“He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”- 1 Thessalonians 5:10-11*
I felt mixed emotions when I heard Billy Graham had passed away. Of course, the first emotion was profound sadness for the loss of a great man. But then I found myself smiling and envisioning the joy in heaven as the faithful servant had joined ranks with his eternal family. I have found myself watching many video clips of Billy preaching for the pulpit and some interviews with his family members. One segment was with Franklin Graham, his son, who was recounting a conversation he had with his father about what to put on Billy’s tombstone. Billy replied with one word, “Preacher”.
Wow. To be able, to sum up, all of his life works in one word which defined him. A question popped into my thoughts as to how could I sum up my life in one word? I have thought and prayed about it for a few days and this particular word made itself loud and proud of me; warrior.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines warrior as a person engaged or experienced in warfare; broadly: a person engaged in some struggle or conflict.**
I can relate to the second piece where a person is engaged in some struggle or conflict. In my younger years, I loved conflict, and not always in a good way. I was quick to make my opinions known, without care for others feelings or thoughts, and loved to engage in debates which most of the time turned into arguments. It was extremely difficult for me to see others’ viewpoints and easy for me to distance myself from those who did not think like me. There were many life lessons learned early on in my adult life which were painful but necessary.
Over the years, I have continued to engage in struggles and conflict but I handle them much differently. How you ask? Instead of focusing on my opinions and refusing to believe I could be wrong about anything, I choose to fight for others. I have channeled my combative energy into protecting, defending, and serving those who don’t or can’t find their voice, need physical, mental, or financial assistance, or desire prayers. For me, being a warrior is fighting for others.
Protect-I will first and foremost protect my beliefs. This does not mean if you don’t think like I do, we can’t be friends. What I mean is I will not succumb to society’s pressure and hide my faith. I understand not everyone is a Christian and I support their right not to be, although it makes me sad. I am open to discussing my faith with others who want to talk or understand more about a personal relationship with Jesus. Believe me, I am not an expert by any stretch, but I know what I know by my experiences. I aspire to lead by example, even though I am a sinner and fail every day in my endeavors. The cool thing is I wake up each morning, dust off my failures and try again by asking God to direct me. Being a prayer warrior has strengthened my relationship with my Father and He has revealed a gentle reminder; it is not all about me.
Defend-I will defend my family and friends. People are most vulnerable in stressful situations such as illness, death, financial issues, and social pressures. There is a spiritual war going on and I will cover my loved ones in prayer to fight off the enemy. This is not to say when they make mistakes, I won’t call them out. Discipline and accountability are traits I need to demonstrate and have the same expectations for those in my circle.
Serve- I am truly blessed with my relationships, health, financial stability, and material items. Sure, I love to be lazy and lie on the couch, nosh on junk food and watch meaningless television. And it is in these moments where the Holy Spirit whispers a convicting message to my soul, “get up and out there to help others who are suffering at this moment”. Some may think this is guilt but I see it as a reminder of how blessed I am and how I am here to fight for those who physically, mentally, or spiritually can’t defend themselves. It is an honor and privilege to participate in events which impact and assist others during a low period in their lives.
I continue to learn more about who I am and my purpose here on earth. It is to armor up with God’s truth and to be His hands and feet to help others. It is to be the voice of those who are quieted by fear, illness, addiction, or circumstances beyond their control. It will not be easy. The more I fight in God’s name, the more attacks which will be hurled in my direction. I have to equip myself daily and put on my breastplate, pick up my shield, and take my sword to fight against the enemy in Jesus’ name. In the end, it will be worth it, and on my tombstone, I want one word, “Warrior”.
*The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society