever you look to him and help in your time of need. It’s just who He is. He’s the best Daddy. He loves you unconditionally and He can’t stop. Love is who He is.
So now that you don’t need to fight or figure it all out, what can you do? Breathe again?? Relax and enjoy life? Play with your kids more? No have so much guilt when you are doing things for yourself? Go back to school? Apply for that job that you really want? I don’t know what your steps are, but God does. And He will lead you and guide you because He loves you. And all this is available to you because He died to be your righteousness, grace, provision, and Dad. It’s all a gift. It has nothing to do with you and your ability or your actions. Love is free.