I’d make a lousy soldier.
Last week my children and I attempted the light version of a tour of Gettysburg. My oldest has taken a mild interest in the Civil War and I thought it’d be a great homeschool hands-on learning day.
After some quality time in the gift shop picking out an Abraham Lincoln top hat, union and rebel soldier caps, pretend muskets and swords, (Grandma was along and buying), we ventured towards the battlefields. As we walked up the hill on a part of the battlefield called “Little Round Top” a thought occurred to me: Fighting battles is hard work.
When I think of a battle — I usually picture this wide open field with two sides, dressed in different colors, standing and facing each other head-on. But, that wasn’t the way it looked the majority of the time. There was a whole lot of moving, marching, taking cover, hiding in the bushes and behind the rocks, and climbing.
Aside from the fact that I’m not really an outdoorsy type of girl anyway… I think I’d really hate that.
So much of the battle in which these soldiers engaged didn’t look or feel anything like battle at all. Instead, they played a giant game of hide and seek in truly uncomfortable conditions. From what I know of other battles and other global conflicts, generally, this is a standard part of being at war. Fun. Not so much.
But, reality is, if you believe the Bible, it tells us that we are each, daily engaged in a war. We are in an on-going battle for our souls. Some days we are crushed, bruised, and defeated. And, still other days, it feels like it’s just too hard to go on.
The voices of despair get louder. Their screams of, “You’ll never make it.” Or, “You aren’t good enough.” Or, “Why don’t you just give up?” tempt us to retreat and wave the white flag of surrender.
We want to quit.
Sometimes our battle doesn’t even feel like active fighting, it just feels like climbing. We take one difficult step after another slowly trudging our way up a hill without knowing for sure when we’ll arrive at the top. And, we get tired.
Maybe you’ve never thought about the fact that you are in a war before, but if your battle is your body image, I hope you’ll understand it in a new way today. The enemy wants to steal, kill, and destroy and that’s exactly what he’s accomplishing through his work on the body image front.
Just last week I got an email forwarded to me from a woman who said she was grateful for my blog. Her sister had lost her life to an eating disorder, leaving two young children here on this earth without a mom to love and raise them. My heart breaks to even recount this story. Her sister believed the enemy’s lies that told her she wasn’t enough. She accepted the lie: that her body size–the look of the house that was holding what was truly of eternal value (her soul)–somehow wasn’t what it should be.
Some of us fight not to believe that every day. Some of us have a voice feeding us lies about our value– or lack thereof–every single day.
If you are tired of fighting. If you are climbing and climbing and hoping there is a way out of the body image struggles you face…If you aren’t sure if you can win this battle…If it just seems too overwhelming…
You see one of the distinguishing characteristics of Little Round Top on the Gettysburg Battlefield was the giant boulders scattered up it’s ridge. These made for great hiding places and offered some protection from the enemies fire.
We have a rock always available for our protection as well. He is the rock of our salvation and in his shadow we are safe. The enemies bullets can fly but we can rest safely in his care. We know that our climbing, our struggles, or battles are covered by his sacrifice for us and that we have no need to be afraid of the future or what’s coming next. He’s holding our hand on the climb even on the days when it feels too hard to keep going.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. – Psalm 18:2 (NIV)