How To Be Invincible

Suit_Of_Armor_Front_clip_art_hightDo you want to live a life free of worrying what others think of you? Free of the fear of making a fool of yourself. Free of the embarrassment of making apologies. Free of the shame of admitting you were wrong. Free of self-consciousness. Free of the gnawing misery of being left out or neglected. Free of the unhappiness and anger that comes when you are berated or corrected. Free of ever hurting your pride or feeling uncomfortably looked-down-on.

What if I told you there’s a simple secret to avoiding all that discomfort?

It’s humility.

All my life I have been burdened with self-consciousness. So many times I have agonized over what someone might think of me in the future, or might have thought of me in the past. I’ve felt the sting of knowing I was wrong and somebody else saw it and looked down on me. Every new chink in my armor was a painful ordeal. I am a people pleaser; the thought that I might have disappointed or angered someone was excruciating. I didn’t fill their needs! I didn’t inspire their admiration! Now they had a reason to scorn me, or seek the fulfillment of their needs elsewhere.

It took me a long time to realize this about myself – I wanted to be everyone’s sun, moon, and guiding stars. I wanted their day to be complete because they talked to me, or their life to be full because I, Bethany, was in it. I wanted to bring the joy and light to their existence. If I failed in some way, their whole world might come apart, because I was so vital and necessary! Horrors!

In other words, my desire to be helpful and “above reproach” came from a heart full of hideous pride.  I viewed myself as the center of the universe.

Over many years – and ongoing even now – the Lord has brought me to a clearer and better understanding of my own pride, and my real place in His world. Day by day, the armor is coming off. And you know something?

The less armor I wear, the lighter and freer I feel.

I never expected this, the joy of humility. It took me by surprise. You would think that to take off one’s armor would mean more wounds, more pain. But in reality, the armor chafes, it’s hot and uncomfortable, and it makes it hard to walk.  You don’t really notice that until it comes off.

Instead of making you vulnerable, I have found that humility makes you invincible.

When you know that you’re not one in a million, but only one among a million, it doesn’t hurt to be left out or neglected because you understand there are more important people, relationships, and things in the world than you. And that’s okay!

When you rightly see your insignificance in the universe, you stop being anxious about disappointing people, because you know their happiness and security isn’t on your shoulders.

When you happily put yourself in the lowest place, slings and arrows can fly harmlessly over your head.  No one can cut you down to size when you’re already short and trim!

When you can cheerfully admit you came into this world ignorant and still have lots to learn, it’s easy to ask “stupid questions” and put yourself out on a limb to learn new things.

When you are content to fill a little space, no space feels little.

When you know you aren’t the only trustee and representative of God’s truth, you stop feeling like it’s your sole responsibility to fix it when other people are – gasp! – wrong.  You also come to recognize that – gasp again! – you are wrong.  A lot.  And that’s okay too, because…

When you can freely acknowledge you are a sinner with nothing to recommend you, admitting wrong or apologizing to others loses its sting, and friends’ chastisement starts to feel like what it really is – a blessing and an opportunity, not a beating and a setback.

Who goes into battle without their armor on, anyway? Somebody with nothing to lose!

Or someone who knows God is on his side and all he needs is his shepherd-boy sling and five smooth stones.

God is with us. Pardon me if this analogy is slightly flippant or overdone, but I just saw another Marvel movie last night and I can’t help myself – remember Tony Stark in The Avengers, when he informed Loki, “We have a Hulk”?  Ha!  Hulk-smashes are puny and pathetic compared to what the Almighty Creator God, our Father (the real and only Avenger of evil), can do to His enemies. We don’t need an Iron-Man suit with Him as our heavenly Help. None can withstand Him! So when it comes to our real enemies – we have no need of armor.  He will fight our battles.  We can peacefully ignore the jabs and rocks thrown by the wicked.

And as for those that are His friends and our comrades – those relationships and conversations are so much easier without chain-mail and guards across our faces!

No matter what we are up against, I am finding that armor-free is the way to go. When He opens our eyes to make us truly humble, when we have given our lives and ourselves to Him without reservation, we will indeed have nothing to lose – and absolutely everything to gain, for one day the meek shall inherit the Earth.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. – Proverbs 11:2

Leave a comment

5 Comments

  1. Wonderfully stated! I particularly love this line: “When you are content to fill a little space, no space feels little.” Very poetic yet packed with truth. I have always been Sanguine all the way. Avoid conflict like the plague. Want to please all and be loved by all.

    My mom has a tape recording of me that we sent to my grandmother when I was three years old (over 40 years ago…), I couldn’t think of anything to say, I stammered a moment then proclaimed, “Everybody loves me you know!” Well, that has been the family joke to a degree, and I’ve never quite lived it down 🙂 By God’s grace, He continues to peel those layers away, much like Eustace when he sheds his dragon skin. You’ve done a lovely job of summing up the ugliness of pride and self protection and exposing the beauty of true humility. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Yes, avoiding conflict like the plague is me too, and wanting to please all. You aren’t an INFJ by any chance, are you? (Myers-Briggs.) 🙂

      I totally thought of Eustace’s dragon skin when I was writing this! Actually the first time I used the word “armor” I thought of Smaug’s soft spot and that was the analogy I intended to go with at first, and then forgot – it would have been a really good analogy too. Taking off the pride armor involves some pain, much like that did for Eustace!

      Reply
  2. Oh my! Why YES, I am an INFJ 🙂 How funny is that? And no biggie about the dragon analogy…it was still a great article!

    Reply
    • The writer world is full of us INFJ’s. 😀 I have a friend who’s very into MBTI (so am I, in a smaller way!) and she says fear of conflict is a common INFJ trait, so it rang a bell for me. 🙂

      Reply

I love to hear your thoughts!