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  • Melinda K. Bowens

Lent Series: #BreakingTheCycle, Defenses

I was taking a BuzzFeed quiz today on college mascots (because that’s what every productive adult does in the middle of the day). After I answered the series of questions, my results said that I was a college sports fanatic. Which is partially true! But I am more specifically an Auburn University football fanatic! I spend the entire football season stalking the polls to see where the team will land each week.

Like any other zealous football fan, I’ve heard (and repeated) that a good defense will win championships. Being able to anticipate the moves of an opponent is great and keeps them from getting the upper hand in the game. A well-planned, well-practiced, well-organized defense is a dangerous thing…for the offense. Because proper practice makes perfect, right?!


Now, even if you’re not a football fan and you thought this entire opener was a waste of time, this next part may spark your interest.

The thing about defense is that it is not limited to just sports (and other outside arenas). As people, we have our very own well-planned, well-practiced, well-organized defenses that we use every day. Sometimes we have enacted entire scenarios in our minds just waiting for the opportunity to bring out our master plan of comebacks. Because that will be the last time that *insert unsuspecting person* will get over on us. We spend an unimaginable amount of time working out every self-created detail in anticipation for this day of reckoning that may (and mostly likely may not) come.

Sometimes we get even craftier with our defenses and don’t label them defenses at all. These are the times where instead of hearing the 72 people telling us that we’re impatient, we fire back with “I’m just a go-getter.” Or when friends point out that we can be harsh with our words, we snappily reply saying that we’re “just being honest.”

Don’t leave me yet if you’re an “honest go-getter (haha)!”


Much like in sports, the defenses in our lives are crafted in a particular manner for a particular purpose. For most of us, those defenses were created because some person, event, and/or action caught us by surprise; and it was not a good surprise. But rather than be stunned again, we started devising our plan/plans for how that would never happen to us again. We became our own defense system; blocking every perceived unwanted person, event, and/or action that tried to come near us since.

Now, having some defenses or guards isn’t a bad thing. But what happens when we refuse to let those defenses down for anyone? What happens when God is on the other side of these defenses trying to be the defender we need in life?

It would be such a beautiful answer if we could all say we open our walls up immediately when we see God trying to be closer to us. However, in a more likely scenario, we yell over the walls we’ve created, hoping God yells back. We hope He yells something that is soothing and confirming so we have a “reason” to let Him behind our guarded gates.

Look at that scenario again. We want our perfect, loving, sovereign God to jump through the American Ninja (I love that show) obstacle course of defenses to get to us. We want our creator-of-the-universe Father to complete the Warrior Dash of love to reach our hearts; all because people (who were human and not God) failed us. Does this setup sound a little weird to y’all too??? (*insert pondering face*)

None of this means that people didn’t fail us. Some people failed us miserably and painfully. We know that all people have fallen short (Roman 3:23); even those we hold in the highest esteem have messed it up at some point. And the thing about falling short is that it probably (it totally did) affected someone else.

But knowing everything that we know and remembering all our experiences, is any of it worth not fully experiencing God? Is any of it worth not knowing His full love (Psalms 139:13)? Is any of it worth not living His full plan (Jeremiah 29:11)?


Chat with God


What are three of your most common defense tactics?


What purpose do they serve?


What is your one-sentence prayer to God in this situation?


Please invite a friend to this series who you think would like to join this journey!

Get information about my new book here!

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