I can have a tender spirit and a gentle heart. I have a deep desire to help others and can find myself being “overly” nice. This is beautiful because it reflects the heart of God but it also leaves me vulnerable to others. I have a tendency to internalize negative interactions with others. I am sensitive to others pain and emotions thus I am easily hurt by others.
I have often discussed with God, how do I protect myself but remain true to who I am and remain vulnerable? The conclusions I have come to is filtering. The concept came from Ephesians 6 where it talks about the armor of God. In today society I do not go to work wearing physical amore and a sword. I do not really understand what a breast plate is. Further, in today’s society I do not battle with swords and hopefully not guns either. I battle with words and passive aggressive actions. The bullet often comes from a supervisor, professor or friend who says the wrong thing and the wrong time.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:10-17
So instead of armor I wear sunscreen. And instead of a shield I carry a filter. Instead of wearing a helmet I wear glasses. And instead of swinging a sword around, I have my recording device, ie my brain. What do I mean by all this?
Well when my supervisor comes in and yells at me for no reason it hits my filter so that I can learn something, be teachable from what was said but the negativity then hits my body and instead of penetrating me the sunscreen makes the bad stuff slide of. When I go about my work and I see something happening that makes me have an emotional reaction I turn on my recorder. Then later in a safe quiet place I play the recording and watch it with God and try to see it through the glasses made from my knowledge of God so that I can see what God sees and ask for his wisdom on how best to respond. Furthermore I have a counselor and friends who can also help me process events. Today I have means of fighting back through prayer but also appropriate authorities/reporting/etc to have wrongs mended and mistakes made right.
It sounds like a lot of work and it is at first but once you get the hang of it it’s just like walking, talking or breathing. We battle everyday, it does not look the same as they did 2000 years ago but it’s still a war. Our fighting style must change as our world changes.
To those that feel like they are in a war in our modern world, may God show you how best to battle in a way that is glorifying to God. To those that are not aware of the battle, may God protect you. And to all, always remember that the end battle is already won, may this bring us hope and peace each day.