Unleash Your Inner Warrior
No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.
My dear warrior,
There are a few specific topics that are on my mind for this particular series, calling you to rise up a warrior. There is almost nothing I love more in this world than to sit down and to write all that God puts on my heart. But just thinking about these topics left me feeling almost paralyzed. This series I began in the arena is so important, but it is that same arena that had me feeling scared of writing these blogs. It was not only the arena itself, but the critics shouting and jeering from the stands. After writing yesterday’s blog, I feel a sense of relief knowing that my silent spectators rooting for me are among the crowd, and to simply have gotten this series started. Today it is time to address the critics.
Even though I have readers all around the world, and very few of them are people I know, there is a certain amount of pressure I feel in thinking about my critics reading my work this week. I was terrified of being called a hypocrite and being judged for mistakes I have made in the past and being held to them. But as all of these thoughts tumbled about in my head, I was reminded of the intro C.S. Lewis penned in the preface of his book “The Problem of Pain.” There he said he “asked leave to be allowed to write it anonymously since if I were to say what I really thought about pain, I should be forced to make statements of such apparent fortitude that they would become ridiculous if anyone knew who made them.” C.S. Lewis is one of my heroes whose wisdom I often look to for guidance. Realizing that he, in his age and wisdom, felt the same as I do in this moment eased my fears.
I’ve been thinking about the arena all week, and his quote got me thinking about the critics in the arena. Yes, I am sure there are those who would be overly critical of me, saying that I do not live up to my own words. And it is true that in the past I have not lived up to what I now write. But the reason I am able to write the words I do now is because I have learned from past mistakes and grown beyond them. I recognize that I am not bound to my past or my mistakes. It only by the grace of God through making mistakes that I have grown at all. I have come to the point now where I have learned that I cannot and will not allow myself to be hindered by my past mistakes, nor be held captive to my failures or who I used to be. I do not say this merely for my own sake, but for you because that is the essence of this entire series.
This series is about rising up a warrior, about rising strong, and about rising above your mistakes. It is about finding the strength not to stay trapped under the weight of failure. In this series, I will do my best to give you the courage and tools to get on top of your failure, to conquer and to overcome. Oh beloved, I cannot begin to express to you the weight of the burden I feel about this subject. I have seen so many people held prisoner to their past mistakes by those around them. When you are a captive to your past, it is a ball and chain that declares that your past mistakes define who you are and that you do not have permission to be more than your failures. It does not matter who holds you to those mistakes—your critics, those around you or you, yourself—you are a hostage to your past circumstances. Break free. It is not about staying who you were, but moving forward into who God called you to be. This week’s series is a call to arms, to be better than your past self, to be better than current self!
When you make a mistake it's important not to stay stuck there. It is imperative to keep moving forward. Be reminded of who God says you are. When someone else makes a mistake, it is important to speak life into them. Tell them who they are, show them who God says they are—don’t keep reminding them of who they were. When you hold their mistakes against them, then you never give them another chance to prove that they are better than that, that they are more than a bad decision they made—or even a series of bad decisions. When you hold them to their mistakes, you hold them captive to their old nature, you bind them to their mistakes, and you do not allow them to move forward. You do not allow for forward movement for them out of their sin and into righteousness. You do not allow for forward movement out of failures and mistakes into success. Do not bind people to their past failures and mistakes like the rest of the world does.
As Christians and as warriors, it is our duty to honor others. It is our duty to help those who fall. And it is our privilege to call out who they are and to help them move forward in love. We should not write each other off for mistakes we make along the way; we ought not hang someone out to dry when things go wrong; we don't defame a warrior when they err. It is all part of the process, part of our journey and growth. A warrior is not disqualified by the mistakes he makes on the training ground or on the battleground. We should not castigate, revile or denounce one another for mistakes we make on the battleground. Remember, warriors don't kill their wounded.
Beloved, failure and mistakes are important. Without failures, without making mistakes, we would never learn. If we never made a mistake, we would never grow. It is from our mistakes and our failures that we learn the most. If you never allowed for anyone in your life to ever make a mistake, you would be lonely and miserable—not to mention hypocritical for not recognizing failure in your own life. Failure is important. It is another step on the road to success, onto being more. But when you make a mistake, it is vital that you pick yourself back, dust yourself off, acknowledge the mistake, learn from it and keep moving forward.
Sometimes in the learning process, you may repeat a mistake in smaller and smaller degrees, and it decreases until you fully learn and move beyond it. That’s okay. Just because you made the mistake more than once doesn’t make you a failure for life! Ignore the critics who say it does, and who keep trying to hold you to it. Get up and fight the good fight. God is faithful. He is your Redeemer. He can redeem your circumstances. He can redeem the “lost cause” or “hopeless case.” He can redeem a broken relationship. He can redeem wasted years and lost time. He can use all of our circumstances for good.
(Disclaimer: to anyone who thinks cheating on your significant other is a "mistake," and that you can make it a few more times, I will clarify right now: absolutely not. That is not acceptable. It's not a “mistake” to make, and is not acceptable to repeat. Stop looking for excuses, stop trying to justify your behavior. Buck up and be faithful! I will not enable anyone in their sin and lusts here).
Beloved, don’t stay stuck where you are. Don’t listen to the lies that would bind you to past mistakes and past failures. Speak life into yourself and your circumstances. Don’t hold other people to their past failures. Speak life into them. Ask God how He sees you. As I wrote in the previous series, there is always another chance.
Live in the battleground,
P.S. I am grateful to all of my readers. Writing this warrior blog for you has played such a huge part in me realizing how often the critics are wrong, and how easy it is for them to shout their insults from the stands, and that they don't know in the slightest what it's like to be in the arena. Live in the battleground, my dear warriors. Keep fighting the good fight.
©Michèle Aimée, 2016
About the Author
Michèle is a warrior with a passion for God, a deep love of writing, and a fire for combat training. As a warrior, she understands that when she is given orders, she must follow through.