Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Dropping Your Guard

In the early 1980s Charles Swindoll wrote a series of books that he regarded as a trilogy, Improving Your Serve about working to think more of others and less of ourselves, Strengthening Your Grip about devising strategies to better cope in this hectic world, and finally Dropping Your Guard. Having worked my way through the first two books, I felt it was appropriate to take some time to work through the third book of the group. In a nutshell, this book explores and exposes our tendency to protect ourselves in most of our relationships and social interactions. We protect ourselves from feeling awkward, we protect ourselves from getting hurt emotionally, we protect ourselves due to our suspicious natures. We protect ourselves by building up such impenetrable fortresses around ourselves that we do not allow anyone to get to know the real us, much less even catch a glimpse of the true us.

Swindoll urges us to see that before we can begin to appreciate how important it is to make deep connections with each other, we need to understand just how much our isolationist tendencies are actually wounding us. Without forging at least a few deep and trusting and open relationships in our lives, our mental and physical health will suffer. Furthermore, we will slowly and steadily lose our humanity. As we move further and further away from others, we move further and further away from who God made us to be. It is also the case that the label of isolationist is pretty much the antithesis of what God has made his followers to be. Jesus called for the "church" to be all about fellowship, all about upholding and strengthening each other, all about forming a network where we can move away from being merely spectators to life and move toward sharing of ourselves with our brothers and sisters in the world. All of us could improve ourselves by dropping our guard. Another solid work by Swindoll in his timeless, solid, biblical, manner.