I Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Somewhere early in life I developed this protector of my heart. He shows up in many ways. The main way is through dismissiveness. When I was young, I was teased and set aside. To combat the hurt of losing connection with others my age, I would take a “rain on you” attitude and toss them on a pile and move on. If I were to name this protector, I would have to call him, “Toss ‘em aside guy”. When we are young, we are vulnerable and put feelings out for the world to see. In most cases, someone in our life trains us that certain feelings are not acceptable. This usually occurs due to pain we experience from peers and/or authority figures in the form of teasing or shaming. I like how Richard Rohr describes it from his daily meditation titled Listening for the true voice.
During childhood we developed an internal Loyal Soldier (largely from our parents’ early warnings) whose mission was to keep us safe. Our Loyal Soldier created and deployed whatever strategies were necessary to assure our social, psychological, and physical survival.
The voices of the Loyal Soldier are pre-rational, immediate, deep, constant, and unconscious, and they feel like absolute right and wrong. They become for us the very voice of God (resulting in our distorted, punitive images of God). These voices determine what we value and what we disvalue. They are usually shame- or guilt-based and very good for social order and control, which are first-half-of-life concerns.
So, why am I concerned with “Toss ‘em aside guy” taking control? I was once challenged to think about how I was blocking the flow of God’s grace in my life. That was a difficult question for me. Up to that point, I had lived a life of blaming and shifting responsibility. I had even lived in such a way that I thought that God had stopped the flow of grace. Now, in my head I knew that was not true, but in my heart, I struggled with this. I now know that part of that block was because “Toss ‘em aside guy” was covering my heart and vulnerability to the point that I would not even allow God’s love into my heart. So, by letting “Toss ‘em aside guy” take control, I have walled off the part of my heart that allows God to pour in his love and grace. The part of me that has protected and served me is now keeping me from peace and joy.
One of the things I love about this verse is God’s statement to Samuel: “…but the Lord looks at the heart.” God is not the other people in my life. All of us are created in His image, but we are not Him. I hear from God through other people, but their character, judgment, thoughts, projections, etc. are not God’s.
Where do I go from here? First, I must recognize that I have a built in protector, a “Loyal Soldier”. Second, I must acknowledge that this protector has served me well. And, he may need to serve me again from time to time. Finally, I must set my protector aside for the sake of allowing God to pour in His love and grace that he has been showing down for so long. This is risky for me. I may get hurt from time to time by others…but when I do, I need to realize the truth of this verse, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
1. As you read today’s article, did you begin to identify a protector in your life?
2. How does your protector show up?
3. If you were to name this protector, what name would you give him/her?
4. Where has your protector affected your relationship with God?
5. Pay attention this week to where you have blocked the flow of God’s grace and love and mercy. If your protector was part of the wall, acknowledge him/her and then set him/her aside and ask God to fill the void where he/she resided.
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