The Fighter

It’s amazing what you’ll learn about yourself when you aren’t paying attention.

I spent an hour boxing on Wii (pronounced “we” or “oui” depending on what language you speak) tonight.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with such a machine, it is a video game system that utilizes the body movements of the player to play the game.  So, holding a controller in each hand, I ducked and dodged and blocked and punched and jabbed and uppercut my way through twenty-one (yes, that’s twenty-one) hot, sweaty rounds.  As I beat one competitor after another in six-minute, three-round matches, my brother and his girlfriend watched me in shocked laughter.

“Wow!  Latent anger issues?” they asked.

“Yeah, either that or those kickboxing classes from 1999 are coming back to me,” I answered.

The thought of me fighting at all is pretty much hilarious.  Throughout my teens and twenties, I avoided confrontation at any cost.  Several of my relationships has suffered or ended because I chose to shut down or walk out when it felt too painful for me to face.  Sometimes that was a good thing, but most of the time it wasn’t. 

For several years, I was so afraid of conflict (even within myself) that when I was upset or angry, I wouldn’t even admit it to myself.  I’ll never forget how stunned I was the night that my friend, Robert, walked up to me in the church parking lot and asked me if I’d forgiven someone for something that they had done to me.  I didn’t even know how to answer him at that moment.  I stammered an answer and left church, thinking that he was so off-base about this thing.  But as days passed and I thought about the situation, I realized that I was angry with that person and that I had unforgiveness in my heart toward them.  How did I expect to forgive them if I didn’t even admit to myself that I was upset with them? 

When I started thinking about it, I realized that if I was really honest with myself, I was really upset with a few people that had hurt me in my lifetime but that I had never let myself admit that I was upset with them.  I began to make a list and pray for the people on the list—to forgive them and to move past the anger and hurt. 

The hurts had been piling up for years, but once I started dealing with them, life got really interesting for a while—and not necessarily in a good way.  There was one person that had hurt me several years before and when I saw him again, all of the anger that I had never allowed myself to feel rose up inside of me all at once and I became almost physically ill when I had to be in the same room with him.  With the support of my friends and much prayer (months and years of it in some cases) I was able to finally deal with those bottled-up emotions.  I now have a very good relationship with that person and see him on a regular basis.

Stuffing my emotions away and living in denial for so many years really stunted me in a lot of ways.  I couldn’t be who God wanted me to be because I wouldn’t allow myself to feel anything negative.  I believe that God has called me to live with and love with and minister to real people who have real emotions and have been through real life circumstances.  But if I’ve never allowed myself to feel or deal with any real life circumstances, then I can’t be of any use to those folks.  I can’t help others to overcome anything until I’ve overcome something myself. 

Since I allowed God to let me feel and deal with my emotions, I’ve learned how to live—really live.  I’ve learned how to fight and fighting is hard.  Some days, I want to just lie down in the ring and play dead.  But God won’t let me.  There’s way too much at stake. 

I learned a lesson tonight.  I wasn’t just playing a silly video game.  I was learning a life lesson from God.  I danced around the living room, with sweat dripping off my hair and running down my back, with muscles trembling from muscle fatigue.  And each time I’d win a match, I’d throw up my hands in victory and say, “C’mon!  Give me one more!”  And when I finally got KO’d and I saw “Game Finished” come across the screen, I collapsed in an exhausted heap on the chair and smiled.  I could almost hear my coach (God) standing there laughing, “Good job, Kid.  Good job!”

1 Timothy 6:12 NIV – “Fight the good fight of the faith.  Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

Ephesians 6:13 NIV – “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

About Sarah Salter


  1. Boxing ranks just below baseball as God’s favorite sport. My opinion, of course. But I’m pretty sure I’m right.

    Man. I gotta get me a Wii now.

  2. You are funny lady… Never played that I play all those War thingys with Dale and Liz’s son..LOL>. Go for it woman..

  3. Why is it so hard to let our true feelings out sometimes? Letting go and being honest and then allowing God to help me with forgiving is soooo cleansing and leaves me feeling so unburdened. Most of the time it’s me forgiving myself that I struggle with the most.

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