Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What, Me...a Warrior?!

In his book Wild at Heart, John Eldridge puts forth the thesis that all men, being created by God, in His image, are motivated by three fundamental needs: a battle to fight, an adventure to live, a beauty to fight for.

Of late, I find myself returning over and over to the warrior heart within me. I used to believe that my battles were fought pretty much in front of the TV while playing PS3 shooters. I never really found too much to awaken my warrior at work, in class...(though I am sure some of my students see me as a villain.)

In counseling, I guess my fight is against depression, divorce, abuse, hopelessness...but, after all, talking never really felt like "fighting."

But that's the illusion isn't it; the lie. In my case, and in the case of many others I'm sure, the lie provides a double wound:

1) "There is no battle for you."
2) "You aren't equipped to fight anyway."

So, I have looked for countless substitutes:

I spent over $2000 and 2 years getting a brown belt in Karate ("Not even a black belt, just a brown. Guess you just aren't good enough.")

I have several guns and a license to carry a concealed handgun ("Weapons which just sit there, impotent without a battle.").

I spend hours each month playing video games in which I get to "fight." And I don't write, and I don't talk, and I don't love...just "fight" battles which mean nothing.

And then I go to work, give a lecture to blank and bored faces...and I feel defeated. ("You suck at this...and you're boring.")

I counsel the couple trying to fend off divorce, and they get divorced. ("FAIL: You let them down. You let their kids down.")

I reflect on how far I've come, and remember what a loser I was... ("Once a loser, always a loser.")

I am proud of my earnings one month, until I remember how I have already mis-handled that money, being buried in debt. ("You are going to ruin your family.")

FAIL "I am a failure." "I am pathetic." "I am a loser." "I am not a warrior, I am a casualty."

The voice! It sounds like my own. It YELLS at me, constantly indicting me with such malicious, hostility I could bend and easily break. "End it. Give up." The whisper is sickening to me. But it is there, in the dark, in the worst of moments. Suddenly; catching me by surprise.

What if the voice were not my own...?

What if that is part of the lie...?

What if the voice is the voice of the enemy, with whom I have agreed for so long that I can't tell his voice from my own?

No one has ever spoken to me like that, my father came close but not overtly. No one would ever say those things to me...unless they wanted to hurt me. Why would I want to continue hurting myself? Why, at 44, do I keep trying to tear myself down? Why, as a husband to a wonderful wife would I allow myself to weaken to the point of being unable to lead the family? Why, as a father of a 10 year old daughter would I ever put myself through those lashings, whippings, psychological beat-downs?

"Curb every passion, and be on the alert. Your great accuser, the Devil, is going about like a roaring lion to see whom he can devour." 1 Peter 5:8 (Weymouth NT)

In other versions the word "accuser" is translated adversary. I certainly experience the "adversary" as an accuser. Not a fair fight at all. He knows my wounds, knows my weaknesses, and seeks to use them against me.

Now, for those who scoff...I have too. I don't want to be one of those people who gets freaked out about Satan, and demons and such. I know I'm not going to be demon possessed and you won't ever find me trying to cast one out.

But, if I believe that the bible is the infallible Word of God. Then the words found therein ALL apply to my existence.

Back to 1 Peter 5:8. One other word there rings true to me. "Devour." Peter, (the guy who denied Christ 3 times before the rooster crowed; 1st person observer to the life and teachings of his Master, Jesus) didn't say, "he's prowling around to scare" or "to give you bad thoughts." He said, he (the Devil/Satan) is prowling around looking for someone to eat...chew up and destroy.

That's pretty intense. So, how do you destroy a man?

Tell him he's weak. Tell him he's not equipped. Tell him to give up. Remind him of his failures. Convince him you don't exist. Convince him he's got plenty of time. Call him a failure.

It's worked so many times down through the ages.

And it could work with me too. Just lull me into hopelessness, and I'll piddle my life away; along with the gifts and talents God purposefully blessed in me.

Ephesians 2:10 “We are his works of art, created for good works in Christ.”

But my Warrior spirit stirs.

Next: Am I equipped?


  1. Ah, my friend, here is where you and I will always part ways. Because we both agree, and yet disagree at the same time, for I believe, I truly BELIEVE, in the same things you do...just differently.

    I simply think that Man interpreted things a little wackier in those days because we were...well, let's just say, we didn't have a good grasp on things like the fact that the sand wasn't going to come alive and eat us and leeches did not make good medical equipment.

    I believe that all of that is true about the Psychological Beatdown, but I do not believe that Demons and Monsters and Devils and such exist in the way people have a gut reaction to the words when spoken.

    You say 'Satan'...I say 'Satin'...but my point is, that I think that these were things that people wrote metaphorically, or in an effort to explain things that they could not understand in the natural world. I mean...who knows what anyone might have thought in those days if they looked at someone having a seizure. Oh wait...yeah...they burned some of those people. But I digress...

    I believe a battle IS fought every day inside your head...of literal versus figural. Because you possess one of the keenest intellects I have ever come across in my 44 years, and I trust your psychological instincts more than I trust the fact that I could probably wipe the floor with you in any video game we played against each other.

    Yes, as one of your greatest friends I hate being one of the ones who scoffs. I HATE IT. But as much as I rejoice in having reconnected to Faith, I also have such a hard time with literal translations of The Word...because there are some words that if I take them at face value I daresay that my ever so tenuous tether to this rediscovered lifeline may very well snap, it is far too brittle.

    I will say this...can't WAIT to see how 'equipped' you are. WOOHOO!!!

  2. Darling....I AM SO IN LOVE WITH YOU!

    Ken: You are NEVER coming off our prayer board!


  3. I sure HOPE not! :) If so I'm COOKED.

  4. I know, I know that it's a hard idea to contemplate...but, I've been at this faith and study thing for several years. I have a chance of being correct. And I would love to hear those words that threaten your faith. They have probably threatened mine and I might have a thought or two.

    I'm in love with you too!

    I'll let you two fight over which comment is meant for whom?

  5. I'm not sure which is better, reading the posts you two write or reading your comments. Thank you for sharing your friendship with us.

    I do wonder if it is possible you will at some point meet in the middle on this great theological debate?

    I really enjoyed visiting your blog tonight Richard. Very insightful. The post about your dear mother was quite special and I believe she is touching more lives than you can possibly ever know.

    I loved reading about you showing up in Cleveland. It just fits so perfectly into this grand master plan.