Fighting life’s battles

Going through the thick jungle of battle for me has felt something like
walking through a dense jungle hacking the thick overgrown terrain
just to take the next step. The toughest part has been all of the
seemingly worthless effort I have been putting forth to move forward
while never even seeing the breakthrough of the sun at the end of this
jungle. It has felt so heavy at times that it felt like I had a machete in
one hand hacking away the dense terrain while my other hand was
behind me pulling a large rope tied to a boulder. Why this large
boulder? Why not just let go? I have been wondering the same thing.
You see this boulder started as a small rock from childhood that I
picked up unknowingly and just held on to it. At times I was able to
place it in my pocket or as it grew I could tuck it away in a backpack or
travel case. However as I grew up and the woes of life began to weigh
me down this small rock I didn’t even know I picked up had turned into
a boulder, and I had yet to fully let go of it. So what is this little rock
turned boulder you ask? For me it has changed and transformed
throughout the years, but in the end this large boulder has manifested
itself to be the route of anger. Anger I didn’t even realize I had or was
holding onto until I tried to take one more step forward in that jungle
towards God’s call on my life and in my marriage and children’s lives
that I was no longer able to move forward until I fully let it go. While
walking through this journey I have struggled so much with why I am
holding on to it and how to let it go. You may think just release the
rope, and let it fall off of you. I wish it was that easy and at times I
thought I had. The problem for me was that this was a boulder now
that I had been carrying for so long now I didn’t realize the attachment
I had made to it.

As a young girl being the baby of 4 kids, the 3rd girl in the family of
very athletic kids their was something in me I always felt I had to prove
myself. Now this was nothing anyone ever told me I had to do, it was
never asked of me, but weather it was in the classroom, the ball field,
or even a fun family game night; their was something in me that said “I
will show them just how tough I am!” Unbeknownst to me it many
times arose in anger and was starting to graft itself into the DNA of
who I was as a person. I remember being told, “You are not only a bad
loser, you are a bad winner.” and I was! If I was playing something as
simple as hide and seek with my siblings and was about to be found
or tagged it instead of playing, I would get mad, accuse them of
cheating and simply quit! On the volleyball court I remember a number
of times missing a ball I should have been able to get to(in my opinion)
and slapping the floor so hard with my hand that it would start to tingle
and go numb. I believe the reason I did not recognize this anger for
what it was and that it was growing more and more into who I was as
a person was because for the longest time I just believed I was a
competitive person, and in my mind that was a good thing.

As I have grown and matured both in life and in my walk with God I
have seen this evolution of the anger in my life and how at times I
allowed it to consume me and did not act in the fruits of the spirit.
“Love, joy, peace, and patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) As I draw nearer to
God he reveals these peaces of my flesh self that I have clung to for
so long I struggle with letting them go because I am afraid of who I will
be without them.

But as I see this anger not only rise up in me and come out on the
people I love the most in life and would lay my life down for. I see that
anger trying to attach itself to them. Them being my children. As I hear
them repeat some of the malicious words I cam barely stand to hear
myself utter, I cringe. I CAN NOT and WILL NOT allow anger to be a
generational curse in my house. God tells me “Therefore, if anyone is
in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is
here!” in 2 Corinthians 5:17. I cling to this and know that I am set free
from that past me who clung to anger and competitiveness in the sake
of “That is who Justine is!” I am not who I used to be and I do not have
to accept that! I am who God says I am!

As I am journeying down this road of self-discovery and trying to figure
out how to win this spiritual battle I am in I turned to the scripture to
see how God’s people won their physical battles in the old testament. I
first immediately just thought oh I know it’s through praise! I just need
to praise, but then God reminded me of 2 Chronicles chapter 20 when
Jehoshaphat was told their is a huge army coming to fight against you!
While I didn’t know this battle was coming, I do know that I am in it
and I will look to the scripture to fight it however God leads me to. As I
read on a few things stuck out to me, Jehoshaphat did not
immediately jump into praise, he didn’t instruct his warriors to attack,
no in fact verse 3 tells us “He(Jehoshaphat) was alarmed. So he
decided to ask the Lord for help.” Plain as day God let me know it is
time to ask Him what is the next step in this battle. Lift my eyes from
the thick jungle and even if I can not see Him lift my eyes to where He
is and let’s go with His battle plan in this and not my own. The next
step Jehoshaphat took was to tell his people to go without eating. God
is leading me to fast on this area and find the route of where this has
stemmed from. Moving to verse 4 it tells us that “they came from every
town in Judah to pray to Him(God).” This small verse has opened my
eyes to know that I can not keep this struggle to myself but I am to
open up to my Godly girlfriends and come together with them to stand
in the agreement that I am not a slave to my flesh and the choices I
have once made! From here in the story Jehoshaphat prays loudly for
all to hear and the spirit of the Lord came on a man, Jahaziel, their
and he said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Do not lose hope because of this huge army. The battle is not yours. It is God’s…You will not have to fight this battle. Take your positions. Stand firm. You will see how the Lord will save you.” (2 Corinthians 2:15-17) This section here just lifted my spirits to a new level that I had been missing for
some time! Knowing that this is not MY battle!! God is letting me know
this is His battle and I need to STAND FIRM in knowing He has the
victory as I watch Him work in my life. Those words STAND FIRM are
used another time in scripture speaking of battles that I hold tight to:

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil
comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done
everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around
your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet
fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to
all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming
arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the
Spirit, which is the word of God.

After leaning in and doing these steps, only AFTER doing all of these
things lifted above did the people of the land begin to praise the Lord! I
am grateful that God lead me to this particular portion of scripture
because I feel like He was telling me the worship is good, and He
wants that as well. But before I get to praising him in the battle I need
to learn to get my heart right and ready for the praise! I need to start
by letting go of the boulder and putting my eyes on God and see His
plan! Then I need to take time to fast, weather it is food, tv, or social
media. After doing these two things I should open up and lean onto
my Godly support system and agree in prayer over this battle.
Following up these actions with standing on the promise that this is
not my battle alone, no this is the battle that my father in Heaven has
already won! It is in doing these steps that my heart will feel the
trans-formative move of God and I will be able to praise Him like I
should! To see the victory come to fruition and break this spirit of
anger that is trying to create a generational curse in my family!

I praise you father that You have overcome every battle! You have
quenched every fiery dart of the enemy and with your grace and love
we are allowed to stand in that victory with you! I praise you that we
are not alone and never will be. No matter how long this battle has
been going on and how hard it has tried to attach itself to us. We will
not be defeated, and we will NOT give in to the lies of the enemy! We
praise you in the jungle and lift our eyes to You! We thank you for the
victory even now!! Praise you God for you are FAITHFUL!!

Written by Justine Garcia

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