You wouldn’t know it to look at me, but I’m stubborn. (Waits for the laughter to die down.) No, really, I am. Some things shouldn’t go the insanity route–you know, doing the same things over and over again expecting different results–before I start to change. Yet, that is the groove of my life. Over and over and over I face the same things, handle them in the same way, and expect things to turn out differently.
Yesterday, I moved a shelf. The Balrog wanted me to do it. Baited me even, and I gave right in. And almost instantly regretted it. So today, it’s been 10 Advil by 10am, and I am losing the bridge.
I don’t know how to ease back in to things. I only know how to charge back in full force to my life because I feel so much guilt otherwise. Guilt that I have cheated my children and my husband. I want to go to the grocery store by myself and take the kids to the Science Center and sweep under the sofa. (Okay, okay, I don’t really want to sweep under the sofa, but the dust bunnies have started throwing wild parties under there and the neighbors are complaining.) I feel like I am failing in this and in so many other aspects of my life. Look at me! I’m modeling my Wallow-Wear.
The Bible talks about taking off the old man and putting on the new in Eph. 4:22-24. The old man loves his Wallow-Wear. It’s comfy, it’s crusty, it’s so foul yet it is conforms to the body in the same way that make nasty old jeans the most comfortable articles of clothing we wear. And seriously, how pleasant can anything be when we wallow in it? We go to it, put it on, and instantly we are on the ground wallowing in guilt and grunge and goodness only knows what else, bellies up ready to be kicked, because, hey, we are already down–may as well get kicked around too.
In contrast, the new man is clothed with righteousness and holiness. Clean, and probably fresh-smelling too. And that’s not all–the new man is ready for battle (Eph. 6:11). Think about that–it is a fight! It is easiest to slip into Wallow-Wear. It is so much harder to consciously put on armor. Armor chafes! Armor is cold! Armor is uncomfortable! Yet armor reminds us that we have a job to do–that we are an active participant in our own defense. Armor protects our soft spots–Wallow-Wear exposes them. Properly armed, we can fight off negative thoughts, fear of failure, or whatever own personal Balrogs happen to be.
Eph. 6: 13- 17 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.