Walking along in an open-market is one of the keen ways you can find deals, rummage through the variety of wares the peddlers have brought, and generally ‘get out’ and mingle with people. One of the core things I dislike about them is the pushy, chanting ‘pressure’ from some of the peddlers themselves… taunting you to buy something you don’t really need, nor want. They see you coming down the way, and you see them, too… avoiding eye contact is one of the ways to bypass the harassment, but many times they are relentless. Eventually, that ‘leisurely stroll through the farmer’s market, or the swap meet’ becomes a defensive gauntlet of bantering, deflecting, and hiding/avoiding…. I hate it, and WISH I could just stroll through there being friendly, chatting with people, and just casually deciding to buy something. When my defenses are up, when I am avoiding, when I am ‘ready to deflect’ anyone who dare to approach me, the whole experience is tainted, is frustrating, and especially counter-productive to why I even when there in the first place!
Conversely, I do the same thing with God, with spiritual elements in my life, with ‘facing change’ or anything to do with altering my “already well established” profile and persona in life. No, He doesn’t necessarily ‘pressure’ me, or chase me along, or even banter me with religious chatter… there’s just this nagging notion deep in my heart/soul that there is something I need to hear, something I need to answer, something to which I need to give attention. Too often, we subconsciously deflect these notions, these nudges in our souls, and actually put up barriers, borders, boundaries… and apply a defensiveness about our lives… again, subconsciously, so not quite so obvious to others, let alone us directly! We shield these ‘dark places’ from exposure, from ‘light being shed on them’, and from then having to face the challenge of making a change in our lives. 1 John 1:5-7 reads; “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.“, which is to say… letting down our guard is actually a perfect way to either refine the exposed trait of our life (maybe we have a hidden talent), or discarding it altogether. That last verse clarifies it too, by reminding us that He is not wanting to expose something in your life to taunt you, to incriminate you, to judge you… but, to cleanse you ‘from all sin’… make your life lighter and healthier.
Exodus 33:14 even reminds us that God was working to encourage the people as they were about to embark on their ‘who knows where we are going’ journey, “And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.”, which is to say that He does NOT expect you to make any journey alone. He is calling you to walk WITH Him, not alone. Even better, He reminds us that “He will give us rest“… rest from having our defenses up, from being protective, from having our guard ‘always on’, as it were.
Not an easy thing to do… the barrage of ‘sales pitches’, and ‘well meaning people with ulterior motives’ has tainted us SO much, we don’t ever really realize how defensive we are, actually… how natural and normal it seems to ever-so-easily dismiss the thoughts., the insight, the encouragement from others. One of the key ways you can un-teach yourself this core ‘barrier’ you have is to give thought, give time, give consideration for the ‘what if’ part of God… give yourself time to at least weigh the thoughts, ideas, and premise that God is calling out to you (see the When God Can’t Find You devotional)… asking you to fellowship with him. Philippians 4:8 declares; “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Go ahead, Drop Your Guard, and learn to Discard some junk in your life!