2016 At the peak of my healing journey of choosing to fight! That little girl...is also me.
“You are either going to choose divorce or you are going to choose to fight, Kate. Choose.”
This was the biggest decision ahead of me as I stared at the mess of who I was and where my marriage was headed. I could no longer point fingers at my husband. The more I tried to blame him for this ‘seventh year itch’ the more I grew angry that I didn’t have peace, my joy was non-existent, and I didn’t know who I truly was. I would think “where do I begin to repair this brokenness in my marriage? God, you gave me someone to love and do life with but right now I don’t like him. I don’t like myself. I am tired of crying, feeling lonely, and angrily discontent all the time. What am I searching for? What do I want? What am I running from?”
Fighting for the life you want is not easy, to be one hundred percent honest with you. You are physically tired, your soul is emotionally drained, and your spirit feels dead to the touch. But at the same time you see this future that you want, you see this purity in a smile you desire, you see a place where you are free! You want it yet you aren’t sure where to begin, how to go about it or even, who to bring along for the journey.
Let me share this little secret with you: keep your eyes on the journey with the end in mind, but focus on what you need to do next - immediately. When a baby begins to learn how to run around the house, you bet the baby has spent days studying how this whole thing works from watching the ‘grown ups’ move around. But when it's time for them to move, they don’t start with running around. Before crawling, they learn to exercise their core by rolling over, then sitting up and so on.
There is a core part of you that in times of suffering, life challenges can either be exercised or not. I remember when I had a c-section with our last born, that was when I became fully aware of the absolute importance of keeping the core tight and right! Talk about not being able to brush my teeth because raising my arm hurt…I could feel it in my abdomen. To fight for the life you want, you must exercise that dormant core. That part of you that is the main part of you. For me that core was returning to the first love - God. The love that had always found me in my darkest moments and gently sent a savior both in human form and in spirit. The love that had always breathed life into the staleness of my life, sending me glimpses of hope and grace so I could function. It was time to find this love again and allow that core to thrive, become alive so I could run the race of my life well.
In my marriage, the core had not been exercised - we both came into the marriage with lots of baggage - worldly views and convictions, unforgiveness, infidelity, mistrust, sexual and physical traumas, individualism, generational curses and they hadn’t been unpacked so anytime there was an issue, we fought each other with the baggage on our backs instead of helping to offload them and together, pack new baggage - godly views and convictions, forgiveness, trust, respect, peace, teamwork, togetherness, family values...love.
To exercise your spiritual core, you need to know what/who you believe in because whatever/whoever you believe is where you draw your core life principles, values, morals etc from. When your core is shaken, essentially your foundation, you are really ‘shook’! It's like the roots of a tree getting uprooted. Where do you go? What do you do? If left unattended, these roots may die or attach to another source for survival; and you don’t want that!
Besides knowing what or who you believe in, you must make the decision to fight. That choice I had during my marriage's seventh year itch was between divorce and getting healed. I could divorce my husband and carry that same mess within me to my next relationship and the next. I believe God would have been patient with me but the choice to make a change for something wholesome and healing was up to me to make. Listen, I get it. Staying means doing some work on yourself, on each other and sometimes we don’t want the stress, the inconvenience, or even the work itself. So again the questions remain:
What do you want?
What are you running from?
Where are you going?
What do you desire that this current life is not giving you?
Where is the pain? The hurt? The insecurity? The fear?
Why are you choosing to hold on to that instead of letting go and embracing this?
…and so many more questions that initially I REFUSED to answer. I needed a guide and you do too. You need a guide to help you sort through your mess so you can find your voice, find your message.
Exercising your core starts with rolling. Yes! Rolling back and forth getting covered in the Word of God! Start where it is needed - doing life in the Spirit - Romans 8. The more you meditate on these scriptures, the more you feel your heart softening to the process of transformation. The more your heart softens, the more you embrace grace and extend that grace toward others. Side note: I looked like a beautiful muddied up pig during my rolling!
After rolling, you start to sit up. Posture yourself at the feet of Jesus and have the backbone to withstand the pressure to lay down. You can sit up strongly and for hours discipline yourself to be taught by wise counsels. There were countless early morning bible studies, and late evening work on my mind. From reading to online courses from spiritual teachers. Here I was believing Philippians 3. You have to learn to sit up without assistance from any source other than those who truly want to see you win in life! You don’t need any other support -or plan B other than the one from Jesus. He’s got you if you are willing to let go. I had to let the past go through acceptance, forgiveness, and embracing the new that was ahead.
Lean in and begin to crawl. This was hard for me. I had trust issues and I am supposed to lean forward, lean in and crawl. But what if I tumble over? You must lean in, all the way in and simply believe. Remember Jeremiah 29 and the plans laid out for you. Believe that there is power and that power has been given to you. Believe that the hardest part of the fight is over and your core has developed some muscles, all you must do is continue to work it by putting one hand in front of the other.
From this posture, with the help of godly counsel and wise community, you begin to stand and then walk. You are supported through the fight! You are never alone! Any thoughts about loneliness are from the enemy and you must refute it. Standing and walking is liberating, freeing, you can walk anywhere. 1 Peter 2 becomes a good consistent reminder of how to walk. But where are you walking to?
This is so important as you choose to fight. You must know what you are fighting for and why. Why is an important question to answer. You must know why you are doing or choosing something. It is here that you begin to discover your purpose, your calling, your assignment because the weight has been lifted and you can now have the clarity of mind and heart to live your purpose. You are now ready to run your race; hinge your heart on 1 Corinthians 9.
Choosing to fight for your life also means you must be willing to give up what you thought was your freedom so you receive true FREEdom. One offers a price the other does too but the difference is this; freedom in the world keeps you in a cycle of trickery where you never ‘have’ enough. FREEdom in God keeps you in a cycle of perpetual peace and joy even in the midst of storms when you maintain a posture of surrender, obedience, trust, and the mind of Christ. See what happened there, there is a cost for freedom, whichever one you choose. But that is a topic for an upcoming read.
When I reflect on the moment I made the decision to fight, I was scared and unsure. I knew the work would mean me being vulnerable, transparent, and candid with myself and with whoever was to be a part of the transformation journey. This is hard but you can do it; it will take time to find the people you need but never give up. Start with one person if that’s all God sends you. Your race could be healing, blessing, bridging gaps, writing, preaching, teaching…just keep moving forward, remain disciplined and run your race with excellence, determination, consistency, and… BELIEVE.
Yours in FREEdom,