Get In Your Own Clothes! (Part 3)

12:32 PMHeather

David.  He's becoming more real to me.  Morphing from a Bible superhero who I've tended to see as more fiction than fact and larger than life.  These last few weeks, through Jennie Allen's study Chase, David is becoming more real and more human--and infinitely more amazing.  Not because he slayed a giant.  But because he thought he could.  Not because he was great and powerful.  But because he knew God was.  Not because he always did the right thing.  Quite the contrary.  But, he always fell in the ocean of God's grace and mercy that he knew to be real.  In his family, David was overlooked, belittled and counted out.  Left out, in fact--out in the fields, doing the very mundane and unglamorous and unappreciated work of tending to sheep.  He was an average joe by those accounts.  Yet, thousands of years later, you don't have to read much of the Bible to know that he was memorable. And I've always thought it was because of what David did that was memorable.  But I'm learning it was really because of what David knew God could do.
David had gumption.  Gumption that surely came from his ability to see and know his Living God to be bigger than anything that came against him.  We talked about this in Tuesday's post. I don't know about you, but my giant tends to be my circumstances rather than my God.  I've realized how much I tend to shrink God, dwarfing Him in the shadows of what I'm facing, rather than vice versa.  

Oh, we have much, much more to learn through David.  So, let's keep going, shall we?

1.  Read the last part of 1 Samuel 17:37.  In the last blog post, we talked about how David had a God memory, gaining confidence as he recalled all the ways the Lord had been faithful. He offers Saul his brave assurance that he can handle Goliath.  That is where we left off...

...Saul's response?  "Go, and the Lord be with you."   Hmm.  Can we do a little exercise my son learned in acting, and say that line from different emotions, with different inflections, to give it different meanings.  Go for it.  First say this as a sincere vote of confidence.  Said with certainty, conviction, hope and faith.  GO!  DO IT!  And the Lord be with you!  (In a very affirming way, like a battle cry.) 

Perhaps.  But, truly, it's like reading a text message.  We aren't really sure how his voice sounded--which makes a huge difference in the meaning of this phrase.  

Personally, I think Saul was saying something more like this: "Uh yeah.  Good luck with that!"  Something like, "Oh, sure.  Go.  And the Lord be with you," said with complete lack of sincerity or belief. I think Saul was not convinced.  Maybe, just maybe, little David here was lucky enough to defeat a lion in the field.  But, defeating a 9' giant from an intimidating foreign enemy in order to gain freedom for your entire nation? Yeah.  Right.  I think this phrase was said more like a final blessing the priest might say over a dying person.  

Have you ever faced THOSE odds?  I'm just curious.  Ever start to muster up some bravado and think maybe, just maybe, you can tackle something...when someone says something to take all the wind out of your sail?  Or some nagging doubt begins to take root in your mind.  Think about it.  Journal it, even.  Remember how you felt.  What was said.  How did you respond?  What did you do next? What does it sound like in the battlefield of your mind, as you go forth to fight what is facing you?

2.  Read 1 Samuel 17:38. David either missed any hint of nasty inflection here (if it was indeed even there) or he just plain didn't care. Because he proceeds to ready himself for battle. Saul--again, either enthusiastically or reluctantly--is part of this.  He gives David his own tunic, coat of armor, and bronze helmet.  

Yes, folks, I'm a glass-half-full girl.  Because in my imagination, Saul is thinking he might delay David's demise even a tiny bit if David will just wear the finest armor and helmet.  Maybe David's death wish can be fulfilled with a bit less injury?  Maybe David can die at the hands of this undefeatable foe, at least dressing the part for battle.  I see Saul in a last ditch effort her to up David's slim odds. 

Here's the self reflection.  Do you prepare yourself for battle in someone else's armor?  Do you wear clothes meant for someone else--fashioning yourself after someone else's definition for you?  Do you tend to wear what the world wants to dress you in?  

It's so easy to do.  To just try on a label or activity or other such "clothes" that were really designed for someone else.  It may start in junior high, but I'm here to tell ya.  It hasn't stopped by the time you're in your 40's.  At least by my experience.  I live near a very affluent suburb.  It's oh-so-easy to STILL be caught in the trends and designers and "in" look.  To try to keep up with the Joneses.  Consciously or not.  To put on the label of what a SAHM should look like or do.  To try to keep up with the trends on Pinterest.  Throw the best kid's party EVER.  Keep a beautifully designed house.  Raise kids who are Facebook status worthy.  Or even be the best little Christian family in the church. Whether we realize it or not, we women are particularly prone to this comparison game.  What it really boils down to is wearing someone else's armor.  
And how does that work out?

3.  Read 1 Samuel 17:39.  Poor David.  I picture him playing dress-up, like when my daughter was little and she'd try to walk around in my shoes.  Tripping and clumsy, it never worked out.  Just like when we try to dress in anyone else's wardrobe besides the one God designed for us.  We trip and fall and stumble.  

