Serious and determined, they battled until one of them tapped the other, signaling that he had resigned the win.
Sitting back on their heels they begin to laugh and talk about the match.
They don’t seem as serious, but actually much more like friends now; training partners.
It is a lesson.
These are practiced and planned moves, of a sort.
Each move has a name.
Many of them have been rehearsed often, breaking each component into its parts, focusing on them slowly.
It is the preparation to ready oneself to react without thought.
It is to be able to rely on muscle memory and instinct.
The two men ready themselves for another match.
Facing each other, they bump fists and begin again.
Grateful I had been given the opportunity to watch one of my husband’s Ju-jitsu lessons, I realize how much this sounds like life outside this gym.
Wrestling with Real Problems… and sometimes with Real People.
We often just open our door and walk out into the world waiting to see what the day has to offer us… unprepared for it.
We “think” we are… but we’re not.
The day might start as simply as someone “cutting” you off in traffic, or end with someone stealing credit for your ideas.
And then we wonder why, at the end of a rough day, we feel so defeated and inadequate; why life is so hard or we are so bad at it.
But God never intended us to go through life unprepared like that.
Like these two men that roll around on the wall-to-wall blue mat in front of me, there are planned moves and responses that are very effective to defeat the opponent… if you just practice them.
Some of us just don’t realize that we “have” an opponent.
But God does.
He knows that we have those defeated days.
It’s not His plan for us to live that way.
In fact, His plan is quite the opposite.
In John 10:10, He says that
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance, to the full, till it overflows.
He actually spent quite a bit of time working through people just like you and me, speaking through them, writing the inspired words of the Bible so that we could have a guidebook to help us do just that!
And in this guidebook are the strategies, tactics, action plans for us to practice so that we can live a life on purpose; a life that is not just re-active, but pro-active.
It is filled with His loving lessons, laws, and blessings that tell us how to behave and react.
He asks us to practice them over and over so that we can live that fulfilling life that overflows.
If we are intentional, they will come more natural, like muscle memory.
It’s not His plan to ruin our lives with a bunch of rules and take away our fun.
It’s His helpful resource of “moves and holds” that outdo the devil and take down the difficult people in our life.
…sometimes with action.
…sometimes with kindness
…sometimes with silence.
And like my husband who sits back between matches, talking with his training partner, he’s learning each time how to change and adapt, how to improve by tweaking, turning, trying…
We can go to God like that in prayer.
We can ask Him for help with our life situations.
We can lift to Him those difficult people that we struggle with in our hearts and lives.
We can ask Him for strength for the next match and peace to rest up for the next day.
We can ask Him how to move, to react, to speak, to listen.
And then…when we open our door and walk out into the world waiting to see what the day has to offer us…
now we can be prepared for it!
With practiced principles from God in our heart and mind, we can KNOW we are ready for the day.
And if the day starts as simply as someone “cutting” in line at Starbucks, or ends with someone trying to damage your character, then don’t wrestle with self-doubt at the end of the day.
Sit back from the match.
Evaluate the moves of the day.
Talk it over with your training partner, God.
Turn to Him and let Him know that you trust Him.
Don’t give up.