“Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”
-Ephesians 6:13-18, MSG Translation
The Full Armor
I could sense it – you know the feeling. I’ve discerned enough to know that distress settles in far before anything goes wrong. The battle for a sound mind was rising up around around me and my mind was shutting down, causing my body to panic. I was stumbling and struggling as if I were underwater. I was indoors, safe, and dry.
I understood rip currents.
They’re caused when water piles up between the breaking waves and the shoreline. A narrow passageway is created, which pulls the water back out toward the middle of the body of water. At times, they can be spotted by water churning, or by a slight difference in color or foam, but experts say they’re often overlooked by the average person. That’s what causes danger.
The battles we don’t see are often the cause of our greatest distress. They’re unexpected, they catch us off guard, and we don’t have the means to fight back in that moment because we spent time without our lifejacket on, without our shield up.
Every battle begins with a single moment. Every battle has a build up. Something happens, ever so small, that triggers us to lose sight of peace. Anger, stress, fear, insecurity, judgment, confusion, *insert your negative emotion here*, can all begin the battle. Then comes our chosen method of problem solving. Some of us will dive headfirst into the current, and others of us will stand on the shoreline and slowly walk ourselves in or let the current pull. Either way, the current will pull us under and pull us out. Some of us will make a different choice entirely.
We’re wired to flirt with danger when we want control of a situation.
When we’re pulled in, we have two choices: the first, to let the water carry us as far out as it will go. Letting our fear carry us as far as it will go. Getting back to shore would a significant amount of time, albeit the fact that experts say recovery is nearly impossible. The second choice is to swim parallel to the shore and break free of the grasp of the water. Choose peace to be parallel with the shore and break free of the grasp of fear. Rip currents are far more long than they are wide.
When we’re pulled in, both require us to let go at a certain point; both require us to use strength to pull ourselves back to shore.
When we’re not pulled in, we have a choice. We don’t have to go near the water.
We can put on the full armor of God, keep our shield up, keep our lifejacket on. We can step back and watch as the water settles, as our heart settles, as our body resumes its peace. We can stop struggling, rest and watch the current subside. Watch the fear subside. Watch the anger subside.
And then, the battle subside.
The Full Armor, pt. 1.