I have heard it said frequently that the world is a battlefield and we are part of the war whether we like to admit it or not.
From the moment that our waking eyes begin to attribute meaning to things, our consciousness is awakened to the battle between good and evil. From the pictures in cartoons to lessons in Sunday school, you could feel the battle raging. On the streets of life, you quickly realize that you are either looking for someone’s trouble or you are being troubled by someone or something. Everyday battles, different for each one but common to all.
We moved to a new house and after a few weeks’ wait, our furniture finally arrived. The old house was bigger and more spacious, so we had to figure out how to fit all these stuff into our new space. It was a project team of 2, Dad and me. For some reason, Mom sat in the dining area and had no interest in what was going on as we tried to find a place for each item.
It was fun recreating our new space but the fun was short-lived. I noticed that Dad was having troubles coming to terms with our new reality, an anxiety of some sort manifested by his refusal to accept the reality that everything was not going to fit into this new space. As he drilled holes into the wall, I started becoming uncomfortable, I felt like he was slowly turning our house into a museum. He kept on drilling and as the nails went in, the pictures went up.
I could not take it anymore!
In a small still voice, I said, “Daddy, too many pictures, no more pictures, it is enough”. Of course, he said no, I kept pushing until he gave me the standard parent response, ‘when you have your own house, you can do what you want in it’. The fighter in me refused to take the cue, I went into battle mode and decided to enlist an ally. Mom was nearby, she heard everything and said nothing. I called out to her to join in my battle to free our walls from unnecessary pictorial attachment. She looked at me and laugh me off with a sigh that carried a lot of meaning. Even though, I tried to persuade her further, I learned a valuable lesson from her silence.
You will have many battles in the journey of life, small, big, calm, ugly and messy. As much as you would like to fight them all, you cannot realistically do that without burning out. You will have to choose your battles wisely, not all wars are worthy causes. Think of it, even nations know they cannot afford too many battles and battles still end up in dialogue so be wise. Wisdom knows the right response for every situation – a simple choice to Be quiet, Speak calmly, Speak loudly, Retreat, Persevere, Surrender or Walk away.
My friend put up a funny post on her status update saying she usually starts to sing the song ‘Joy Overflows in my heart’ after she get in a disagreement with her significant other. I guess that was her way of getting through the moment. I could totally relate with the feeling and as I laughed about it, I sent her a reply to say, ‘My worship is my weapon, this is how I win my battle’. It was meant to be a joke but as I reflected on the words from the song ‘Fragrance to Fire’ by Dunsin Oyekan, I realized those words carried more weight.
There are some battles that you will win like Jehoshaphat in the place of singing, like Joshua by dancing around that Wall of Jericho or like Paul and Silas on your knees praying those prison walls down. Some battles are not even worth fighting, precisely why God took the Children of Israel through a longer route as they left Egypt and marched towards the Promise Land.
Now that I am much older, I know that there are more important things in life to worry about. If I must live well and have peace of mind, I must see from afar the battles that lie before me and navigate my ship to pick the battles that are worth the fight. I have learned that as much as it is within my means, I must live at peace with ALL men. I have come to find that with the battles that I face every day, peace is always within my means if I agree to choose the right response.
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