I am In the Fight
Several weeks ago I wrote a blog titled "If You're Not Taking Punches You're Not In the Fight". Applying that to my life confirms I am in the fight. With this blog, I am going to continue with my commitment to be raw and real. Honestly, I wrote another blog about a week ago and have struggled to hit "publish" because it wasn't fully representing where I am in the battle.
This morning, as I met with my brothers in arms the topic, came up about authenticity and I realized that was why I couldn't publish my last blog. I can't represent myself in any other light than being honest and authentic with my struggles. In doing so, it is my intention to further expose how the enemy's tactic is to make us feel like "we are the only one who has our issues" and what we are dealing with is unique to ourselves. If he can get me to buy into that equation he has me, knowing I will pummel myself with guilt, frustration and a mountain of shame. As Remi Adeleke talked about at a conference last fall, "know your enemy and know your weapons." I am coming to understand better who the enemy is and how he operates in my life and I am also understanding the power of the weapons the Lord has given us, especially as it comes to confronting guilt and shame in our lives.
So with that preamble let me get into it. My recent issue started a couple of weeks in preparation for my youngest daughter's graduation from college. It was just prior to her graduation ceremony I went off the rails. Leading up to my personal meltdown was a stressful week and more than a normal amount of tension around the house. The trigger occurred at the college campus just prior to the graduation ceremony where I was attempting to find parking in completely uncontrolled traffic and chaotic environment. After a frustrating wait in a long line of traffic for parking, only to be informed by an attendant that we were in the wrong area for parking. At this point, my family unloaded and headed for the stadium on foot, leaving me to wonder the chaos on my own.........in retrospect that was clearly a bad decision. After nearly another hour of further frustration, I finally resolved the traffic dilemma but not until it was too late and I had already lost my composure. The fun continued as I was finally able to make my way to the stadium with the rest of the wondering mob only to realize that my ticket to enter was back at the car.
By this time I had already lost all rational perspective on the day and the final straw was when I dropped the F bomb while talking to my daughter as she was trying to help me on the phone. For me, that was crossing a line I had never crossed before but in an instant it was too late. The rest of the day, as you can imagine, was a real delight as I stewed in my frustration and the enemy stirred up my personal angst with myself. I put on the phony face and made it through the rest of the day but during the night the battle raged. After hours of mocking torment from the enemy of how far I had fallen that day, the only voice I heard in my head was enemy telling me "you are a piece of crap and are no different than you have ever been". By 6 am I couldn't lay there anymore so I ventured out of our hotel room, grabbed a cup of coffee from the Chevron across the street and sat on the steps outside my room. The waves of guilt, frustration, and shame rolled over me like ocean waves during a pounding storm.
It was about 8 am when I returned to my room completely broken. I pulled out the only chair in the room and the release of repentance and shame hit me. I confessed that I hadn't hit bottom like that for a long time. I asked my daughter and wife for forgiveness for being so harsh with them. I was completely broken.
Looking back, the enemy was unrelenting but the weapons of repentance and forgiveness from the lord were more powerful. I wish I could say the recovery was instantaneous and I jumped back into the fight the next day but it wasn't. Since that day I have been exceedingly hard on myself but forgiveness and recovery have carried me. Previously, I referenced the following verse in Romans 7. I find as a man it is a continuous battle so I return to it as one of the weapons we as followers of Christ have in our arsenal.
Romans 7: 21 "So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! "
Personally, I hope you can't relate to this incident because you have garnered the tools in your walk with Christ that has given you victory over these stumbling blocks of life. But for those of you who can relate to me know you are not alone in this journey.
A few days after my meltdown the Lord gave me the analogy that I am like a boxer who is in a fight and just lost the round. I also gained the insight that I was able to go back to my corner, get off my feet to catch my breath and that I had in my corner the support of my team waiting for me to help revitalize so I could get back into the fight. My corner is made up of my wife, children and brother's in arms and it is at times like these I find that support invaluable.
In closing, thanks for listening and I am back in the fight and I encourage you to do the same. Below are a few fight scenes that demonstrate how I did in that 1 round I lost.......got a little wobbly........I gotta laugh at myself as I look back on it.