Don’t Just Pick the Right Battles — Focus on the Real Enemy!

Soooo … remember yesterday when I shared what I had learned about not exasperating our kids and all that? Yeah, well, apparently, I didn’t really learn it because this morning was sheer disaster. It was ugly here, y’all. Really ugly. In fact, after my girl left for school {an early meeting of the Christian students club ironically}, I went back to bed. Because sometimes you do the first hour of the day so badly all you want is to go back to sleep and try to start it over. {And I’m pretty sure this confession eliminates any possibility of a speaking engagement on the topic of parenting in my future.}

But here’s the thing, I really messed it up. She was tired. I was tired. Hair needed to be straightened. And while my girl is a pro at curling her hair, she and the flat iron have not yet worked out an amicable relationship. She needed me to help her. And, while I did straighten her hair, I don’t think I helped in any of  the ways that really matter. In fact, I’m sure I didn’t.


focus on the real enemy

After I got up {the second time} I sat down with my coffee and Bible and journal and spent time reading {again} Ephesians 6. I read over those first four verses and confessed the numerous ways I had exasperated my girl this morning. I read over the notes I’d written yesterday as I’d read the whole passage. One of the things I’d written jumped off the page:

Parenting with purpose is about more than picking the right battles. As much as our culture {even church culture} tries to boil it down to that simple idea — it just isn’t enough. I have to remember who the enemy is and who it isn’t. Casiday is NOT the enemy. This isn’t a battle between me and her. I have to focus on the true enemy, the one who sneaks around looking for someone to devour.  How often do I forget this??????

Can any of the mommas relate? We get so focused on training our children and our attempts to guide them to godliness that it becomes very easy to make it about us. And we go to battle for the truth — but, far too often, we {I!} do battle with my child and not with the real enemy.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the ruler, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Ephesians 6:11

I’m not saying we shouldn’t pick our battles. I totally embrace the wisdom inherent in it. But I’m slowly beginning to grasp there is something far more important — we do have to fight the right battles, but we also have to be fighting against the real enemy.

If I could rewind this morning, I would do so many things differently. But I’m pretty sure the one choice I could have made that would have turned the whole situation to a different direction would have been to get up earlier and spend some time in prayer first. To have been wise enough to realize my girl was going to be tired and I was going to be tired and that is always a recipe for disaster without some prayer.

And so I fought with my girl … I didn’t pick my battles well. Because really, was the fact she got up a few minutes later than I thought she should have worth starting an already stressful day out with more frustration? Absolutely not. I was wrong and when I see her this afternoon at the pep rally, I’ll be saying just that.

But I’ll also be talking with her later tonight and sharing Ephesians 6:11.  I want her to understand how important it is to remember who the enemy is. Because it isn’t just moms and daughters who battle — it’s also friends and family. Relationships are fraught with opportunities to choose who the enemy is. And I want to do all I can to help my girl understand how to fight the real enemy when situations arise.

So this morning was awful. And I messed up. And I should know better. But there is also this truth from the writings of Paul in another letter he penned,

And I am sure of this, that He who began an good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

Oh what grace there! He is working in me. And it is a good work. And He will bring it to completion. And the same is true for you. Even when the day starts awful and you choose the wrong fights and forget who the enemy really is. He is at work in us. And it is a GOOD WORK!



When have you got tangled up in a battle and forgotten who the real enemy is?

Read the Psalms this summer with Scripture Dig!


  1. Wow – amazing truth, TeriLynne! I am constantly analyzing which battles to fight, but rarely do I stop and consider which enemy I am fighting. I will definitely be sharing this post – thank you!

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