The Courage To Love
Can you imagine the desire to be healed the woman in this passage must have experienced? For twelve years she suffered. For twelve years she sought help. She visited the doctors. She spent her money. She invested her time in finding a cure.
But on this day, reaching out to Jesus, she encountered something – someone – very different.
It’s likely the woman in this passage would have been ostracized. Her life would have been anything but normal. She, like the leper last week, positioned herself in a place of vulnerability to have an encounter with Jesus.
Imagine the woman bringing all the pieces of her life – the hemorrhages, the isolation, the fatigue, the frustration, the stigma, the financial cost – to Jesus.
That was the reality of her life. Small pieces of her story that made her question her ability to not only connect with a community, but have a place in a community. And still, in one touch, she finds what we all find when we bring all of ourselves to Jesus. She finds wholeness (which is different than physical healing).
She put down the armor that kept her isolated and alone.
Throughout this week, you’ll look at the armoring behaviors like blaming, shaming, cynicism, perfectionism. You’ll contrast armored discipleship with daring discipleship. But first, recognize you’ll have a hard time making contributions when you’re carrying around the weight of our armor.
Furthermore, you can’t grow behind armor.
Perhaps when the woman who was hemorrhaging encountered Jesus, she was finally free to be who God had created her to be. She showed up with all the pieces of her life – all the messy, hard, complicated aspects of her thinking, feeling, and behaving. And when she did, she found that the 1000 ton shield she was carrying fell to the ground, opening her heart to be loved by the One who is love, Jesus.
Consider your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Which ones are weighing you down? That’s your armor.
Pay attention today to the weight of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Seek to lighten the load by recognizing the armor you’re carrying.
As a reminder, we all have armor. This isn’t about not having it. It’s about recognizing what your armor looks like. Practice today putting down your armor. It’s the only way for your relationships with Jesus, one another, and the community you’re seeking to reach to flourish.
Jesus, thank you for meeting me where I am and loving me for who I am. Thank you for the emotions I feel, the thoughts I think, and the behaviors that move me. Help me to be mindful of the armor I’m carrying and how it hinders me from bringing my whole self to the church and the people I love. Amen.
What thoughts, feelings, or behaviors did you notice you were wearing as armor today? Did you put down your armor? If not, tomorrow’s a new day. Give God thanks for helping you to see the armor you’re wearing.
If you haven’t taken a moment to review the “Overview of It Takes Courage” please do so. You’ll find a few tips that will help you start this journey.