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Thursday, August 11, 2016

A hard nut to crack...

Take no notice of his looks or his height. He is not the one, for the Eternal One does not pay attention to what humans value. Humans only care about the external appearance, but the Eternal considers the inner character. (I Samuel 16:7 VOICE)

Quite a few years ago I wrote about one of my favorite songs, "The Warrior is a Child", by Twila Paris.  The song was written not so much because Paris had life all figured out, but because she struggled to figure out life!  Doesn't that sound a great deal like what most of us face each and everyday in our daily walk?  We don't so much struggle with the good stuff, at least not on the surface, but it may very well be the "good stuff" which becomes the tripping point in our lives.  The things which seem to make us "look" like we have life by the tail may not always be the reality of what is going on inside our minds, hearts, and spirits. Sometimes fame, fortune, and good things become the battleground for our pride, skirmishes for control and trust being an everyday occurrence for us.

Paris rose to a place of fame rather quickly as a young adult in the music industry - giving ample opportunity for fame and fortune to go to her head, begin affecting her heart, and creating chaos galore on the inside even though the outside looked pretty "put together".  As she will so willingly admit, she wrote the song lyrics not really knowing fully their meaning, but somehow knowing they were significant.  The part which has always stuck with me through the nearly 20+ years since first hearing this song is the chorus:

    They don't know that I go running home when I fall down
    They don't know who picks me up when no one is around
    I drop my sword and cry for just a while
    'Cause deep inside this armor the warrior is a child

Deep inside this armor the warrior is a child...these words speak so much truth, for none of us is really able to view the truth about a person's character just from what we see on the surface.  It takes a removing of the layers, a laying bare of the soul, and a vulnerability of heart to really get to know one another.  The song begins with the words, "Lately, I've been winning battles left and right; But even winners can get wounded in the fight.  People say that I'm amazing strong beyond my years; But they don't see inside of me, I'm hiding all the tears."  To see the tears, one must see the heart.

Most people don't look at me and say, "She's kind of mushy on the inside", or even that I wear my emotions on my shirt sleeves.  In fact, most tell me I seem like I usually have it "all together" and that I can even be a little bit of a "hard nut to crack".  Truth is, I fall down just like the rest of you.  I find myself "running home" when I fall down.  As a small child, whenever thunderstorms came in with all the bluster and frenzied winds the summer storms can bring, I'd freak out.  Those loud claps of thunder just scared me to pieces.  Nothing came as more reassuring than seeing my mother's arms extend over the back fence into the neighbor's yard where I was playing, aptly reaching mine and then pulling me straight up into her waiting arms, only to whisk me away into the safety of our home.  What I needed was reassurance all was going to be well - what mom knew I needed was an embrace and the shelter of home.  In Paris' words:

    Unafraid because His armor is the best
    But even soldiers need a quiet place to rest
    People say that I'm amazing never face retreat
    But they don't see the enemies that lay me at His feet

God isn't much different from mom - he knows we need the reassurance of his embrace and the protection we find deep inside the shelter of his presence.  I don't know what enemies lay you at his feet, but I know the ones who lay me there.  When life's battles seem to come close to getting the "best of us", let's not forget that we ALL want to run for shelter when the battle gets a little too tough to fight on our own.  Those with the greatest "internal strength" are those who run frequently right smack-dab into the arms of Jesus!  Just sayin!