April 29, 2012

fighting the fight

"fight the good fight of the faith. take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses." 1 timothy 6:12

13 years ago on april 25th, i decided to confess the name of JESUS and to be baptized for the forgiveness of my sins. i will never forget that moment for as long as i live as i felt a sense of transformation, relief, and identity. for a good amount of time, i allowed my existence to be defined by that decision...allowing my identity and self worth to come from the SOURCE of my new life. but as time passed by, and as i started to pursue other goals and ambitions, i felt a shift in my source of worth, joy, and delight.

i believe that many of us are suffering from major identity crisis...finding our value and worth in what we do instead of who we are. as i took my big, bad praxis exam yesterday, i realized that i have become a target of identity theft. for the past 2 years my self worth and value has been determined by scores. by tests. by my abilities. by my clinical competency. and by the future career on which i am about to embark.

as i reflected on this thought, i realized that i have allowed my identity to continually be defined by the things that i do. in high school my self worth came from the pursuit of musical and academic achievement, and my joy was the product of successful victories. it then took a turn in college, and i found myself pursuing social titles: sunshine girl, social club president, spring sing director, ensemble member...these were the definitions of myself that i chose to accept and to believe and that i chose to value and to define my worth. and now as i embark on a new adventure and phase of life, i have discovered that for the past 2 years i have only been known to myself as a speech-language pathologist.

i also believe that there is more truth to the phrase "pick our battles" than we realize because every day each of us chooses to fight a fight. but depending on what we allow to define our value, worth, and identity, in turn, defines the fight that we are fighting. as i read 1 timothy 6:12 this morning, i asked myself, "what fight am i fighting?" and i realized that i haven't been fighting the good fight. i've been fighting a fight based on my skewed concept of identity.

the truth is that we all have an internal battle raging within us: a fight for what will be our priority. what will we allow to be the center of our existence? what will we allow to define us? what will we choose to live and breathe? what will we be known for? what impression and legacy will we leave? what relationship will we value most? and what will be said about us when everything else is said and done?

instead of living and breathing the relationship i've found with JESUS CHRIST, i have been pursuing achievements, titles, and ambitions that yield either great success and self appreciation or great failure and disappointment. and when i examined these in the light of day, i realized that they are very empty and shallow measurements of value and that they don't accurately demonstrate identity. i simply have been picking the wrong fights.

and right in hand with fighting the good fight is taking hold of eternal life. but i realized that i can't take hold of eternal life or be filled with the fullness of GOD when i'm all wrapped up, tied up, tangled up in meaningless battles. i have been striving for perfection, not as my FATHER is perfect, but a perfection based on my earthly pursuits and my incorrect sense of identity.

while i am insanely excited about my new job and my new career, speech pathology is what i do and not who i am. my performance does not define my worth or my value. instead, i am choosing to take hold of a life...an eternal life...and for that life to define my identity, value, and worth. for that life to be the priority here on earth. and for that life to be the source of my joy and delight.

i am seeking to discover which fight is indeed good and to take hold of the life for which i am so eagerly desiring.

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