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Hope Discovery of the Day:

Our hope was never supposed to be in a conflict-free life.

Scripture of the Day:

Psalm 119:114

“You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.”

2 Cor. 10:3-5

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 

Growing up with two older brothers, let’s just say I’ve had my share of socks in the mouth and typical sibling torture. Watching them excel in sports while I did the less than noble task of getting their bats (yes, I was the bat girl, only not a super hero in this case), I marveled at their courage. At home, I felt privileged when I would “play ball” with them. I got to play baseball with some of the best players around! Only thing is they made a ball from tape so I would not get hurt because I was not so quick after they smashed the ball. Uh . . . I would duck.

As I tried to fit in with their athletic prowess, they would coach me to not throw the ball like a girl. I would try, but, you know, this bat girl was pretty much unathletic. I wanted to be tough like them, but God made me differently for a different purpose.

Super shy and completely socially awkward, I still tried to find my place. Maybe it was softball. Nope. My eyes would water when I looked up to the sky to see the ball in order to catch it. I was “Outlawed” from the team called the Outlaws.

Maybe it was basketball. Nope. I had a good eye and could make a shot, but was very uncoordinated with the ball. And let’s just say the team did not like me and wanted to beat me up. That ended my stint with basketball.

So I tried track. Slowest runner out there. You get the point. It did not help during that season of my life that people wanted to beat me up at school. I was ugly, a nerd or my skin color was wrong. There were lots of nonsensical reasons why I was a candidate to be whooped. The feeling of unpopularity would have crushed me, but God provided an unlikely outlet for me that I excelled at . . . playing the euphonium. (It is like a mini tuba for those of you who have not heard of this instrument).

I might not have been skilled in the athletic arena, but I sure could puff my cheeks and blow hot air into a brass instrument. It earned me first place in the state of Maryland my Senior year in high school, first place All-Eastern, and a full ride through college.

Sure, those band uniforms were geeky and I was made fun of a lot, but looking back, I realize the most significant thing I learned during that season of my life was that I had learned to fight. Not to fight the people who were wanting to beat me up. Not to fight by trying to fit in. But to fight like a daughter of the King.

Run to Abba

Ok, so admittedly, I ran away from fights. No volunteering for conflict if I did not have to. Running away is not the answer though – running to God is. I did not know the LORD well in that stage of my life, but I knew He was the One to run to. Choosing to stay away from wrong choices surrounding me, I went to God for His acceptance, rather than that of fickle man. This is not easy to do when we are intimidated and alone, but over time we get stronger and are not so afraid of those who are trying to get us off course.

Focus 

Rather than focusing on the pressures around me, I focused on cultivating what God had called me to. I was dedicated to it and did not allow others to dissuade me from being the best I could be. What we choose to focus on defines us. Will we focus on our inability and man’s opinion of us or on God’s ability and opinion of us? When we are in conflict of any kind, we can choose to focus on what matters rather than on the conflict at hand. There is always an underlying reason for everything, but people matter more than winning a fight.

Yielded

I avoided every fight I was offered growing up. Dubbed as a chicken, I stayed away from conflict. But avoiding conflict is not as powerful as facing it. We don’t have to fight in the same manner. Perhaps ironic in light of the purpose of this post, true fighting is done by yielding our will and adopting God’s. We don’t fight for our glory, but His. We don’t fight to defend our pride, but to win a soul.

The Spiritual Eyes Have It

Instead of getting involved in petty circumstances that arise, we can ask God to help us see the spiritual reality of every situation. We do not have to be provoked by fights that arise from the flesh. We can go deeper and fight on our knees. Conflicts are not about man versus man. Every conflict has a spiritual origin. The fights of life are no more than opportunities to grow our character and redeem conflict.

Let it Go.

Sometimes in life, every fight we face will not end well. We might not understand why. It is then when the daughters of the King have to choose to let it go. Get over it. Move on and don’t let the battles we all face in this life disillusion us. Even fights have a purpose that God can use ~ to humble us and cause us to see what really matters. Our hope was never supposed to be in a conflict-free life. A greater hope is that we will glorify God in conflict when it arises, love others and honor Him by how we fight through it.

Lord, thank You for the conflicts you allow into our lives. Even when we don’t appreciate them, we know that You miraculously use them to cause us to seek You more deeply. Help us to keep perspective and to make it all about You and Your glory and not about us.

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