 

Overcrowded schedule unwinding you?  Because the world tells us our importance can be gauged in how busy we are.  Trying to keep up a neat and tidy house and serve well balanced meals while toddlers hang on your legs?  Because everyone else seems able to juggle all that.  Thinking you really can do it all, with work and volunteering and kids' activities and mothering?  Because that magazine article highlighted some celebrity that seems so calm and balanced in the photo while she juggles a career and family.  Wanting to keep up a fit and firm body because Pinterest is CHOCK FULL of before and after pictures of busy moms who went from overweight to a six pack on Dr. Oz's secret diet?

Yes, in this information age we are surrounded by Sauls who want to thrown their suit of armor on our frame, no matter how ill fitting it might be. Who fail to see us for who we are--our abilities, our stature, our giftedness.  Listen, bloggy friends.  One size does NOT fit all.  

HERE is God's answer.  HERE is God's fashion tip, designed precisely for each one of us. 

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10 

May we be like David.  Seeing the absurdity of wearing a label or assignment or expectation that was never designed for us. And unapologeticly saying,"I cannot go in these...because I am not used to them.” And taking them off.  Instead of feeling like WE don't fit, may we have the wisdom to see when the clothes don't fit.  And so take off the world's expectations and the quiet whispers of trying to be someone we aren't.
 
4.  Read 1 Samuel 17:40. For such a young and little guy, David had some big discernment.  Boldness.  Courage.  Comfort in his own skin.  He threw off the armor of the king of his nation.  He let him know in no uncertain terms--thanks but no thanks!  That's not going to work for me.  I don't know about you, but I am a people pleasing person who LOVES this response from David.  I admire how David put down the suit of armor, the bronze helmet...and grabbed what felt natural for him.  His slingshot and some stones that he put in his shepherd's bag.  He did not apologize for being a shepherd.  He didn't hesitate to just own exactly who he was.  He had full confidence that in God's powerful and perfect plans.  And what David could bring to the table was more than sufficient. Because of God's sufficiency.

What about you?  Do you prepare to fight the battles of each day with the weapons God naturally gives you?  Your right fit, your natural giftedness, according to how God created you?  

I struggle here.  I am still too caught up in apologizing for who I'm not or what I can't do to just confidently grab my slingshot and stones and say, "Hey world!  Here is what God gave me.  And it's enough.  Because of HIM."  Nope. I feel the need to apolgoize for my stinky sweaty self at the grocery store because I didn't get a shower.  Dog hair piled under my entry table?  OOPS.  I better sweep that up before someone sees.  Having a bad day and need down time to regroup?  I shouldn't have to do that.  Task list undone?  I totally missed it.  Lost my temper with my kids?  Ugh.  They will end up in therapy or prison for sure.  "Voluntold" to do something that I know isn't my thing to do?  Rather than redirect that to something I can do well, I feel the need to avoid disappointing someone.  Too busy to read my Bible and pray?  Too bad.  Gotta get my stuff done.

And on and on.  Really think about this.  How often, in one day, do you feel the need to apologize for something you didn't do?  How much grace do you show yourself?  

Let me wrap up today's post with some thoughts, straight from my prayer journal.  I hope it challenges you and encourages you and rolls around in your head like it has with me.

--We cannot win in someone else's suggested armor.  With someone else's weapon.  God has unique designs and purposes for every single one of us.

--We have to equip ourselves according to God's specific design for each of us.  No apologies.  No comparisons.  No looking back.  Not everyone is called to serve in Africa.  Many of us are called to serve within our own little families, on our own little mission field. Going all day without a shower.  Leaving a messy house in order to spend time with our kids.  Slugging it out in the mundane for the glory of God. 

--Whatever is making you feel you don't fit or you aren't good enough, stop it.  Shut it down.  Just be like David.  Say this doesn't fit me.  I'm not used to it.  This isn't me.  Get rid of that mocking voice that tells you that you aren't good enough.  If that means getting off Pinterest, do it.  Or limiting your time with defeating friends.  Or not reading certain magazines or watching certain shows.  Pay attention.  Ask God what He thinks.  And mindfully fill your cup with Living Water.

--Remember that ill fitting solutions don't bring victory.  I don't care what self-help book you read.  If you know it's not the right fit for you OR you know it's contrary to God's word, then shut it down.

--Are you confident enough in your big God--in his track record and His unique calling and equipping of you--to fight exactly and only as HE directs you?  If anything is quieting his voice in your life, walk away from it.

Oh, friends.  Listen, I love that before David stood toe to toe with that giant Goliath, he stood toe to toe with king Saul.  He had the guts to remember how God had brought victory before.  He knew who he was in the Lord.  He knew what worked for him and what didn't.  And when the world tried to tell him, "Oh, try this!  THIS is the thing.  This is going to so work for you!"  He said no.  Plain and simple.  Thanks but not thanks.  I know that isn't my thing.  I know that isn't what God has called me to.  I know that isn't what God intended for me.

And so he walked away.  Grabbed his slingshot and five smooth stones.  Tucked them in his familiar shepherd's bag.  And walked confidently into battle knowing that what God had called him to do, God would equip him to do.  According to God's unique plan for him.  Not anyone else's.  

That we, sweet bloggy friends, would wake up each day and know that what God has for each of us is unique and beautiful and perfect. And nothing else will do.  Because if the shoe fits, wear it!  Let's quit trying the one-size-fits-all mentality.  Let's get in our own clothes. Victory lies straight ahead!

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