3 Ways to Fight – And Win!
“…And that’s how you fight,” I concluded.
It all started when I began noticing my girl being bullied. She was anxious and fearful. Shaken. This is middle school…I thought – remembering the emotional, social, and hormonal trauma of bad hair, zits, and girl drama. It’s about that time, I guess. This is where life gets sticky.
Carson came to me at bedtime and asked if we could talk. Thankful for her desire to chat and sensing the cues of anxiety, I followed her and tucked her back in. She spilled her feelings, the ways she felt targeted, the destructive words, the role of social media, how it played out at school, the impact on her rest. I listened with a solid, reassuring face that did not betray my sadness or my troubled mama heart. I left her room, willing my tears to remain at bay.
I was heavy with fear.
I prayed as I crawled back under the covers and settled on my pillow, but sleep had hitched a ride on I-95 and wasn’t coming back any time soon. I tossed in my own marinade of disquiet until I finally moved to the couch to try something different. It dawned on me that I had to teach my girl to fight. And win. But how would I do that? There was no wisdom to glean from the one physical altercation I had been a party to; hair-pulling and colorful language wasn’t feeling like the course of action I should prescribe. It wouldn’t have worked anyway…because her fight wasn’t against another girl. Not even a boy. It was far more complex than that.
It was internal and it was spiritual. This may be where we depart on beliefs. I believe there are selfish desires inside us that are just part of being human AND there’s evil in the world around us; both attempt to keep us from being all we are intended to be. It is a very real battle that we all either cooperate with (reaping consequences we may fail to ascribe to anything other than misfortune) or we fight.
So at 1:30 a.m. I began to pray over and formulate a plan for teaching my girls to fight and win:
1) Truth. This type of internal blitzkrieg lobs lies inside the wall. Grenades that detonate the poisons of self-loathing, guilt, insecurity, self-destructive choices and behaviors. And the antidote to lies is Truth. Big T Truth that only comes from the Bible. In a time of such liquid veracity, WE ARE FAMISHED FOR ABSOLUTES – stakes we can drive in the ground and tie some weight to. So I began pecking out an email to my friend in the wee hours of the morning – explaining my weighty wakefulness and asking if she could take the verses I was attaching and make them graphically beautiful, matching the decor of my gals’ rooms. They needed an arsenal of their own, and I was about to put a round in their revolvers.
The girls loved decorating their living spaces with these cards, and now while they play, get dressed, work on homework, and over their heads while they sleep, they have Truth at their immediate disposal. They can pray Truth over the screech of a lie and fight back.
And if you’re that person who gets weirded out by people who post Bible verses all over their houses; I’ve been you. I feel you. But I have woken up in the mudhole of defeat of this kind too much in my life to not be aggressive for my children and myself. We like to win.
2) Honesty. This type of warfare murmurs, “If they only knew…knew what you thought…knew what you did when no one was looking…knew what you secretly desired, they would hate you. You are a worthless disappointment. You are a freak. You are crazy. Absolutely no one would love you if they only knew…” I have been arrogantly guilty of believing Jesus and I had no need for anyone else. I would openly boast, “I tell Jesus everything. He knows the whole picture and can give me perfect wisdom. Everybody else is just jacked-up too and have their own selfish motives and blind spots. What kind of advice can they give?” Did I mention my arrogance? All of those things are true of Jesus, but we also need flesh and blood and audible voices – used by Jesus – to fight the power of secret shame. Secrets breed isolation and isolation guarantees defeat. While it was difficult to hear my girl share her struggles, I gently asked probing questions to press her to voice what she deemed unspeakable. A spoken secret immediately loses a large measure of its power. Don’t vomit the depths of your soul to just anybody and certainly not on social media, but test the waters for trustworthiness in some of your relationships and find one or two people in your life that you can tell everything. I would have fought you on this one in the past, but it is absolutely a non-negotiable.
3) Community. This one is directly related to #2, but you have to have your people. Even beyond your one or two confidantes. We all need a din of voices that love us, that we can count on for sound wisdom, that we laugh with, that we cry with. We need to be intentional in surrounding ourselves with people we love and trust. I am thankful my girl has an open relationship with me and Chris; she has a best friend and a best cousin, a small group at church, a small group leader and several beautiful, godly young ladies who invest in her. She has a team she serves with at church and school friends. All different types of relationships that pour into her and create safe places to be real, to be challenged, to be loved. I, too – an introvert and loner – have sought out a dozen or so relationships to strengthen my fight. Nobody wins a war by fighting alone.
“So,” I outlined in a follow-up conversation,”you’re gonna…
- pray truth
- commit to complete honesty with me or someone else in your life you trust to give you godly wisdom
- continue to surround yourself with people who will make you better
…And that’s how you fight,” I concluded.
PS – If you are interested in ordering Scripture cards or have other ideas about how you might incorporate Truth into your space, shoot my beautiful friend a design request at LindsayHaselden.com. Girlfriend brings the magic!