Have you ever had a day when you felt off and you didn’t know why? I’ve been having these a lot recently, so after a few weeks of trying to figure it out on my own, I finally asked God. He’d been waiting patiently, of course, as He does for me from time to time. (to time to time… I’m not a very good “ask for help”-er.) He said, “Invaded.”
And I said, “Huh?” (Profound, I know. He gets me.)
He said, “You feel invaded.”
“By what exactly?”
“Everyone, including me.”
I never want God to feel like He’s invading me.
I want Him to have free reign to guide me and teach me, and yet here I was feeling interrupted and encroached upon by my very best friend, teacher, Father, and Creator. But I was also feeling the same with everyone else. Further reflection revealed two things:
- God was interrupting on purpose
- I had become a turtle.
Turtles are solitary creatures until it’s time for the baby making, and then they socialize and figure it out, but generally they prefer to be alone. When they feel violated, threatened, or afraid, they pull all of their vulnerable pieces into their shell and wait for danger to pass.
I was a turtle.
The past six months have been trying, to say the least. You don’t need details to understand, but, in short, my heart had been broken repeatedly. Forgiveness was offered, but the memories and the fresh sting were still very real and present. Trust was broken, relationships were severed, and my stress was skyrocketing. I knew all of these things were weighing on me, but I still felt like there was something else that was off. There was something happening internally that I couldn’t keep ignoring--the invasion.
I began to pull all of my vulnerable pieces inside my shell.
Once I was safely tucked away, the only thing I could do was digest. And even though I felt protected from people, I had also shielded myself from Jesus. I wasn’t letting anyone in. I became over-analytical (another favorite pastime of mine), unhealthy, and discouraged.
In order for a turtle to move, it has to be vulnerable, extend its soft pieces into the soil, stick its head and neck out, and push forward. It’s the same for us. We can’t grow inside our shell. We can’t move forward or backward or around in a circle until we get out of our comfort zone and allow something to happen. It might be bad, and that’s the risk, but it might be extraordinary, and that’s the gift.
“You feel invaded,” He said.
But He didn’t say it in a caring, empathic tone. He was not invited to my pity party, nor was He interested in attending. He was, however, interested in His daughter and why she was allowing herself to rot in a shell when He had given her so many gifts that were now going to waste.
“Are you done yet? Let me in,” is really what He meant. I extended a shaking paw and allowed my Father in, and He began to arm me.
The enemy loves to make us believe that he is in control. He makes us question each other, doubt each other, and hurt each other. He helps us make bad choices and revels when we really muck it up. He loves to see us in pain and in bondage and wrapped up “safely” in our turtle shells. He cultivates fear and then waters it and makes it hover over and suppress us.
But God arms us. His protection is physical, mental, emotional, environmental, and spiritual.
I have love to offer, joy to spread, and inspiration to share, but I can’t do it from inside my dark shell. He reminded me of that.
The invasion of others is inevitable.
Someone will hurt you. Someone will lie to you. Someone will betray you. People don’t always respect healthy boundaries. But God will protect you. God will heal you. God will remind you of truth. Because someone else will love you. Someone will be honest with you. Someone will honor you. They will respect your healthy boundaries, and in doing so, will allow you to feel safe in coming out of your shell.
Are you feeling invaded? Pray this with me today:
“Father God, I desire to have healthy relationships with myself, with people, and with you. I know that my shell is false safety and I want to fearlessly use my gifts for you. I receive your protection today. Your peace is my serenity, and I will allow it to guide my relationships, my decisions, and my thoughts. Invade me with Your presence, God. You are all I need. Thank you for teaching me, Lord, and for transforming my fear into faith. I love you, Jesus. - Amen.”