claiming protection vs embracing vulnerability

Recently I had a kind of discussion with someone who is passionate about mission whom I admire and respect. In her encouragement of me she said something like ‘get your armour on!’

I thought ‘yes, you are so wise for someone so young, why had I not thought of that!’ But then, after a little while I wondered … and I blog about this because I still wonder and I am not sure. You see, I know I need God’s protection and I know that we are often engaged in a  spiritual battle which we do not fully understand nor are we fully aware of.

But … should I be prayerfully putting armour on as outlined in Ephesians 6? I see this is scripturally correct behaviour …. but is this an instruction for all seasons? I guess my concern is with imagery and the power of imagery. Does a ritual of putting on the ‘armour of God’ cause the mind to take on a seige/battle/confrontational attitude? I fear that it might.

My problem is I am not sure I am called to fight in the role I have at this time. I am not sure that this outlook is helpful in what I do at this stage of doing it. I do know that I am called to be present, to be open. to listen, to get to know people and … all this means (gulp!) that I am called to be vulnerable.

I am not sure how vulnerable I am if I am wearing a suite of armour, even a symbolic one. I wonder if as well as having seasons for wearing armour there are seasons for being vulnerable and simply trusting God alone.

The image I have to illustrate my thoughts are of Arthur and Merlin in the BBC series currently showing here in the UK. King Arthur relies on his armour and battle skills. Merlin, by contrast, wears no armour and carries no weapons, trusting merely in the skills and gifts that his creator has gifted to him.  It’s no surprise that it is Merlin and his wise use of his gifts that often win the day. It’s not a great illustration but it resonates and has tastes of the un-armoured boy David against the heavily armoured Goliath and Jesus who not only has the gifts from the creator but chooses not to use them and allow his sacrifice to happen.

So … claiming protection or embracing vulnerability, what should I do ….. or is there a bit of both needed here?

What do others think? What do other pioneers do as they prepare to ‘go out’ and pioneer. How do you prepare?

At this point in time … my prayer of preparation is borrowed from the Northumberland Community: (which I guess could be viewed as a kind of compromise).

Christ, as a light
illumine and guide me.
Christ, as a shield
overshadow me.
Christ under me;
Christ over me,
Christ beside me
on my left and my right.

This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Be in the heart of each to whom I speak;
in the mouth of each who speaks unto me.
This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Christ as a light;
Christ as a shield;
Christ beside me
on my left and my right.

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6 thoughts on “claiming protection vs embracing vulnerability

    • Thanks Becca – it’s a question I’m daily contemplating.
      On another note … can’t believe it’s been a whole near nearly since missional entrepreneurship!

  1. Coincidentally, I drove past you today on your way down Canterbury Street and felt moved to pray the Armour of God over you! I wonder if ‘having’ the Armour then gives us freedom to be vulnerable, knowing that we are protected from ‘the flaming arrows’ but still able to discern, and also to enter into difficult situations where we are needed to bring Jesus but need to know he ‘has our back’. Anyway, thinking aloud there but just thought it was interesting about this morning! Praying for you.

    • thanks … knowing people pray is always encouraging … big thanks
      and yes … it’s a good point about being fre to be vulnerable when armoured in God
      or maybe … praying the armour for each other rather than ourselves has something about it … ?

  2. Reblogged this on The Shiny Headed Prophet and commented:

    I wrote this about 16 month ago when I was feeling incredibly vulnerable and lost. I am reblogging it today as it obviously fits with my current vulnerability theme but the words I wrote those 16 month ago take on a whole different significance of meaning now.
    Being free to embrace vulnerability is an image I am working towards trying to understand.

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