She’s going to die.
The words appeared on my Facebook newsfeed attached to a familiar face. As I continued to scroll through my newsfeed, I noticed more and more postings about her upcoming death and deteriorating health.
Doctors said that she has a slim chance of surviving.
I thought to myself, “How does it feel to fight for your life when everyone else has already given you a death sentence?”
She’s not going to make it.
…The fight for your life
Although my cousin has been sick for years, it was not until people started to see her health declining that they took an interest in trying to uplift her. Was it that they did not care or was she just good at hiding her problems? This is something that we all go through on a daily basis. Our problems, our habits, and our bad situations lead us to fight for our lives when people feel like we have no chance of surviving.
I remember during my sophomore year of college, I was so consumed in the partying lifestyle that I began to miss classes because I was too hung over to attend. My partying and drinking habit started off small. I went to the club on the anniversary of my grandmother’s death. Heartbroken and confused, I drowned myself with shots of vodka before heading out with “friends”. Once I started to build up my tolerance to alcohol, I began to drink more and more. I would party Monday through Saturday, sometimes getting in at 5 A.M. But, wait! I still made it to church on Sunday. I still got it together so that I could sing with the choir. My body was present but my mind was elsewhere.
2 Corinthians 5:4(Contemporary English Version):
“These tents we now live in are like a heavy burden, and we grow. But we don’t do this just because we want to leave these bodies that will die. It is because we want to change them for bodies that will never die.”
If you think about a tent used for camping, then you know that it has to be structurally sound before you can actually stay in it. If the structure is not strong, then the tent can be easily blown over by wind or collapsed due to rain. My structure was not strong; it was not sound; and unbeknownst to anyone around me, it could and would eventually be knocked down. But, just how the tent is beautifully pictured on the box before you purchase it, my life seemed to be a beautiful picture, just not completely put together. I was growing and being built up, but I was building with the wrong structure and with the wrong friends. It is easy to cover up the broken elements in our lives, just like tape can correct the base of a tent; we mask the things in our lives that are unpleasant.
As I continued to ruin the structure of my personal tent, I began to surround myself with people who had similar structures. Heartbroken, angry, resentful, all of these qualities we shared, but instead of helping each other get out of situations, we immersed ourselves deeper into them. I was so deep into this sinful world that I no longer felt comfortable around my “church” friends or comfortable at church. It was almost as if this feeling was a way for God to tell me, “You need to make a choice. You can’t be apart of both worlds.”
Romans 12:2 (NLT):
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
It was at that point; I had to make a choice. I had to FIGHT FOR MY LIFE! I have never been in a physical fight before, but I can imagine that you would need a few things:
1. Your abilities
2. Your priorities
3. Your motivations
4. Your surroundings
Naturally, for physically fights, you would find out your abilities through training. You would lift weights; participate in strenuous and physical activities to increase your endurance. However, one of the downfalls of many fighters is that they underestimate their opponent. The same thing goes for a spiritual fight. Often times, we try to fight a spiritual fight the same way we would fight someone physically. We then get worn out and we want to give up. One of the greatest weapons/abilities that I discovered when fighting for my life was the power of prayer. During my struggles, my relationship with God suffered tremendously. I didn’t read the Bible because I didn’t understand what it was saying. After going through a few situations, I finally got down on my knees and I prayed to God. I TALKED to Him and not at Him. Through prayer, I discovered so many other abilities that I had never discovered before.
My priorities as a young, confused, and lost college student were all mixed up. Instead of God being number 1, He was somewhere else on the list. School was not even a priority anymore because I only saw school when I stayed in my dorm room. In order to win the fight, I had to reprioritize. Sometimes, reprioritizing means eliminating people out of your life. When your priorities are no longer aligned with what God has planned for your life, I promise these storms will seem like they last forever.
What is the driving force behind your fight? Is it your career? A loved one? You have to determine what is the push for you to survive. For me, it was my daughter. Because of the lifestyle that I was living, I became a single mother at the age of 21. It was one of the most difficult times of my life. I was determined to change my life because of my daughter. I wanted to be a good role model and the life that I was living was not how I wanted my daughter to grow up. Holding my precious 3lb baby, I instantly became aware of my driving force to succeed; to survive.
What or who are you surrounding yourself with? Romans 12:2 states, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world…” How can you avoid imitating the behaviors of bad influences if you refuse to separate yourself from them? In order for me to really focus on the fight for my life, I had to separate myself from old clubbing friends, drinking partners, and even from friends who may not have participated in those things but didn’t stop me either. When I stopped surrounding myself with those people, I slowly started to go around new people who were living for God. That is where the transformation began.
When fighting for your life, it can be discouraging because there will be people who will expect you to fail. There will be people who will see that the odds are stacked up against you. People will say, “You’re not going to make it.” Or “You’re not going to survive.” Stay encouraged and be reminded of this:
2 Corinthians 5:1(Contemporary English Version)- “Our bodies are like tents that we live in here on earth. But when these tents are destroyed, we know that God will give each of us a place to live. These homes will not be buildings someone has made, but they are in heaven and will last forever.”