How many times have we comforted ourselves with our decision to let something go by reminding ourselves that we’re still in control, citing that ever-popular saying, “I’m choosing my battles?” We say, I chose not to engage in this battle. I will choose another battle. I am commander-in-chief of my house. I am the alpha.
I mentioned to my husband the other day that I was choosing a battle with my 17-month-old over some trivial issue – I’m pretty sure it had to do with some bath toy and bringing it, soaking wet, out of the tub to carry around the house – and that’s when it struck me: why am I considering this a battle … and why do I have to choose one?
As I began really thinking about choosing battles, I started to get frustrated at myself for buying into the hype that there have to be any battles between my family members and me. Why is that saying ingrained in my head, and why do I believe it? Do I really look at my parenting, my marriage, and my daily interactions with people as a bunch of battles? Moreover, do I look at myself as the center of this battle-filled universe, so important and all-powerful that I can actually choose which battles will happen?
Don’t get me wrong – I understand the underlying goodness behind the quote – the fact that we can choose not to become angry or frustrated at a loved one, or fight over inconsequential things. But to me, that is simply being kind and loving and patient – you know, allowing for the fruits of the spirit to shine through our sinful nature.
I decided that I don’t like the idea of choosing battles, simply because it implies that you will inevitably choose one. Why choose any? Why do there have to be battles at all? I firmly decided – chose? – that I would no longer view being kind to my family and friends in the face of frustration as choosing not to engage in battle, but rather simply being human and engaging in life. There would be no “next times.” When we love each other, we live by 1 Corinthians 13, which specifically states:
“4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.“
How can we keep no record of wrongs, but choose our battles, which insinuates we will be picking a fight in the future, based on skipping a potential one in the present? These two ideas can’t co-exist. And as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15).