Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

How Big Is Your Shield

on March 26, 2020

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” ~ Ephesians 6:13-17

A few weeks ago I walked through the rotunda at Elmira College where they hold various events. That morning the tables were all on their edge instead of their feet. In order to get to the stairs I take to go to my office, I had to weave in and out of the tables in my way. 

These were 8 feet round tables. I could easily hunker down behind one and be protected. Given the size and weight of the tables, hunkering down would be the obvious choice over trying to pick it up and carry it around with me as I deflected the “flaming darts of the evil one.” 

What do you mean by “flaming darts of the evil one?” I’m so glad you asked. Allow me to paint you a picture. 

I’ve been invited to a party. No, make that a gala. It will require me to get a dress. No, make that a gown. Like the one, Cinderella wore to the ball. Can you picture that? Only, it’s going to be you in that gown. You’re so excited you can hardly contain your giddiness. 

The night of the gala, you dress up in your beautiful gown and you practically float on air. You head to the gala with hopeful anticipation that everyone will notice you and ooooh, and ahhh as you enter the room. 

Then the unthinkable happens. You walk in, and there’s someone wearing the same exact ball gown. You’re horrified.  

Seconds ago, you were blissfully happy, anticipating the evening, and now you stand there aghast, not moving because your feet feel like 500-pound weights. 

Cue the head conversation!

Look at her.
She’s freakin’ gorgeous.
She looks so much better in that gown than I do.
I think she’s actually glowing?
Is she glowing?
She’s totally glowing.
Gahhh, I so hate her right now.  

What was I thinking?
Look at me.
I’m not beautiful.
I’m a total frump compared to her.
I’m not glowing.
I should’ve known better than to come to this gala.
Gahhh, I can’t even stand to look at myself right now. 

Fiery darts. They just got thrown at you, by you. And now they’re trying to penetrate your heart. They want to take root and steal the joy you had before you saw that other person in your gown. 

Moments ago, you were the one floating on air. You were the one who looked amazing. You were the one who was glowing. And then you gave it all away on a preconceived notion that someone looked better than you. Who told you that? You did. 

So what happened?

I daresay, you thought the gown was the thing that made you feel and look that way. I’ll go even further and say, the gown gave you a false sense of security. 

But, it was never about the gown. You may have bought the gown, but at that moment you didn’t own the gown. The gown owned you. You gave power to the gown that it was never meant to have. 

Y’all this happens every day. We give our insecurity over to the things of this world in hopes it will make us feel secure. It might not be a gown. It can be any number of things. Let’s take a peek at a few, shall we? 

Why is my hair curly and not straight?
Why do I have dark hair when clearly blondes have more fun?
Why did he pick her over me?
What has she got that I don’t?
Why am I short and she’s got legs for days?
Why can’t I spike a volleyball like her?
Why can’t I be picked for the cheerleading squad?
Why are her boobs bigger than mine?
Why is her nose so small and perfect?
Why are her parents so awesome and mine are so awful?
Why can’t I be that smart?
Why can’t I be someone other than myself?
Why can’t I dance like that?
Why can’t I sing like that?
Why can’t I paint like that? 

I could go on for days here. Why do we do this to ourselves? We literally make our own lives miserable by forgetting all that we have to offer, all that we can do. 

As I’m typing this, my head conversation says, “what are you doing?” “No one’s gonna care about what you have to say.” “Just shut up already.” 

Let me ask you this. Of all the times you’ve questioned “why are they more than this, than me” ever been answered? I’m sure it has. With an even more demeaning answer. Maybe it sounds something like,

Because I suck
Because God hates me
Because I’m ugly
Because I’m fat
Because I’m skinny
Because I’m gross
Because I’m stupid
Because I lack any kind of talent
Because I have nothing to offer

Any of these sound familiar? And let’s not stop there, let’s pick on each body part as if it were our personal enemy. Forgetting all our bodies have brought us through. 

All those demeaning answers are fiery darts of the enemy intended to steal, kill, and destroy you. 

Maybe at this point, you’re thinking, “oh, stop being so dramatic”! To that, I say, let me show you what the Bible has to say about our enemy. 

