I have never been a movie buff or even someone who frequents the theater. If I'm going on a movie date it's to see a movie that I'm excited about. However, this time was different. A friend of mine went to see War Room with her husband and starkly encouraged my husband and I to take the time to go see it. She bolstered that it was a must see and that I wouldn't regret it. In the past I had been disappointed by overzealous claims of movie greatness but this time the film certainly lived up to the hype. With each passing scene I became more engulfed in the role of the characters but more importantly with the underlying themes. It truly touched my soul.
Lessons I Learned from War Room:
Lesson 1: Learning Who is the Enemy
At some point in your marriage or relationship you feel like you are at war with your spouse or significant other. Nothing you say is right and every conversation is antagonistic despite your intentions. As a woman you find yourself nagging him with hopes of him "acting right" but it only makes things worse. You begin to view him as your enemy instead of your ally.
As my husband and I sat in the theater watching the main characters argue it was like we were watching a rendition of ourselves. A month prior, these characters on the screen were us. Somehow we had decided that it was us against each other instead of us against the world. The devil was busy convincing both of us that there was no way our marriage could work. It was the stresses of life that pushed us further away from one another which in turn pushed us further away from God. By God's grace we realized that we were fighting a battle that would end with no champion. In the midst of our anger and frustration, we stopped and prayed. That was the power of God! I walked through my house, just like the main character in the movie, and rebuked the devil in the name of Jesus. As I walked I remembered my grandmother's words, "if you keep God in your heart, He will be in your house." With a stern voice, I said "satan you are not welcome in this house because this is God's house." We prayed for strength and we realized that our only enemy is satan not one another. My lesson: Satan is my enemy not my husband.
Lesson 2: Changing Someone is Not Your Responsibility
I must admit that I'm guilty of trying to change someone. Often times I cross the line from helping them be better to trying to force them to be what I want them to be. One of the most significant prayers to me was a prayer by the matriarch of the movie, Ms. Clara. She prayed, "God help me to not force [myself on] her because I know I have a big mouth." I laughed but the prayer resonated with me because I need to say that prayer. I find myself forcing myself on others particularly my family and friends as I try to help them. As I try to protect them. Yes God blessed with me with the ability to see the potential in others however He did not give me the assignment of changing them. Changing them is something only God can do. My job is to diligently pray for them, to support them through their challenges, and to love them unconditionally. My lesson: it's not my responsibility to change someone it's God's.
Lesson 3: How to Fight Fair through Prayer
As humans we have our instincts of either fight or flight. The flight instinct kicks in when we feel like there is a slim chance of winning and we would rather flee than suffer pain. The fight triggers when you feel you have a viable chance to defeat your opponent and your fear of pain subsides. We fight because we believe that if we don't fight we will certainly be defeated. Sometimes we choose the wrong weapon. You wouldn't take a knife to a gun fight, or a gun to a fist fight, or a fist to a debate so why do we take our feelings of hurt, anger and resentment to a fight of love.
Fighting fair through prayer was one of the most prominent themes in the film. There was no need to keep a list of wrongs so you could have a comeback in an argument. There was no need to be sarcastic, condescending, or negative to win. There was no way to win by perpetuating the negativity. My lesson: pray for where you want to be instead of where you are right now, and God will fight for you!
Lesson 4: The Power of Forgiveness and Grace
Admittedly, over my lifetime this has been one of the toughest things for me to do. I would partially forgive. I would forgive you for whatever you may have done however I would use that incident as precedent for how our relationship would be going forward. I had to learn that God doesn't use precedent when He forgives me so I don't have the right to use precedent in my forgiveness of others. If God gives me grace, why couldn't I grant that to others?
No one deserves forgiveness and grace but if you don't forgive it doesn't hurt the person it hurts you. When you hold on to the resentment and pain, it destroys you. It weakens you and steals your joy. My lesson: God grants forgiveness and grace to me therefore I must grant forgiveness and grace to others.
Lesson 5: How to Let Go and Let God
This lesson is the most important lesson that I have ever learned in my life, and it was reiterated over and over throughout the film. We hear the saying all the time "let go and let God" but do we really know what that means? Letting go is releasing control and allowing what is meant to happen to happen. We spend so much time trying to control every aspect of our lives that we drive ourselves crazy when things don't go exactly as planned. There are things that we can control but there are also things that no matter how hard we try we cannot make it work. At those moments, our challenge is bigger than us. We have to let it go and give it to God. When you are weary, weak and tired of fighting let it go and give it to God. Sometimes we spend so much time fighting for what we think we want or need but God has something greater in store for us. My lesson: God's got you!
I pray that everyone who reads this post takes the time to go see War Room. It is truly a powerful story and a reminder of the greatness of God!
Forever Fierce Fabulous & Flawless