When our life is in the balance, or we have to protect someone we love, our adrenaline pumps and we put up our fists. We won’t go down without a fight.
But what about when there’s no threat? When it’s just day-after-day of normal life? What then? Are you living without a fight?
If you spring out of bed with a clear sense of direction, you are already part of the lucky few. You’re fortunate. For some every morning is a painful experience.
I’ve been there. I’ve had days that felt like an assembly line. Paying the bills, keeping everyone happy, avoiding drama, trying to make it back into bed without failing, or looking stupid. Those days start with an ache.
Sometimes I’ve been able to bootstrap through it because I. Am. Responsible. Other days I’ve run or hid any way I could. The dull dry ache of days without meaning is a slow and painful death.
This is not what you were made for. You may never be a morning person (although, I’d bet you could be!) but you don’t have every morning be painful.
You need to pick a fight.
Your fight is your focus.
I’m slowly working my way through an online course called TribeWriters1 taught by Jeff Goins. I’m learning to improve the clarity of my writing. One of the lessons this week posed a question that has been worming its way through my mind. I’ve not been able to stop thinking about it.
What’s my fight?
When a writer knows what they are fighting for, they can be much more focused. They can be provocative in a meaningful way, taking a clear stand. They also can avoid attractive detours.
But as I worked through this idea, it was clear to me that this matters for more than just writers. This can change the way you get up in the morning.
When you know what you’re fighting for, you know where you’re headed. Whatever you are fighting for, that’s tied to your values, your identity, your sense of purpose. You might think of it as your cause, or your passion. It might be a certain long-term goal that matters to you enormously.
- The immigrant parents who get up at 4 AM working 3 jobs in order to save money to send their college have a fight. They are fighting to change their children’s future.
- The Best Buy manager who hates his job but is taking night classes in order to get his teaching license has a fight. He is fighting to shift his life, so that he can spend his days doing something that matters to him.
Your fight may be to build a vibrant marriage, to write a book, to fund new water wells in sub-saharan Africa, or a thousand other things.
To be your fight, it just has to move you. When you think about that goal it changes the way you see your day. It changes your energy level.
5 questions to help you find your fight
If your days are filled with more fog than forward motion, you need to find your fight. Questions like these can help you get clear:
1. What hill are you willing to die on?
2. What battle are you willing to fight?
3. What line won’t you cross?
4. What payoff would make all your investment of time and energy worthwhile?
5. What impact do you want your life to have on your family and friends? On the world?
Get clear on your fight, and you’ll find the fog lifting. When the sun comes up and you roll out of bed, you know where you’re headed and why it matters that you get there.
To give you an example, here’s what I came up with as I thought through these questions for myself.
What’s my fight? I fight against the meaningless day, the opportunity lost because of fear. I have been alone and afraid. I have faced days drained of meaning. I know how painful that is.
But I believe that we were made for more than this. Through Jesus Christ I have found God speaking to these very things. “Don’t be afraid,” Jesus says, “I have overcome the world.” (See John 16:33) “You are not alone,” Jesus says. (See Matthew 28:20) You have value, made in God’s image. You have meaning, art handmade by God. You have purpose, sharing God’s grace and maturing into the image of Christ. (See Matthew 28 and Ephesians 4)
My fight is to push back the fear, isolation, and lack of purpose that gets in the way of who God made you to be. When I take up this fight, not only am I fighting for you, I am fighting for me, for my own sense of purpose.
This is my fight. I don’t want you to be alone, or afraid, or without purpose. And so today, I’m asking you this. What’s your fight?
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