John 10:10 says: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” ~ NIV 

If we’re constantly focused on what we’re not, how will we ever rise to be who we are? 

When we allow our own defeating thoughts to take over, how easy do you think it is for the fiery darts from others to take root and then compound the self-defeating thoughts running rampant through our minds?

This is a battle, my friends! If we have to rely on how many compliments we get each day, or how many likes, or loves, or comments, we place our existence on somebody else’s whim. 

Is that really how you want to live this one life you’ve been given? By someone else’s definition of how you need to be? I pray not. It’s an exhausting way to live. It’s a lot of pressure to be someone else’s idea of who you ought to be.  

I remember years ago, on the man-made scale of 1-10, I was told I was a 7. You might think that number is pretty high on that scale. Not to me. All that told me at the time I was given that “award,” an award I wasn’t even seeking I might add, was very simply, I wasn’t enough. That I was still missing something. 

Years later, I still battle the number 7. I look in the mirror, I hear that inner enemy say…not half bad for a 7. How do you think that changes the perspective of how I walk out the door for the day? 

I constantly look around for what a 10 would look like (in my already skewed view) and when I see her, I compare her to me. And all the self-defeating thoughts come rolling in. Mind you, I have no idea what that gal had to go through to be a 10 that day. Good gravy! How’s a gal to succeed? 

I mean, how am I to live an abundant life through the eyes of lack? 

Good question! 

Romans 12:2 tells us to not be conformed to the patterns of this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. 

The pattern of this world in my instance was a man-made visual scale of appearance. It all started as far as I can remember from a movie simply titled, “10”

I never watched it. I had zero desire to do so. But, I knew about it and from that moment on, every man and woman was assigned a number by another flawed human being. 

This was/is not a good pattern. We have to first imagine that the number 10 is given to someone by who? Or is that whom? HA! Another 10? A less than 10? Perhaps a 3? 

Where does it stop? I mean a 10 to one person could very well be a 9, or an 8, or even a 7. You get the idea. It’s such a flawed scale. And yet, I found myself sucked into the pattern which told me I wasn’t enough all because one person told me that. One person. 

And I was defined by that number for years. Sad, don’t you think? Me too. 

What I didn’t know to do back then was to kick that thought and any negative subsequent thoughts to the curb. Instead, I allowed it to feed my already existing insecurities. 

I can’t go back and change any of that. That would be self-defeating and a whole other barrel of pickles that I won’t go into today. What I can do any time the enemy rears that number 7 award my way is to throw it right back in his face. 

Now, I’m not talking about the person who said that to me. I forgave them. The funny part about that. He had no memory of ever saying that to me. So, here I was, holding onto something for years, that was nothing more than a second in his world. Crazy, right?! 

The enemy I’m talking about is Satan. The thief I mentioned earlier from John 10:10. He doesn’t want you to have an abundant life. He’d like nothing more than to keep you in a pit of despair. That’s who you need to throw that negative stuff at. He’s great at dishing it out and watching you wallow in it. 

And most days, we’re more than happy to give our promised abundant life into his hands. The sad thing is, we may not even realize it until years have gone by. 

It’s time to say NO MORE! It’s time to put on the full armor of God, pick up my shield and deflect those fiery darts. And when I find myself losing ground because I’m weak from the battle, I will take refuge under the wings of my mighty Savior. 

I was not created to be a number. Nowhere in the Bible does God say I’m a 7, or any other number.  

I was created as a daughter of a King. And, not just any King. The King of Kings. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I’m the apple of God’s eye! I’m His treasured possession.   

Pssst. You’re all those things too my friend! Renew your mind sister, and when you leave home, don’t forget your shield! 

Have a phenomenal day. Be you! The world needs that. 


One response to “How Big Is Your Shield

  1. Patricia Pierce says:

    I couldn’t agree more with you, sista-friend! I, too, spent & continue to spend priceless hours recounting someone’s thoughtless assessment of me. I love the Bible verses, our shield, that you referenced. Only growing in Christ & wearing His armour do I accept myself. The days I do this are totally days of abundance. Keep writing & helping me/us stay prepared for the battle! Love ya

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