Weekly, almost daily, I had a writing rhythm that I began in college. I spent hours in coffeeshops avoiding home work by writing and thinking. Some of it was ideas and stories that I had in my head, or just things that I was processing in my faith journey. It was a practice I copied from mentors and found that it sparked my soul.
But then when the struggles of life came rushing at me, when my life and identity began warping into something unrecognizable, I left this rhythm behind. I am beginning to guess that it begins with me running from pain that I didn’t want to process, and caring too much about what people think of my life than what God was teaching me through writing.
Too often I back away from things that God has called me to because I fear what people think of me. I have written about fear and approval before, but more often in the last 2-3 years, have I stopped writing, stopped thinking and sharing because I was afraid of being found out. I was afraid that who I was, who God created me to be would be rejected. I get mad at myself because I really should be past this, beyond this point with God. Trusting God is step 1 right? I should have stopped running.
We do that. We run from God, our creator and sustainer because we fear the world. We don’t trust in Him to be who he says he is.
My counselor called me on that once, that I don’t trust Him. Ugh, how could she?! Here I am, a bible believing Christian and I didn’t trust God. I mean, I sing about it on Sundays and tell my friends I would pray for them to trust God.
But at the end of the day, I am really good at carrying all my bags at once, I mean capable of handling my business. Walling up my heart to protect and defend. I don’t need to trust Him. At some point, after hurt and pain, I had decided that I don’t need him to defend me anymore, I have got it.
But because He is God and there is no where on earth I can run to. He has a grip on my heart and soul and won’t let go, he has placed this word in front of me.
There it is, in so many parts of the bible and the songs we sing at church.
- “He is a shield about me.”
- “The LORD is my strength and my shield.” Psalm 28
- “Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.” Psalm 33
It’s a happy and pretty thought, that we teach to kids in Sunday School, and maybe put on an art print to go on our wall.
But God as our shield, practically…..doesn’t make sense. It hasn’t been working right.
If he as our shield is supposed to protect us, to block attacks, allow us to be safe, why am I experiencing pain and suffering in bigger ways than ever before. It hasn’t gone away. This word. God works like that sometimes, continues to show us something He wants to reveal to us. He puts things in our path to draw us closer to him.
So here I am, sitting in a coffeeshop, writing about how God is our shield, when my heart is struggling to believe it. That’s where I am, a hesitant heart, in a raw and vunerable spot, wondering if I will ever trust God like I once did, or if he will renew it far more than I ask or imagine.
Tears threaten to expose me how hard this is to write about.
We are at war with ourselves really, wanting to be protected but wanting to protect ourselves. He is our shield. But we run out into battle without Him, our sinful hearts believe that we can do this without Him. We think we can be Captain America without the shield.
“But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” Psalm 3:3
My hesitant heart is welcomed by a gracious and loving savior who has nothing but compassion on my aching pain. I don’t deserve it. I ran from Him, and still feel like I have one foot out the door. I fight with myself about this, surrender and rest, lay down my pride and accept his help and protection in a world full of uncertainties and potential pain. Sounds risky, right.
However, the alternative has show to be so painful and lonely the cost will be worth the risk.
Friends, my encouragement to you is this, the same thing I am praying for myself, let Him lift your head, when the pain is strong, when the suffering is great, let Him to do the heavy lifting of your soul. Let Him in to do that for you.