This life we live is not an easy one. Not by a long shot. Each one of us has difficulties, stress, and hardships that we must deal with. Thank goodness, some days are easier than others. In my experience, there seem to be more “normal” or “average” days than bad ones, or even great ones for that matter. But, there are definitely hills and valleys—highs and lows in every life.
As I have grown older, and hopefully wiser, I have realized what a true battle life can be. The devil throws things at us left and right. We can have worries and woes of all sorts: personal, professional, emotional, financial, spiritual, etc.
We each have our own set of problems, but we can often times take on other people’s problems as well. This is especially true when it comes to our family. Generally, seeing people you love go through a hard time is actually worse, because the majority of the time, you can’t do anything about it. Actually, I don’t think there is anything worse than seeing someone you love in pain, and NOT being able to do anything about it. (Well, except pray and let them know that you are there and you care – which is never enough in my opinion.)
At any rate, all of this is to reiterate the fact that life is hard.
The Apostle Paul is a shining example of a hard life. Paul himself tells us in the Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 11:23-29: “[I have served Christ] with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.“
Paul also tells us in 1 Timothy 6:12, “Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” This is a verse that I have personally laid claim to. It is the verse that I have tattooed on my left wrist. It speaks to me. Actually, I would even go so far as to say it spoke to me through a song on almost a subconscious level. I owe that to the band Unspoken and their song Good Fight. (If you have never heard it, I HIGHLY recommend taking a break and going to listen to it right now.) Some of their lyrics go, “Keep fighting the good fight. Keep letting your light shine.” So that is what I am trying to do.
I started to really think about what this verse means, about what Paul was sharing with Timothy. In my eyes, Paul is conveying two extremely important truths:
1) Life is NOT easy, especially the Christian life – it is a struggle; a fight against evil within ourselves and in the world.
2) You must fight, but fight the right way for the right things. Follow Jesus’ example by obeying the “Golden Rule”, turning the other cheek, loving your enemies, taking the high road, forgiving others, serving others, and showing kindness and mercy to everyone you meet. In other words: do the right thing.
I find this second part really tough. I mean, really tough. It can be so hard to do the right thing. Some people call it having integrity, Liberty Mutual calls it responsibility, but I have come to think of it as being a good Christian and leading by Jesus’ example. But, as I said before, it is hard—it can be a fight, a true struggle. So, I have come to think of us Christians who do try and do the right things as fighters.
We fight against bad things, wrong things, the devil. We fight against thinking wrong things. We fight our own, internal demons and the real ones walking around in the world. We do battle each and every day. We are fighters.
Sometimes we fail. I mean, we are only human after all. But, as fighters, as children of God, we acknowledge our miss-steps and we keep forging a path forward. We adjust our thoughts and actions to mirror those of God. He wants what is best for us. So, once we start changing our internal dialogue from negative, bad, unhappy thoughts to ones that are positive, good, and right, then our actions will follow. We start saying the right things and we start doing the right things. Even when they are hard. We fight. But, we fight the right way. We fight the GOOD fight.
I know I am not the only one struggling to stay on the right path. But, I intend to fight for the right things every step of the way. I most certainly am a fighter. Are you?
#fightright #fightthegoodfight #ftgf
It is officially a brand-new year. For me, and probably a lot of you, it is a time of reflection—a time to look back on the past year and mark all the milestones, good and bad. I know for many, 2016 was a rough year for lots of different reasons. And, rather than focus on any of those negative things from last year, which will be different for anyone anyway, I thought I would turn your attention to the good things. After all, the whole point of this blog is to focus on God and Good.
If you don’t keep a journal or some sort, it might be more difficult for you to remember everything that happened to you over the last year. But, I would think that the good things will stand out. If not, and you are on Facebook, you can always look at the video that Facebook puts together for you. I found mine to be a great tool that reminded me that 2016 was a nice year overall. I had two little precious baby cousins born this year; Avery in April and Addison in August. Paul and I celebrated our four-year wedding anniversary at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando. Then, Paul and I traveled to Hilton Head to hang out on the beach for a few days in observance of my birthday. My family celebrated the 70th birthday of my dad and the 75th birthday of my aunt, Diane. My two best friends, Niki and Jennifer, and I took a road trip to Savannah for a much-needed girl’s weekend. I renewed my dedication to this blog. For Christmas, Paul and I spent some time on the beautiful shores of Punta Cana. And, I started working on plans for a project that I hope will grow legs at some point this year. Not bad, if I do say so myself!
While it is usually easy to remember the “big” things in life, often the “small” things can slip through the cracks without much notice. But, the small things are vital to our daily, often hum-drum lives. The small things are usually those unexpected things that make us smile. These little things that make us smile can get us through our long days. So, these small things really do add up to big things. Why not start writing them all down? I find that I remember things more clearly if I write them down.
So, this year, to make all the good things easier to remember for 2017, I am going to start a Joy Journal. I suggest you do too. Writing down all the good things that happen to you each day, or even each week can be a wonderful way to bring contentment to your life. And, who doesn’t want more of that?
If you want to be a more happy, joyful person start being thankful for all the good things in your life. Stormie Omartin has this valuable and true quote, and I have to share: “One of the ways we can learn to completely trust that God is a good God is to praise him for his goodness. Every time we do, it opens the channels through which that particular aspect of his nature is poured into our heart. The more you praise God for his goodness, the more you will see it manifested in your life. That’s the hidden power of praise. You will be amazed when you pray this way how God will open your eyes to see things you haven’t seen before.”
So, start paying more attention to the small things that happen each day that bring you joy. Write them down. Remember to thank God for them. I honestly believe that by doing this, you can make your life better. Each small joy is a gift. Each time you write a joyful moment down, you will see the previous entries and they can bring you joy all over again. And, after a few weeks of doing this, you will be amazed at all the wonderful entries!
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.