Shadow boxing

My seven-year-old minivan needs work. Expensive work. In lieu of making the repairs, we started down the “what-if” road of replacing it. B wanted to see me in a car I really loved, something a little more satisfying to drive around in than what he deemed “the mom jeans of the car world.”

Thing is, after looking at a few cars and climbing back into my own, I found myself strangely attached to the minivan of which I’ve always poked fun. I like how high I sit, how cushy the seat is. I like how I can open the doors from twenty feet back as the kids race to the car after school. It carried my babies to the park more times than I can ever remember, and it also served as the perfect picnic spot when we had a toddler and an infant and I just needed a half hour with B. Now it works great for random friends who come home with us. Even after considering the fancy new Bluetooth and moonroof and much improved gas mileage of a snazzy new car, I found myself oddly pleased with my old one. I may not love minivans, but I surely like mine an awful lot.

But as I try to settle into this contentment, that side of me–the worldly, sinful side–pulls me out. But think about this feature! And how that one looks! And how you deserve something more! Something new! Something better!

I hate this side of me.

The more I pray, the more I strengthen my grip on God and His word, the more acutely aware I am of the difference between the God-fearing woman I strive to be and the sinful one pulling me back toward the world. I ought to give her a name, just so I can curse her out loud. It’s not just about the car. Often it’s my body, since I’m especially vulnerable there. No matter how pleased I am to be letting go of my disordered eating and embracing a healthy body shape and size, she wants to point out how tightly my jeans fit, the little growing wiggle of my underarms, the puffiness of my midsection. I hear her and I try to ignore her, but it’s hard. It’s really, really hard.

It’s going to be really hard, because no matter how imaginary this woman is, the battle we’re fighting is very, very real.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

The racer against me, she’s real. The blows she throws are real too. Telling myself that it’s not is like entering the ring with her and beating the air. As we tell M when he’s facing a board break, you have to hit that board like you mean it. You have to believe you must and will break it. In fact, you strike not to hit it but to go right through it.

Too often, because she’s not really in front of me, I block feebly, my arms soft enough to fly out of the way when she attacks. And after that first dizzying blow, my recovery is that much more unlikely. And what a shame, because whatever she’s tempting me with, it won’t last. But the reward of a life God-lived is HUGE. Eternal.

Don’t listen. She’ll continue to tempt you, but don’t listen. Run. Run like you mean it, like she’s nipping right on your tail, because the quality of your life depends on it.

When she strikes–because she will strike, maybe with something you see or an insult hurled in your head–strike back. Strike back with the promises of God, with the wisdom of His Word. Hit hard. It’s not shadow boxing. It’s real, and in the end, one of you will be on the ground. My promise to myself and my Lord? It’s not going to be me.

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