Choose Your Battles by Kristin Orphan


 Choose Your Battles by Kristin Orphan 

I have two older brothers.  They are only 15 months apart from one another and have been best friends all of our lives. Being the baby and the only girl often left me feeling a bit on the outside, so I worked very hard to be just like them.  If they cursed and spit, I cursed and spit.  If they yelled at the TV during an NFL game, I yelled.  If they dared me to do something crazy, I typically went for it.  Jump off 5 concrete steps in roller skates?  Sure!  Oops fractured arm. Fold me up in a coach bed, replace all of the cushions and sit on it?  Sure!  Currently, I’m not really fond of tight spaces. 
Let them take turns launching me off the bottom of their feet to see who could send me further?  Sure!  Oops, broken and dislocated elbow, two surgeries and an awesome scar.  They were especially nice to me that week.  Bottom line, I thought they were the coolest ever and could do no wrong and ALL of their ideas were great.  I was also under the delusion that they thought I was cool, too.

The only time in our lives that we were all at the same school and on the same playground was when I was in 1st grade.  My oldest brother Kevin was in 6th grade and my middle brother Kendall was in 5th.  Having graduated from the baby playground of Kindergarten made me feel invincible. 
Before school one today, I looked across the field and saw my oldest brother in a wrestling match with someone in the dirt.  Believing my brother needed help, I picked up my metal Charlie’s Angels lunch box and began to run full speed at the perpetrator, yelling the whole way….”Leave my brother alone!” I have long since suspected it was the inspiration for the “Freedom!” scene from the movie Braveheart.

I felt like a hero!  I had waited all my life for a chance to show my brothers how much they really needed me.  For the next few minutes, I chased that boy, threatening to bonk his head with my awesome lunch box if he didn’t keep his hands off my brother.  Then……the bell rang.  Shew, my little legs were burning and I couldn’t keep running much longer, but my brother would be safe now.

At the time, our dad worked right across the street from our elementary school.  Unbeknownst to me, my brother went straight to his office after school. Surprisingly, he did not go there to tell him how I had saved his life that day and how I should get an extra dessert as a reward.  His exact words were, “You have to get her under control!”

So, my dad delicately explained to me that evening that 6th grade boys don’t want their little sisters sticking up for them.  Who knew?  That completely blew my 6 year-old mind.   Also, he said my brother was in no imminent danger, he was just rough-housing with his friend.  Hmm – guess I had totally misread the situation.

I wish I could tell you that I learned my lesson that day, but over the next several years, I couldn’t keep myself from butting in and coming to both of my brothers’ “rescue” and defense a few more times. 

 Eventually, I learned that those were not my fights.

Can you relate?  Have you ever jumped in to a fight with your whole heart, but left your brain behind?

While there are definitely times when we should stop, count to 10 and let common sense take over to prevent us from diving into conflict, there IS a fight in life worth not only engaging in, but persevering and winning. 

That is the fight against our flesh or the “us” before we surrendered our lives to Jesus Christ.  Those selfish desires and priorities that so easily creep up and are in conflict with who God is helping us to become by the work of his Holy Spirit in us.
Let’s spend our time and energy on the stuff that counts and learn to let go of what doesn’t.

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” Galatians 5:16-17