I had one of those days where I could audibly hear and physically see (and spiritually feel the battle of) folks beating at the walls of my metaphorical safety and fortress. It was in the snide remarks, the selfishness, and the condescension. (EW!) Days like those make a person feel about as big as a gnat, but angrier than a hornet. I talked with Jesus, with my husband, and did my best (Oh Jesus, help me!) to temper the attitude that wanted to bite, smite, and dig a moat around my own personal existence. I know we all have those days. I feel like they are one of the most ridiculous things to occur, but alas—they happen to all of us. (Hopefully not that often!)
After spending that day and evening in a state of semi turmoil, my husband reminded me of the shield that I had failed to carry. Let me introduce you to a McArdle-ism, known ever so delicately as the poop shield. The world around you is filled with people flinging their drama, emotional garbage, sticky, icky, negative attitudes and their transference of someone else’s issues, directly at you. To be perfectly honest, it’s like monkey’s in a zoo. There’s a reason zookeepers put fences and Plexiglas up. There’s a reason people admire that particular joy of creation from a distance. The thing is, a girl’s got to protect herself (Men, as well!), hence the “poop shield.” Now, you may ask, “how do I obtain one of these shields?” I’d be happy to share with you! For me, it all started with a quote.
“God knows the rhythm of my spirit and knows my hearts thoughts. He is as close as breathing.”
The shield is made up of balanced, healthy living; which starts (drum roll please) in the spirit– the one that God placed inside of you to connect to him directly. Scripture confirms this! (dig in daily for a healthy dose of encouragement and protection!) If your spirit is weak, your relationship and one on one with Jesus time is weak, then your shield will be like one of those failing sci-fi inventions. Imagine Spock telling Captain Kirk that shields were at 10% and falling. DANGER, DANGER! Or, imagine Obi-Wan Kenobi telling Yoda “our shields have failed, the Jedi are outnumbered!” And racing to find a way to restore safety to the peoples they are attempting to protect. The man in the red shirt sacrifices himself and the threat requires a super hero to throw themselves into the mire, to dive onto the sword of decimation. Spoiler alert—the guy in the red shirt always dies. Don’t be the guy in the red shirt!
In this world, we were not meant to stand unprotected in the sludge of the quagmire, yet there I was sucking in air, attempting to keep everything in balance whilst doing my best to temper attitude and surroundings. The downside to this was that my shield was failing because I was failing to connect to the power source. While mini conversations with Jesus helped keep it from being totally destroyed (praise the Lord for that!) I was still on the edge of a complete shield collapse. Enter Jesus, via a reminder from the husband. Not only does Jesus know what it feels like, he can feel the rhythm of my heart beat. Every breath I take in is a breath he takes in. If he is as close as breathing, then from the very act of the body taking in life giving oxygen, I should also be taking in life giving Jesus. Jesus is the one who powers, protects, and provides.
I get worn out (don’t we all!). Red flags are up, moat is filled with flesh eating microorganisms, draw bridge has been, well, drawn, and the alarms are going off left and right. (Yes, Jesus even provides a warning system!) The dangers are rising, but I don’t think to continue feeding the shield because, hey, I already did (I know, I know). It’s not like a rechargeable battery. There is no reason to let it lose power or die. This is one of those continual connection deals, sort of like wi-fi. The signal never stops, but from origin to destination, it can get interrupted, which means imminent shield failure. One minute, you’re on top of the world and then BAM! You’re under fire with failing protection! Now whose fault is that? It would be ours. (Huge sigh, head hung low)
This morning, after begrudgingly leaving my dreamy state to trudge through the smoothie, shower, and get to work routine, (and getting the puppies back from the vet), I glanced down at my desk. The quote was staring at me from my little flip book of daily scriptures and inspiration, begging for my attention. How the Lord is ever so clever. Jesus wasn’t so far that the shield of protection I SO desperately needed couldn’t be regenerated. And Jesus isn’t so separated from me (though sometimes the distance we put between ourselves and Jesus can seem like light years!) that he doesn’t know, through and through, my heart, my spirit, and my needs at all times, or what is coming my way. I may get a few dings, stings, and scars here and there, but my lovelies, our beautiful warrior of a savior is as close as breathing. Isn’t that the most refreshing and relieving thought? (put a bandage or poultice on it and really absorb that confirmation). The one who sacrificed himself, threw himself into the predicament that we are saturated in, put on the red shirt and paved a way so that our heavenly father could save the day, is as close as breathing. I don’t know of anything closer to my molecules than the air that they require to live, except maybe the one breathing that life into them (and me), the one powering the shield that protects me. He is that close. Amen!
Food for thought: God knows you, inside and out. He knows the foes that strike against you, the pain their weapons cause, and what it will take to protect you. He knows the rhythm of your spirit—it’s ups and downs, the melody that it follows. He knows every thought that dares enter your heart. He is as close as (maybe even closer than) breathing. So the question I put forth to you today is this: are you breathing? Or are you hyperventilating, straining to get an even breath, fumbling and struggling to clear the path to the connection that will bring you peace? On your own, you will never clear the space completely…but one breath from God is all it takes.
Here is a short video clip to help you visualize Jesus clearing the way. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHOmYV6Th8I .
Scripture Reading: Psalm 28:7; Romans 8:26-37