This morning as I was running on the treadmill, I was struggling to push past the pain that lingers in my right leg. Well, it’s not really a pain more so a weak muscle discomfort. (My stride has changed a bit since the car accident and I’m still working some things out). As I was running, I was having a conversation with myself in my head as most people do when they’re exercising. Exclaiming: “I can do it, this is war.” Kept repeating. I’d ask myself who I was doing this for, found a focal point and stuck with it. The discomfort elevated, and I decided this was a good time to mentally have myself gear up for war. No, I don’t believe that the discomfort in my leg is spiritual warfare, but I do believe that the agreement I made mentally that “running is hard, and I will never do it again” is. I prayed on my armor, ready to fight and keep claim to what is mine – a healthy body, worthy of being stewarded well. As I continued running, I realized – why am I armoring up like a knight instead of something like Katniss in The Hunger Games? Is my armor out of date?
For so long I allowed myself to be swayed by all those cute cartoons and ancient period pieces about what soldiers look like. Metal breastplates, solid helmets, clanky and obtuse. Nothing about God and his character is clanky or obtuse, so would my armor look as such? The enemy is quick to attack, so if I’m gearing myself up with antiquated armor – am I really armoring up? See, the more we dig into the word of God, the more relevant it becomes in our lives. The more we know Him, the deeper we know Him. Our armor should not just be getting repaired, but upgraded because we have more tools and strategies in our arsenal than when we first started our faith journey. But are we living like it? Am I living like the breastplate of righteousness is one that I can be quick to move in with ease? Or restrictive and cumbersome? I’d been agreeing that it was restrictive and cumbersome! Gah! The frustration. Perspective, a renewed mind, it really does do wonders. All of these old ways of thinking were still keeping me boxed in from the fullness of joy and strength He has for me. I don’t want armor out of date, I want the new. I want shoes of peace that are grounding, lightweight, and allow me to keep running the race. I want a helmet of salvation that allows for a broader vision. I want a belt of truth that keeps my core engaged in the promise of victory. I want a shield of faith that is so lightweight it feels like part of me. I want a sword of the spirit that slays. I want updated armor. Armor that allows me to live fully in His purpose instead of boxing myself into requirements and regulations.
More so, as I pondered my outdated armor and how I’d allowed myself to mentally get there, I began to recognize another truth in this vein: I don’t want to see the gifts He’s given me as cumbersome or bulky, but agile and attractive. His protection over me shouldn’t make me want to retreat, or retire, or take part of it off because its restrictive – it should be a part of me, fully integrated, so that I can maintain in the race, maintain the posture of submission, and celebrate the victory. Whew! What a mindshift. This armor, it looks good, it feels good, and what’s even better I can see more clearly who He is and how much He cares for each of us.