Unwittingly Defined

After weeks of nursing my three littles through the nasty summer crud that’s been sweeping through town, I succombed. And, as is often the case for mamas in the sick-bay trenches, my sleep-deprived body was no match for the crud that hit me like a ton of bricks. What began as a nasty cold/flu evolved into a nagging cough, which blossomed into a full-blown lung infection.

It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad time.

All that to say, I had some extra time recently to catch up on my reading and Facebook. I clicked over to a friend’s page who had recently moved, hoping for an update on her new life in North Carolina.  What I found instead were words she shared with hurting and upset friends after suffering deep injustice.

“The way we fight defines us.”

I stopped dead in my tracks, nearly choking on my tea.

The words were so simple, and at the same time profound. They rang of truth, and have stuck in my head since I read them.

The way we fight defines us.

These words weren’t  spoken to people of faith, but without a doubt they have challenged mine.

For those of us who represent Christ when we call ourselves his followers, what does the way we fight say about him? Do we take the high road, even when the invitation to travel the low is desperately tempting? Do we hit back? In the midst of deep frustration and anger, do our actions point others toward or drive them away from Jesus?

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9 thoughts on “Unwittingly Defined

  1. Great questions, Kim. And in this season when I seem to get tangled in political discussions that teeter on fighting all too often, I need to remember that how I discuss represents who I am, or at least who I hope to be as a believer. (And sorry you were sick. Hoping and praying and washing my hands like crazy, so that I might avoid the same.)

    • I keep wondering how different things might be if all of us were mindful (or actively tried our very, very best to be mindful and gave incredible grace for the times of failure) of how our discussions represent who we desire to be as followers of Jesus. It’s a tall order, though. (I’ve been attempting, and am painfully aware of all the ways I fall short.) 🙂

  2. Professing to follow a leader whose primary “fight style” is “turn the other cheek” REALLY cramps MY style! (I think He planned it that way…)

    • True story! I’ve been mulling this idea of how my life would change if I really leaned into ‘turning the other cheek’ at all times. I’ve been working at it, and notice a huge change in my driving (less exasperation and desire to thwart the aggressive driving advances of ‘bad drivers’), less grudge holding and more praying when reading FB status updates from frustrating aquaintances, and intentionally only speaking in favor of my political candidate and not tearing down the candidate not receiving my vote. I also notice several other areas that would benefit from additional effort in application of this principle. 😉 It’s a journey though, yes? One step at a time, with God’s grace.

  3. Thanks for posting this, Kim. Yes, the way we fight defines us, on every bit of the spectrum. We also need to know what we’re fighting FOR, not just against. If we fight against people who are working to bring harm to our families, we’re fighting FOR the health and safety of the people we hold dearest. If we’re fighting against injustice in our community, we’re fighting FOR the fair and equal treatment of all of our neighbors. The key here, in my mind, is choosing your fight and finding a worthy purpose within it – something specific worth getting behind. I will fight endlessly to ensure that my wife will have legal rights to our children. I’m fighting against a set of laws, but more importantly, I’m fighting FOR legal recognition that my future children will have two parents. I want my children, who will be raised with two incredible, loving, mothers, to know their family is just as worthy of legal recognition as those of their friends. I want my wife to be able to take our children to the doctor and to register them for school without question. As we’ve discussed, I’ve experienced minimal pain associated with being a lesbian woman. When I came out, my family and friends continued to love me, my grandmother came to my first pride march and waved on the sidelines, I dated some incredible women, then found the love of my life in Meghan. We’ve been monogamously together for six years. We own a house, have a dog and a cat, love to cook, hold down steady jobs in the education field, and we’re planning our next steps toward motherhood. Our lives are really very boring. 😉 I will say that, because of the way we’ve chosen to fight for our rights, the way we’ve chosen to live an inclusive life rather than an exclusive one, there were more followers of Christ at our wedding last July than fellow LGBT folks. Please keep all replies to this post respectful, folks. Remember, the way you fight defines you.

    • Great perspective, Emily! I’ve thought about what you shared often (what we fight FOR matters, not just against), as well as the idea of how we fight defining us. Wise words, friend.

  4. Also, I very much welcome questions about my own experience with the church community and those who define themselves as Christians (most have been very positive). 🙂

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