The Importance of Surrounding Yourself with Warriors

“I just don’t like being around people,” I heard her say. “I prefer to be alone.”

 

It took those words a moment to penetrate the walls of my heart. At first, I was shocked. Why would she admit to not liking people? Then I remembered I’d been in that same place. I realized how much she and I had in common.

 

I never considered myself a loner. Working as a teacher, serving in ministry, I’ve always been surrounded by people. But when I heard this sentiment shared from a friend, it opened up something in me that I’d buried deep down. A place born from hurt and betrayal. A place I wanted to forget. And shutting people out helped me do just that - forget.

 

When I walked through my daily routine at work, church, or even running errands, I put on a smile. I acted joyful. And honestly, I felt like a fake, because the feelings I held inside told an entirely different story.

 

I’d fallen into a pattern of hiding the truth of my heartache, and I’m not sure why. Maybe because I didn’t want to burden others with my real feelings. Maybe I wanted to make sure I was ‘exuding joy’ and not the opposite. Or maybe, I wanted to avoid conversations that would dredge up unwanted memories.

 

With this young lady’s words, God spoke a powerful truth into my life. One I desperately needed.

We need a community of warriors to help us fight the giants in our lives. (Tweet this.)

 

Remember the story of David and Goliath? Little David took down that big bad giant with 5 small stones. He became the hero. And he did it alone.

 

Or so I thought.

 

You see, the story didn’t end when David marched back to Saul victorious. There were more giants, and giants don’t give up easily.

Giants don't give up easily. Neither should we. (Tweet this.)

 

“And after this there arose war with the Philistines at Gezer. Then Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Sippai, who was one of the descendants of the giants, and the Philistines were subdued. And there was again war with the Philistines, and Elhanan the son of Jair struck down Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam. And there was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number, and he also was descended from the giants. And when he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David's brother, struck him down. These were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.” 1 Chronicles 20:4-8 ESV

 

In the passage above, we get a picture of David’s kingdom several years later, after he became king. War with the Philistines surfaced again, and these giants seemed just as intimidating as Goliath.

 

Scripture says one of them “taunted Israel.” Sound familiar? It should, because that’s what Goliath did that made David what to shut the giant’s mouth - permanently. And this time, David had help.

 

David surrounded himself with warriors willing to kill some giants on his behalf. That’s what we need to do, too.

 

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NLT

 

There will be times when we face hurt at the hands of others. Sometimes from those we considered friends, or even family.

There will be times we face situations where we can’t find a way out.

There will also be times when it seems like all hope is lost. When we want to hide away in a room somewhere in solitude.

 

That’s when we need to seek out the giant killers in our lives. Surround ourselves with warriors willing to go into battle when weariness takes hold.

 

God created us for community. He never intended for us to face our giants alone. But we need to get past the lie that tells us we shouldn’t let other people past the walls we’ve built.

 

We need each other.

 

Are you facing any giants in your life? Have you been tempted to avoid interaction with others and keep it all to yourself? Then let the story of David and his giant killers speak to your heart like it did mine. God has a group of warriors ready to fight for you!

 

Together let’s agree to seek out those people in our lives who will stand with us when we need help, when we need warriors to come alongside us. And in turn, we can be faithful warriors as well.

Blessings,

Kristine

For more devotions about community, check out this post, When Comparison Threatened to Steal My Community.

 

When She Crosses the Finish Line First

I was the slowest runner in junior high P.E. class. With my giraffe-like legs I should’ve been able to power past at least most of the girls my age. Instead, my body tromped around the track with no speed whatsoever. The coach would yell, “You’re bringin’ up the rear again!” And all I could think was, I’m moving as fast as I can.

My athletic ability didn’t change much beyond the teen years. But as an adult I found other women who would trot along beside me, content with keeping an even pace. One friend in particular joined with me and became a welcome addition to my journey.

Our strides complemented each other’s. Sometimes distance formed between us, but just for a short time. Before long we’d call out to each other to either slow down or pick up the pace. It was much easier to keep up the consistency with someone by my side.

We enjoy this life trek more when we run it together.

 

We kept in perfect sync. Until one day I looked to my left and noticed she was gone. Somehow she’d made it to the finish line before me. She reached the ultimate destination, eternity with Jesus. The grief took away the joy of ever reaching the destination. I wanted to stop running.

My pace slowed and all I could see was the quick flicks of the feet in front of me. A memory came flooding back and that voice cried out once more, “You’re bringin’ up the rear again!” And all I could think was, I’m moving as fast as I can.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV

I used to see life as the women’s 400-meter dash individual event. That is, until I discovered the power of encouragement. Now I realize we are many women running at different paces, but all part of the same cross country team.

Some may be up ahead, and some behind. Others will stay right alongside us, swapping stories and sharing jokes to keep our minds off the pain in our shins and ankles. When one member of the team finishes the race, the other members don’t quit. They keep going.

If she crosses the finish line before me, my job is to keep running.

It’s been two years since my friend finished the race. I imagine her cheering us on as we gaze ahead unable to see all that waits for us there. So as we continue pounding our sneakers on the hot pavement today, could we swap stories and tell some jokes? Oh, and let’s all wear the same color jerseys. If I could pick, I’d choose purple.

And when we see someone losing momentum, let’s slow down a bit and jog along beside her for a while. It may be just the motivation she needs to stay in the race. Because even though our running styles may be different, we definitely have more fun running together.