In yesterday’s post, we explored the process of how pearls are formed, and we focused on the beauty of the gem that resulted from the presence of an irritant. Today, however, I am pondering the unavoidable fact that the pearl is the result of an oyster’s natural process of self-defense.
I often wrestle with my own process of self-defense, fearing its ugliness and aiming all my efforts at quickly shutting it down. Mostly because I was imprisoned by walls of my own making for so many years, I am often fiercely intent in trying to tear them down before they have the chance to become established.
However, the God Who made me, made me with the propensity to defend myself in certain, healthy ways against the invasive things of this world. And I am beginning to understand that what is created by God and surrendered to Him – thereby positioned to operate according to its original design – cannot be a bad thing.
I share this today because we are called to live and to love. And often, as we live and as we love, we encounter the presence of divinely appointed “irritants,” things that make our living and loving painful and even difficult.
Like we learned yesterday, those things, in the hand of God, yield beautiful gems for our souls, gems we can pass onto other souls. But I am also learning to trust and believe that our natural reaction of self-defense is a part of the God-ordained process of cultivating the pearls in our souls.
Scripture faithfully reminds us to guard our hearts, because everything else flows forth from it (Proverbs 4:23). So responding to painful things by erecting “walls” of self-defense isn’t something we need to be sorry or apprehensive about, but rather wise and submitted in the process of.
Anyone who has ever been a prisoner of their own heart’s defensive walls knows how a natural process of self-defense feels when it’s gone dreadfully wrong. When we rely on our own understanding and give instinct too much room and power, it becomes self-destructive.
But I sense the invitation of a wise and gracious God Who knows how to help us maneuver through the created process of allowing our self-protective instincts to be governed by Him, and thus yield something beautiful rather than constricted and confining.
So, if you’re wrestling with your heart today and feel your walls beginning to rise up, fear not!
Instead, recognize that, while there may be a divinely placed “irritant” in your shell, God has plans that will take your heart’s natural instincts to self-protect and somehow use them to cultivate a matchless pearl.
Rest assured, He will not allow you to become imprisoned again by fear and self-defense. In this hour, let Him teach you how to guard your heart in such a way that, with His help, you learn to trust what He has built into you and promised to make work for your good.
I’m on the same journey with you, and together, we will marvel at the end result – I’m sure of it!