Have you ever noticed how often we are drawn to defend ourselves?
When we get cut in line, when someone says or thinks something of us that we know is wrong, when our friend gets hurt, or heaven forbid our kids or husband. When our beliefs are questioned or maybe our motives, when someone we are close to us chooses to walk away.
If you are like me there are 1000 reasons that I find to defend or justify myself each day. I just recently bought some new glasses and I went a bit more adventurous and I even found myself closely watching people’s faces and explaining why these glasses. Defending my choice.
I read verses like “How I love you, Lord! You are my defender. The Lord is my protector; he is my strong fortress. My God is my protection, and with him I am safe. He protects me like a shield; he defends me and keeps me safe. I call to the Lord, and he saves me from my enemies” (Psalms 18:1-3, GNT) and I think of this great battle of ultimate life and death. Anytime I see the word, fortress, I always see a painting of this house on a cliff-side with the ocean waves beating against it.
Are you like me? Do you read these same words and get stuck on applying them to somewhere or something else and forget to apply it to say…. Monday?! Or applying it to that situation that has your stomach in knots? I am in fact amid a situation currently where the draw and the desire to defend myself is overwhelming. I want to explain, I want to shed light, I want to justify, I want to prove that I’m not necessarily the only right party but I’m also not the only wrong one.
Can I be honest? I haven’t exactly gotten this right more than when I have gotten this wrong BUT what I can tell you is that when we chose to sit down and stay silent, laying down our desires and letting God be the one to defend us there is freedom. Ok maybe not immediately because we are so used to attempting to handle this stuff ourselves but later when we realize the magnitude of what we have done and how we have relied on Him to be the one to carry us in that way……freedom.
Think about the emotional cycle that we go through when our hearts are in defensive mode! We are angry. Then we stifle it. Then we explode to either that person or our poor uninvolved loved one! There is seemingly no end to the anger and bitterness and the frustration that builds. Its all we can focus on. And there, my friend, lies the problem.
Our focus. Our focus should be fixed on the face of Jesus. On His heart. Not on ourselves and the situation that has no earthly fix because “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12, NLT)
I think about how different my prayers sound when my hands are open and not clutching to my perception of justification. It is so true that the “mouth speaks what the heart is full of” because my open-handed prayers are about letting God fill me. They are about receiving from Him not what I am receiving from this world. My focus is Him!
Sweet friend this is take practice and lots and lots of grace if you are anything like me. The habit and flat out desire to be the one to defend myself is deeply rooted! Here is one of the beautiful things God will “give you the desires of your heart”! (Psalm 37:4, NIV) When our desires are lacking He will give us new ones. All we have to do is ask! As He begins to change us grace will cover us.
Lord Jesus, Im asking you to come into my heart and the sweet heart of each person reading these words. God we want YOU to be our defender. We want a new desire and a new want to to be placed in us to let go and let YOU be God! You know our hearts. You know what each of us is going through and what that situation is. So God we are asking that you take it over, pluck it right out of our hands Lord. Fill us with your love and grace as we strive to empty out ourselves and pour in more and more of you Father! Amen!