Do you ever fight with yourself? I definitely do! When I fight and lose to myself, this is probably what you would hear me say, “Why did I just do that?! Dang it! I am such an idiot!” (Seriously, that happens. Listen to the video below to hear more about this story I am about to tell.)
It seems that no matter how hard I try, I am always fighting. Not against other people though. I am in a fight against myself and it is one of the most frustrating things in all of life.
If you’ve ever read the Bible then you may have read this passage of Scripture from Romans 7:15-20. It’s exactly what I feel like I’m up against sometimes.
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate – I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”
Paul knew what it was like to fight against himself.
Maybe you do, too.
If so, keep reading. There’s hope for idiots like us. (Sorry, no offense)
The Fight Is On!
I’ll share my most recent fight that I had with myself.
We were on a vacation to the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY. We were taking a few days away to focus on family, spend quality time together, have fun, and grow in our faith. It checked off several key areas of life that mean the most to Sarah and me.
That was the good news.
The bad news was that I’m an idiot.
No really. This is no attempt to pretend to be humble by admitting my faults. This is a reality that I fight daily. And the fight was definitely on.
I LITERALLY… very literally…had just finished praying to myself while we drove into the parking lot of the museum. I prayed something like this:
“Dear Lord, thank you for the chance to spend another day with my family like this. Please help us to have a great day together and help me to be the kind of dad and husband that I really want to be.”
A prayer like this was on my mind because I had been reading Michael Gerber’s, The E-Myth, on the way to the museum (I wasn’t driving) and I had just read about finding and living out my Primary Aim. This is the story of your life that you want to be told by those that know you and love you the most. It’s the intentional and purposeful life that you’ve actively created. It’s an amazingly important conversation and one that I was trying to embrace.
So I prayed.
Right after (no exaggeration) I got off the bus. My attitude shifted. I went into Selfish-Nate mode. The “ME” that I can’t stand but shows up unexpectedly and can’t seem to help himself from being rude, mean, and all about whatever he wants.
I truly wish he didn’t exist. But he’s as real as the “ME” I wish to be.
So anyways, idiot Nate got off the bus and was standing by himself and was pretending to be reading the brochure. You know, the one about our day full of family fun and learning to be like Jesus. (ouch) Sarah came up to me and simply asked if I had remembered to grab the stroller for Andi Mae, our 3-year-old. Idiot Nate answered with a short and grumpy “Nope”. Then sweet Sarah asked if we should try to get it because our young child would definitely need it for our 7 hour day of endless walking. Idiot Nate responded in his typical fashion, “Geesh! I’ll get it! (rolls eyes and shakes head like a jerk) Have it your way!”
Umm….what?! “Have it your way???” What the heck was that!?
That, my friends, is me. A part of me that the Apostle Paul fought too. A part of me that I truly can’t stand and wish I never knew. But he’s real (a real idiot) and someone I fight constantly.
As I sit and think (and write) about it now, I know I shouldn’t be surprised. I’m trying to FOCUS on things that matter most and I want to help others do the same. Should I be surprised, then, that there will be a fight for this worthy endeavor called life? No. But it happens just like that.
What happens, you ask?
That’s the face of sin. Sadly, it speaks words directly from my face sometimes. When it sneaks up on me the only thing that gives me hope is this:
That’s what this fight is really over. One seeks to destroy. One seeks to give life.
It’s going to be a fight.
Ultimately, I know Jesus has won and idiot Nate won’t be the story of my life. But until then, it’s time to put the boxing gloves on and fight.