Turtle Shells, Chaos, and the Gentle Deliverer


I don’t know about you, but I hate feeling exposed.

No. Not in the “I’ve been caught in an embarrassing situation” way or a “Wow, they just told my darkest secrets to the world” kind of way. Although those aren’t the best.

What I mean is, I’m getting weary of this exposure to the world.

It seems that every day there’s something new. Another person abused by someone in authority. Another hate group gaining steam among a handful of very angry, very noisy people. A misdirected bomb decimating an innocent village. A man goes into a theater with a gun and a grudge. Those Planned Parenthood recordings that I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch. Another celebrity being lambasted by the public for failing to live up to the idol status of which they are demanded.

Lives being destroyed. Reputations crumbling.

And, honestly, I’m tired of it all. I’m weary. Each time I read another “This world is going to hell” headline I feel more and more raw.

I wish I had a hard shell that would allow me to pull my head in and wait for the awful stuff to be over.

The other day I read a Facebook post by a friend of mine. She happens to be African American and she was pulled over by a police officer recently. She wrote about how afraid she was that somehow the officer would feel threatened and that the routine stop would turn ugly.

I realized that in the few times I’ve been pulled over, the most I worried about was a $60 ticket and a few points on my license.

Reading the words of this friend I’ve had for 25 years (a friend not prone to hyperbole, mind you), I started to cry. I will never be able to say I understand her fear. I don’t. But it smashes my heart to know that she has this fear. She, a woman who has given her life to work with the teens of our community, helping them to rise above peer pressure. She’s a world changer. She does great things.

Still, she fears.

All I kept thinking was, “What can I do? What in the world can I do?”

My anxiety rose. I felt the chaos of trending news swirling and hollering and banging against each other.

What can I do?

This weekend at church we had a guest speaker. He preached on what it means to be gentle. His definition of gentle.

Being composed in the midst of chaos.

It’s rolling my path over the path of God so that I’m sure to follow Him. It’s trusting Him. It’s standing for what’s right, but in a righteous way not an out of control manner.

Gentleness is knowing that I need help from the Holy Spirit to keep from freaking out. It’s knowing that HIs way is sure. It’s knowing that He has a plan.

It’s praying for wisdom. Loving those who are hurt and (although it’s against all reason) loving those who harm them. It’s forgiving.

Gentleness is not weakness. In fact, it’s strength.

It’s allowing myself to be soft, to feel the pain of this world. Yes, to be amidst the muck and mud. Yet to know that there is a Deliverer who has not abandoned His people.

Gentleness is passing up the hard shell of self-protection and opting, rather, for the ways God shields and guards us.

I’m leaning on these words.

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Matthew 11:28 and 29

3 Comments on “Turtle Shells, Chaos, and the Gentle Deliverer

  1. Pingback: Finding Beauty | Susie Finkbeiner

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