Thursday, January 08, 2015

Biweekly Bits #25: Pick Your Battles

After writing 26 bits, I realized that there is so much I could elaborate on with each of my bits. So I decided to turn them into a biweekly (i.e. fortnightly) series, for the next year.

Pick your battles. Not everything in your life requires that you respond to it. It took pretty much the entire 26 years that I've lived thus far to learn this one. I don't think I'm done with this one either.

This is an ongoing lesson in life, and something that I still struggle with. But through this struggle there are things that I have learned about battles that make it easier for me to take a deep breath and mentally walk away. Here are three things that I've learned about picking my battles:

1. Some battles are not worth your energy.

Once I figured this out, life became much simpler. I'd be expending all of this energy stressing about things that at the end of the day, either didn't matter, or I couldn't control. So now when something irks me and I'm ready to act (or to worry), I mentally take a step back and ask myself "Is this really worth my energy?" And very often, I could conclude that there are other things in life that are much more important than winning a particular argument, or getting my own way, or whatever the situation is. This way, I can save my energy for the things that really matter to me.

2. Some battles are not battles at all.

Another thing that has helped me is to identify which "battles" are actually battles. There are quite a few things that I have fought against in life that didn't need fighting. To be honest, many of these came out of misunderstandings or misinterpretations of a situation. Sometimes we need to listen instead of fight (verbally, physically or otherwise). This has been true both in my interactions with others, and in my relationship with God. There is much to be said about the value of listening carefully, of patience, and of compassion. This helps us to discern whether there is really a need for us to be up in arms about the issue at hand.

3. Some battles are not ours to fight.

This is the hardest one, and there are two ways to look at this. Firstly, if you've ever had a loved one who engages (engaged) in destructive behaviour, this may be a familiar feeling for you. You want what's best for this person, but he or she needs to make their own choices, and live their own life. At some point, you have to admit that the battle at hand belongs to your loved one and not to you. It benefits no-one for you to try to fight that battle for him or her.

The second instance is in situations where God acts on our behalf. Sometimes God says to us, "I got this. Just watch me work." Our job is to have faith that God acts for our good, and that God is able to resolve these battles for us. Sometimes this means that we do not have to act at all, and sometimes it means that we have to act in ways that would not be our first choice of action. The difficulty here is discerning when and what to do in these situations.

Jehoshaphat learned this lesson when he faced battle with Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir all at once He cried out to God saying, "We don't know what to do, but our eyes are on you." to which the Lord replied, "The battle is not for you to fight; take your position, stand still and see the victory of the Lord on your behalf" (2 Chronicles 20:5-17).

I am learning to pick my battles carefully. Our fights take a toll on us, and so we should make sure that they are worth it. Almost always this means taking time to count the cost of doing battle (or not doing battle). This does not mean that we should never fight, but let's make it a point to choose carefully what we fight and when we fight it. Sometimes it seems that some battles in life come our way only to waste our energy so that we cannot endure in those battles that mean everything to us. Let us side-step these distractions and focus on the things that truly are important to us. Let us pray for discernment to know which battles are ours to fight.
Be blessed and shine in battle!

No comments:

Post a Comment

A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—
and how good is a timely word! -Prov 15:23