Slaying Dragons

Was the trial sore?
Temptation sharp? Thank God a second time!
Why comes temptation but for a man to meet
And master and make crouch beneath his foot,
And so be pedestaled in triumph? Pray
“Lead us into no such temptations, Lord!”
Yea, but, O thou whose servants are the bold,
Lead such temptations by the head and hair,
Reluctant dragons, up to who dares fight
That so he may do battle and have praise.
— Robert Browning.

 

It’s counter-intuitive this Christian walk. To battle against dragons with meekness …

 

“The quietness and openness and vulnerability of meekness is very beautiful and very painful. It goes against all that we are by our sinful nature. It requires supernatural help.” John Piper

 

My sinful nature says I should borrow someone’s shotgun and go coon hunting today after waking up to half of my chicken flock dead. My favorite Dominique who managed to live for years with crippled feet was one of the victims. Only two days ago we found one of our ducks dead, too. And then the other (right after I agreed to take a few ducks from a friend to keep the second duck company).

 

My sinful nature says we should re-home our foster kid. My husband fears this kid destroying our peace — and our marriage. After three years she’s only improving on ways to be deceptive. Frankly, we worry that her desire to be promiscuous will lead to us  raising her low-IQ offspring well into our eighties. It puts to the test our notion that every child is here for a reason and deserves love. Some days I just want to slink away to some cave and let the world fend for itself.

I don’t want to feel my blood rise at the sight of this kid who insists on touching upon each pet peeve of everyone in the family.

Examples:

My husband has trouble with his weight so she asks him constantly if he’s eaten her ice cream or done his time on the elliptical.

I have trouble dealing with her insisting she’s right about things she’s so obviously  clueless about. I spend countless hours fuming about the steps of long division and the proper way to engage strangers in public places.

rudolph jettmar
Rudolph Jettmar

Meekness is a concept I struggle to wrap my mind around. If I want to fight the good fight, I want it to be done in a series of active steps that leads to an outcome I’ve decided upon.

The notion of handing over these desires to a higher power seems ridiculous and insane.

In the face of evil raccoons (who happen to also be cute) and unfit parents who get away with abuse and then just disappear what does meekness offer?

I’ve always thought of meekness as a mousy way to be. I imagine a weaker version of me curled up in a corner somewhere (still fretting and wringing my hands).

But meekness is something different. I think it’s that point when you realize that, despite your handmade armor and big plans, you’re powerless in the face of sin and evil. Sure you can slay a few dragons now and again with only minor scrapes, but then you turn and realize that those were just the baby dragons.

For the last two weeks my husband has been battling his mother while, for the first time, developing a relationship with his mostly absent and passive father (who is now dying of cancer). My father-in-law’s pain had brought a certain poignant beauty to their encounters, yet a dragon that has stalked my mother-in-law for years in the form of depression and addiction chooses now to scorch anyone in breathing distance.

I’ve seen this wrath, delusion and animal fear before in other cornered addicts I’ve known. Meekness in the face of it shows true bravery and strength. My husband and I take turns fending off the flames with as much meekness as we can muster, but I’m seriously less patient than he is.

In the evenings after the dragons have gone to bed we sometimes (more often than I’d like to admit) find it hard to be meek with each other. I’m disgruntled and want to slash away. My husband is just exhausted and doesn’t want a battle-frenzied companion at his bedside.

The problem with dragons is that, if they can’t kill you outright, they equally enjoy recruiting you as ally before they send their flames when you turn your back.

“Meekness begins when we put our trust in God. Then, because we trust him, we commit our way to him. We roll onto him our anxieties, our frustrations, our plans, our relationships, our jobs, our health.” John Piper

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5

Moser-Franz-hfersv
Franz Moser

HOW DO YOU SLAY YOUR DRAGONS? I’d love to know! Tell us in the comments below.

LINKS:

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEEKNESS AND HUMILITY

GOD’S CURE FOR PRIDE AND ARROGANCE

NOT TO WORRY

14 Comments Add yours

    1. Thanks, Lily! Glad you enjoyed it.

      A

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  1. Firstly, whew, wow. You have a lot of your plate. Secondly, I’m not sure if I do slay my dragons. I’m just holding on to the Lord with all that I have! Asking Him to increase my faith, strengthening me in every small, right choice I make. Just sowing a seed each day, no matter how small, and no matter if I see the end growth. Just trying to obey and trust by faith that He is going to complete the work He has started. Prayed for you.

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    1. Amy, your prayers mean a lot–and also your wise words. I’m always trying to slay my dragons instead of believing God can handle it. LOL. Your words are super encouraging.

      THANK YOU!!!!

      A

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve given all your love and experience to your foster daughter. She may have her own journey to follow and her history and biology will accompany her. Hopefully, she will also take some of your wisdom with her.

    You have your faith to sustain you and your family. I don’t know about dragons, but you’ve got a lot to deal with, Adrienne. I hope you’re able to summon the strength you’ll need.

    I asked my social worker and my rabbi about a dilemma I was unsure how to resolve. They gave me the same advice. There was no legal requirement but ultimately what could l live with? It helped me make my decision.

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    1. A wise friend sent me a devotional about meekness and trying to solve problems in our own strength. This is definitely a time to rest in God’s promises (sounds trite). Without my faith I would never have even gotten into this mess! LOL.

      I believe God teaches us a lot about ourselves and how much we need him in times of trial so despite it all I’m interested to see how he’s going to play this one out. 🙂

      Hope you are well, Shari.

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  3. If you want to escape into yesteryear rather than slaying a dragon; I’ve been exploring newspaper archives. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ is a great resource and Wikipedia has lists for each state– https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:List_of_online_newspaper_archives
    If I remember right, Little House on the Prairie had a raccoon episode; clever and cute but sure can cause a mess of problems

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    1. I think I need a Calgon moment–and for me that’s traveling back in time, so you are very nice to suggest just what I need, my friend.

      Hope all is well down your way. How’s the novel going? Enjoying politics lately?

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      1. Doing Ok and I found one article that may interest you. At nightfall, the Blues and Grays shared their music after a day. of battle.
        You can find it on the Chronicling America in, The Palatka daily news., August 03, 1884, Image 1. The article is titled, The Power of Music, and the event took place outside of Chattanooga

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      2. Sounds great. I’ll check it out!

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  4. You know, Adrienne- it’s amazing- you always write from such a thoughtful perspective !

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    1. That’s really nice to hear! Thanks, Chris. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Praying for you and your family. Nothing easy in your life. But remember, meekness doesn’t mean no action is taken. Jesus was meek, and yet he was capable of overturning the tables of money changers. So you can at least feel confident that it’s okay to protect your chickens. As for the child, only God knows what will reach her — but I’m praying that there is a breakthrough soon. It is wonderful to know that one is gaining strength and character in trials, but it is also good to see battles won. God bless you and hold you close — and show you glimmers of hope soon.

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    1. Thank you for your encouraging words and PRAYERS! It’s that idea of accepting that not everything is in our power to change — and having peace about that that can be a challenge. 🙂 Have a great week ahead.

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