A heated exchange between two people and suddenly the entire atmosphere changes from casual, calm opportunities for connection to postures of defense ready to shield from further attack, or postures of offense making sure we attack strongest.
We’re seeing a lot of this on Facebook and other social media feeds these days. I presume it’s also all over the TV outlets too, though I don’t have reception. I’ve seen it in my own life, especially as signs of PTSD and anxiety began to grow, and I’m guessing you’ve seen it in your life too.
A threatening word or body posture can be all it takes. The brain fires off signals affecting how our bodies respond and how our minds are limited in responding well. Three years ago, when I heard a loud voice or something drop and clang, my whole body went tense. Nerve endings seemed ready to pop anywhere and everywhere.
Many of us have strong reactions caused by different triggers and for different reasons. It doesn’t have to be a physically evident moment to spark this kind of reaction, nor does it have to be intensely felt. Whether subtle or obvious, our tendency to attack or resist attack can be a sign of something within us in need of the Father’s touch.
If we want to stop living stuck and start living well, I pray we pay attention.
There are times when God speaks to us through his word, through an event, through another person, or through what we sense internally and we have a similar reaction. Even though it may be to a lesser degree. Our bodies may tense up. Our mind is ready to explode and our hearts race.
It may not be the person or event we’re reacting to at all. God is often the one our souls fight against when we need him most. Resist the enemy who hates you, not the Maker who loves you.
When God speaks, our hearts are quickened to respond. Will we deny it? Will we accept it? Will we get angry at God and staunchly defy him, allowing our hearts to become hardened? Or, will we let anger work it’s way through while honestly struggling then choose to put our hope in him anyway?
Earlier this week, when I felt God tell me to step back from sharing this series on my Facebook profile, I struggled. While I didn’t freak out, I did wrestle through a quickened heartbeat and a sense of fear as I prayed. I had a choice: continue resistance and try standing on my own way of things, or allow the resistance to settle down and trust God’s way.
In this case, I chose God’s way and felt peace settle in.
What God uses or allows in our lives to bring about a life well-lived can be painful and hard. Our natural inclination is to resist the change. We resist what is being cleared away, making room for new growth.
God turns our brokenness into something beautiful.
If you’re anything like me, you tend to firm your resolve as if it’s needed to prove something. We might think we already had it all figured out. It’s our plan or no plan, because we assume we have it right.
How dare someone say we are wrong? Yet, when God’s Spirit is convicting our hearts, if we do not choose to let resistance fade, we will remain in the wrong and our hearts will not experience the peace, joy, and freedom desired.
We’re not just resisting God, we’re resisting the very thing our hearts crave and what they need most.
What might it look like to choose spiritual pliability over resistance?
Saying, “Lord, your will be done.” Even when the pain is unbearable, but the process is under God’s sovereignty. Jesus chose pliability of spirit when he prayed through intense pain knowing he was about to suffer in even more excruciating ways. His suffering was a kind which most of us will never come close to knowing.
saying, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done." ~ Luke 22:42
He taught us to say the same when he modeled prayer upon his disciples request.
your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. ~ Matthew 6:10
Our resistance is an outworking of fleshly desires over the desires of God. It keeps us from living well, because it keeps us from living God's best.
Choosing spiritual pliability over resistance means allowing the master to create beauty from our brokenness. By choosing pliability, resistance is reduced and hearts are supple to the ever growing shape of God’s design. Purposes come to light and uncertainty no longer threatens our livelihood. We become more of we were meant to be.
But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. ~ Isaiah 64:8
CULTIVATE: Ask God to show you any hidden areas where you may be resisting his good work in you to accomplish His beauty.